Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Balance, of a sort

I have managed to get over myself since being so annoyed last week, which is a relief.  It is great when you can annoy yourself.

Positive rides certainly help with the attitude adjustment and the last couple have been really productive.

Our lesson on Saturday was mostly focused on jumping and I had an epiphany.  I had mentioned awhile back that Odin stopped at a couple fences, and by stopped I mean he sort of putters out and then is like, I don't want to heave myself over this from a standstill.
From earlier this year, results of standstill leaping

So that ties into two different things I figured out Saturday.  One, baby horse doesn't really respect the leg.  This shouldn't come as a surprise since you couldn't even *touch* winter Odie with your leg.  You literally said trot or canter and he did.  Now lazy summer Odie needs more help but doesn't have a confirmed leg= GO NOW.  Hence when he sucks back and you squeeze, nothing really happens.

And why does he suck back you might reasonably ask?  That was the second part of the epiphany.  Because he is becoming subtly gate sour.  He didn't stop at one single fence on Saturday but trotting the jumps away from the gate was a bitch (were a bitch? Grammar is hard).  He would lose momentum, I would squeeze and cluck, he would continue to lose momentum at a slower rate, and then step over the jump and lumber off.  

Trotting the same jump the other way?  Yippee ki-yay MF.  Not overly excited or anything, he just jumps nicely and canters off in a horse like manner.

At the canter he doesn't do the slowing thing, presumably because as an energy efficient machine he has figured out it is easier to stay in motion at that speed.

Anyways, a problem defined is a problem on its way to being solved so that is good news.

And besides that, he jumped everything at trot and canter, wasn't either a freight train or a crippled old plow horse (thanks horse beating stick!) and I got a beautiful, perfect right to left lead change coming out of a line.  With requisite dolphin squeal so we all knew he was about to do something important.

Monday morning's hack started operation There Will Be Forward.  As soon as I got on, it was ask with leg, demand with crop.  It only took a few minutes for him to realize I meant business and lo and behold, I had a horse I could do something with.  Canter transitions were much better - also helps when I don't float the reins at him when asking - and I only had to pull the crop out once more midway through as a reminder.  Otherwise he was all yes ma'am I can do that right now I am here to please.

Still a tendency to get heavy on the forehand but as long as I am paying attention and correcting quickly, that is improving.  Per my trainer's instructions he gets corrected by either a quick pop of the outside rein accompanied by leg or we come to a halt, back up, and trot off again.  With leg.  Always with more leg.  I use both corrections in order to keep it from getting too predictable.

Then we did a little bit of lateral work where I got to practice sitting on my left seat bone more.  Why is that so hard all the time?  And we were done pretty quickly with a pretty soft, obedient horse.  Which left time for plenty of grooming and pets and snuggling.  Great way to start the week!