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Friday, September 24, 2010

Genius Moment

This photo doesn't show the moment I'm speaking about, I just loved the power it shows. Look at that tail flip! Woosh!!! Anyway...

I wasn't able to ride for a few days in a row because I was out of town. Because of this, I thought I would come back to a horse who was stiff and just needed some good long, low and super stretchy work. This isn't uncommon and how we usually have to work many of our "first day back" days. I think this is a good frame of mind and body to have for restarting work when you've had time off (for both horse and rider). So we stared our ride and I thought it was going to be the usual first ride because he was fighting the bit some and was way above the bit. I began our work with a few large figure eights with hands wide asking for a low frame and he gave in right away, telling me that he was more ready and willing that I first thought. He actually then came up and moved into the bridle very nicely and with some very even back movement. I thought "okkkk", and just went with it.

Since my own back wasn't in a good place to be doing some "tough" work for the day, and Fire seemed to be in a really good upward place in his bridle, I thought we could work on some mediums and lengthenings in the trot. He did the mediums quite nicely but needed some more sit down for his lengthenings to really be engaged properly. This is where the genius moment began because I thought I'd ask him for some 1/4 turn on the haunches. If you've read before, you know that Fire can get a little nervous with the "slower" movements of collection, so in the past when I've tried to even think about this movement it's just been a disaster. IE... I think last time I tried he kicked a hole in the indoor wall and he tried to toss me out the open door in the side of the arena. No joke.

We began by walking to the left against the wall in a collected walk with the whip to the outside near the shoulder. I put both reins in my inside hand and brought my outside leg very far forward near his shoulder to let him know that I really wanted him to move his shoulders away from the wall in this movement. I spoke to him this entire time to keep him quiet and in a forward motion. It is very important to keep the motion forward while turning and keep the horse into the bridle without sucking back, and without "spinning" around. And low and behold... Fire did it like a champ. It wasn't the tiny pivot, but I'd say it was very very very close to it, like he barely came off of the wall and he did not get nervous and he stayed forward and into the bridle and he then did not get nervous when I asked him to do it again, which is wonderful.

I think this shows that he is beginning to grow up some. He is accepting work in his life and that things that were once hard are not always difficult and can be overcome without a fuss. Which makes my life just that much easier. This ride was one of those rides for the books. One of those rides that you want to keep in your head to recall when you want to crumple up in a ball. It was a great day of clear communication where I didn't have on any spurs, where we "spoke" mostly through the saddle and accomplished a lot.

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