The Hill Work

hill work conditioning

This warm weather has been incredible, and inspired me to make the beautiful image above of trotting through a glorious meadow (just squint and use your imagination). Finally, I can emerge from my hovel, and get back to riding. Except that my poor Berry, who has been mostly idle for the duration of winter, is very out of shape. She has a lot of bulk fat that should be muscle.

thoroughbred face
Berry is not amused by these comments on her body.

As part of my “I really want to advance this year” agenda, I’m going to make conditioning part of my rides. It’s not fair to expect her to do full jumping lessons or spend a full day at a show without taking the time to build up her fitness. The picture on my “About me” to the right certainly indicates how tired she gets from being at a show. Although (small brag), she did do awesome at our last lesson, with another grid set up, and a course with 2’6″ jumps, including the one in the picture above. She’s doing super awesome, and I’m keeping up with her. It’s feeling pretty good. But I digress.

Now that my property is no longer a mudslide, I’m going to incorporate the hill into our work twice a week. I’ve taken time after one ride this week to leave the arena, and go up and down the hill for about 10 minutes. I’m going to work up to more, but the main problem with this is that it is insanely boring to both Berry and I to walk/trot in a continual loop.

To make the exercise more worthwhile, I held two-point going up the hill, and leaning back two-point on the way down. I had Berry on a long rein, and I could feel her using herself and really pushing from her hind.

I would like to leave my property, but as far as I know I can’t get to the neighborhood trails anymore, and also Vintage freaks out when Berry leaves her. It’s really quite annoying. After 10 minutes of back and forth on the hill though, Vintage did seem to accept that we weren’t leaving, and just stared at us intensely.

horse up close

I would like to figure out if the trails near me are open again, but I feel like they aren’t. Until Pony gets back, it would be difficult to leave the property without Vintage going crazy, anyway. I’ll keep plugging away on my hill, but I really wish there was a place nearby where I could just trot up and down hills for miles, just like in my glorious image. That would be heaven. I guess I will have to accept that to find such a spot, I will need to trailer to it.

Or, I have some hilly property that is currently forest… I could create a loop through it, and then ride that loop… That may be the solution. Then it wouldn’t be so boring, and I could work my way up to 45 minutes of working on the hill. That would keep her in good shape! I’m getting excited thinking about it. If only it would just appear, instead of me having to go cut a trail down.

Our next show is this coming up weekend, and I am pretty excited! With being able to ride more, advancing in our jumping, and Berry being in better shape (although it’ll take longer for her fitness to dramatically improve), I’m feeling pretty good about showing.

riding glove engraved braclet
Soon to be show name of my baby Berry.

I’m going to be working her on my boring hill again before then, and hopefully the (minor) hill work really will have a great impact. I can definitely feel her pushing power going up the hill, and I hope that will translate well to her jumping!

Don’t forget to “Like” my facebook page if you want to win some Aztec Diamond apparel. The winner will be announced on Friday!

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