Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today's Ride

I finally managed to get some saddle time today and it felt good to be on the back of my horse again.  For reasons known only to Dusty today she had a rocket up her butt.  In all fairness, the weather was cold and she hadn’t been ridden in two weeks so I was willing to overlook a little misplaced enthusiasm on her part.  

We started out trying to walk around calmly to warm up but she kept thinking it was a good idea to break into a trot.  After a while we had a discussion and she decided walking wasn’t that hard after all. I know Dusty is a very bright mare so I was surprised to feel that she has forgotten everything she knew about bending and softening in a mere two weeks.  Needless to say we had to take a step back and revisit previous lessons until she remembered how smart she was and how far she has come from where she began.

After her epiphany we did some easy yet challenging work to keep her interested in her lesson.  First, walking over cavelletti in patterns to refine her steering just a tad followed by trotting over the cavelletti in figure eight patterns to keep her bending on a circle.  I should say that we’re not big fans of drilling a lesson; usually we don’t do it more than three times before we quit, whether she got it perfect or not.  My feeling is, as long as she is willing to go forward and try to do what I ask, we can refine the exercise at a later date.  Dusty considers cavelletti work great fun and so I’ve decided to include it as a training tool  regularly.

We ended on a good note by regulating her pace to a medium trot, bending and softening.  Today I used the turning seat. In order to do this I simply sat up correctly, weighted my inside seat bone slightly, looked to the center of the circle, positioned  my inside shoulder slightly behind my outside shoulder and followed her mouth with a light connection.  Dusty really picks up on things quickly and it  worked like a charm. 

It always astonishes me how the slightest little movement on my part can influence her movement.  This is why I don’t believe in any sort of harsh treatment of horses in their training.  I feel it’s simply not necessary to  overdo the aids to get what you want. This, of course, is just an opinion that I have come to over the years.  With proper training and a little understanding on the parts of both horse and rider, there really is nothing that cannot be accomplished.  I'm of the opinion that we make training  much harder than it has to be.  Simple, direct and kind aids are very understandable and amenable to the personality of most horses. 

Until next time
Quote for Today
Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more.

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