We had a fairly drastic change in weather from sunny and hot yesterday to cloudy, cool and windy today.  Despite the distractions created by the change in weather we had a good conditioning ride on another roughly nine mile loop.

Today we began our "mountain training" by adding a very steep trail to the loop which brought us to the view pictured to the right.  Think it's worth the climb?  The trail is steep enough that I maintained a jumping position* the entire way up as Apollo trotted and cantered.  He did really well, it's a tough hill and a tricky trail.  By the top he was breathing hard but recovered very nicely as we wound our way down another steep trail.  Training for the downhill portion of the ride may not require as much wind-fitness as the uphill but Apollo will have to use a unique set of muscles to keep himself balanced on the descent so the downhill trail work is equally important.  Fortunately it is difficult to avoid downhill work when training for uphill work!  When I ride downhill I am careful to keep my horse relatively straight from nose to tail; marching forward with purpose and attention to me.  

*Jumping position refers to a rider's position in which the seat is lifted out of the saddle, maintaining contact with the legs only.  The rider bends the knees and almost crouches in the saddle.  In this case I am using the position to allow Apollo as much freedom as he goes up the hill as I can.  Imagine walking or running up a hill with a backpack on, the backpack has a bowling ball sitting in the bottom of it.  This somewhat simulates a rider's weight just sitting in a saddle.  Now imagine that the same weight is distributed more evenly and even a bit over your shoulder blades.  This somewhat simulates a rider's weight in a jumping position.



Julia Odden
06/03/2011 11:37


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