Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming Along

Blue and I are making progress together, but for now it seems to be slow with little triumphs here and there.  As I’ve always said, there is no such thing as taking the fast-track when training a horse and oneself.  He is a very talented horse with a very set way of going and on occasion he either gets confused or just downright refuses to do what you ask, I haven’t decided which yet.  Then again, you could be pleasantly surprised that he does listen to all your cues perfectly at other times.  It all comes down to riding the horse you have today. And by “today” I mean that he came out and was trying to be a good boy. For a smaller horse (15.2 hands) he feels as though he has as big a stride as my 17.2 hand horse Erik did.

Today he was very animated and covered a lot of ground in trot.  One of the things we have to work on is his body language.  Blue loves to get out of proper work by either over-bending to the inside or popping his shoulder in and turning his head to the outside.  This is made even harder to ride by his insistence on falling on the forehand with his nose doing an imitation of a snowplow in the dirt. To get his head up I will gently lift one or both reins.  Usually lifting only the inside rein and releasing the outside or visa versa works better than lifting both, but it all depends on which one works best in the given situation (or which he feels like listening to at the moment.)  We used mostly the outside rein aid today and it worked well on getting his balance up, as he was more prone to his over-bending evasion today, and the outside rein was not only helpful in straightening him, but lightening his forehand, both of which helped rebalance him.  I should mention that as soon as he comes up he gets a release, and this rein aid lifts the bit straight up into the corner of his mouth, and not back onto the bars or tongue at all.

We’re also working on steering.  Blue is one of those horses that feels comfortable falling in and not staying on the track; sort of cutting corners and being a tad lazy is his MO.  We fixed this by using an opening outside rein aid. It works well for him.  By using the opening rein to lead him back out to the track he will stay there for a few strides and then we repeat when necessary, releasing the inside rein to avoid confusion.

I would like to add that some of this is unorthodox riding and I am in no way saying I have the credentials to be a trainer.  I do what works with my horses and don’t advocate anyone else taking my methods as gospel. This is simply my diary of how I’m coming along with Blue.  It will give me something to look back on to see where we started and how far we have come when I check back at a later date.

Until next time

Quote for Today

Just knowing we have both learned something when I have finished riding is enough for me!

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