Project Sweaty Pony - Jetta is in good shape, enough that I can ride her for 40 minutes or so and she isn't exhausted, rather, she hardly ever sweats. But, when we go to a lesson, both of us feel like we're about to die. The stamina just isn't there.
(ETA: Suzie commented on yesterday's post that maybe Jetta was sore from using the bouncy trot, hence why we tend to have problems. This post sort of addresses that, though I had written this post before the comment. But it's a very valid point!)
My plan is to have at least two to three rides a week where Jetta ends up sweaty. I realize that I usually warm up on a loose rein at the walk, then collect and start doing shoulder-ins and leg-yeilds. Then we trot around the arena, maybe do some collected and lengthening work, then we canter, come back to the trot and change direction and repeat everything we just did. Kinda boring and it certainly isn't doing us any favors to just canter around the arena just once or twice. So I want to introduce more things that are a little more difficult for Jetta - more halt trot halt transitions to ask her to really use her ab muscles, more circles, work on figure eights, etc.
Another benefit of this is more cantering. Right now this is our transitions - "OHMYGOSH she just said canter!! Whee!!" I would much rather that they be - "Oh, ok. Let's canter then." I think that if Jetta realizes that cantering isn't all that exciting when you actually have to hold it for three or more circuits of the arena, we will have a much less explosive canter transition.
The other part of this is that it doesn't just apply to Jetta. It is also going to apply to me. I'm definitely not in shape. I haven't participated in a sport since middle school and I haven't had a PE class since freshman year of high school. So I'm making my New Year's resolution early. I won't necessarily start until the New Year (because how can I give up peppermint hot chocolate and chrismas cookies right now?!) but I am going to make a concerted effort to start running and continue doing yoga. My goal is to compete in a 5k run next year. Luckily three of my roommates are runners so I know that once I start, they will definitely help keep me going.
At least Jetta and I are going to be in this together, lol! And I know it will give us a much better cross country run when we compete! :)