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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and The Rearing

Alright... so I guess I should have quit while I was ahead yesterday. The ride was going great! First, it was a beautiful day out, you couldn't have asked for a better day to ride a horse; it was about 75 degrees outside with a slight breeze and not a lot of humidity, it was just wonderful. I was at the barn at the same time as another rider, but she opted to ride in the indoor, which gave me sole access to the outdoor arena while the sun was setting. So serene and a wonderful time to work on training. So we began and things started out alright. He didn't want to carry himself and was slamming up against the bridle, which is common with him trying to figure out how to correctly come into the bridle through his back and then down his neck and pole, so I just waited. We did some easy bending exercises where I tried to push him alternatively into the right and left reigns, just some easy 3 and 4 loop serpentines. He became supple and began to work very nicely. I began pushing him through while doing a walk exercise that I created. We would, for example, go to the right at the walk, and once we got the the long side, leg yield off the wall toward the 1/4 line until about the 1/4 line, and then I would push him into the opposite left reign, as for almost a turn on the forehand movement, but on a larger circle, until he became parallel again to the opposite long-side, and then leg yielded back to the wall. Once we got back to the wall I would ask for a canter transition, then asking for him to walk again about 5 strides later when we were nearing the end of the short side to prepare to do the exercise again. In doing this he became very balanced and I decided to take the chance to do some work with canter walk simple changes that we had been working on.

So we began the work on the canter-walk-canter changes across the diagonal, changing lead at X. He was a star. He did them and was balanced and really picked up the transition very well. There was a lot of "hop" in him and I was very happy with the movement. I then got it in my head to see what would happen if we went across the diagonal, and after doing a bunch of these in a row, didn't ask him to walk, but just really changed my aids and his bend. And you know what? It happened. A clean clear as day flying change. TADA. Now, no more of that... because we have do to counter-canter before we can start with those things. But that was fun, good boy.

And that's where I'm thinking I should have just stopped. I should have been happy to end there and just done a free reign walk and been done with it. But no, it was beautiful out, we hadn't worked that hard, and everything had been going so darn well!!! So what did I ask for then? Something so simple... connection at the walk. OH MY GOD. He lost his marbles. Mind you I had been trying to stay away from his face really at the walk to not impede his walk stride, but come on now, he's 5 and he can actually have connection and do some work. Fire disagrees. Walking if for relaxing to Fire, not for working. So he preceded to show me the tops of the trees by rearing and leaping in the air. WONDERFUL. I so wanted to be done and to do some easy walk work. SO then it was a bit of a.... discussion. You've all had them before. I wouldn't call it a "fight" because I wasn't going to fight a 1700lb horse that was rearing into the sky with me, not a good time to pick a fight. That's a good way to get a horse on top of you. But I did make rearing quite uncomfortable. We did work through it. It was icky and involved some odd leg yielding cow herding looking movements mixed with caprioles, and head flicking, but we got through it. Eventually I talked him down off of the baby tantrum ledge and we could finally walk with some look like a normal horse with our head in a semi okay position with actual connection (but not enough for my liking... baby steps.)

But I guess we need to take the good with the bad. Some rides, like one I talked about earlier in these posts, began like shit and ended up brilliant. This one just happened to be the opposite.

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