Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day Seven, Fluidity 2

The focus today was latitudinal flexion. Remuda was good with Cameron. Lots of discussion on the longitudinal flexion lesson and how to ask for collection from the point of getting the nose down. Baron talked about asking for a bend by pushing your knee into the horse and causing your ribs to bend.

Cameron talked a lot of shaping the horse and watching them from the ground to see how they are moving and what they prefer. You can also tell how the ribs are moving and if they have an easier side. If you have the horse circle you and spin the hind to disengage, you can watch to see how much they horse gets under itself. Typically, one side will be harder than the other. Practice to get them to match. Also, disengage until the fore swings. See how long it takes for the fore to swing. One side will be slower than the other. There's a relationship between that and the ribs. I didn't quite understand that in the lecture. Another thing was that when you asked the horse to disengage, notice when they steps backwards instead of under. That will tell you which direction the ribs are stuck because it will be too hard to disengage and they will fall backwards instead.

She talked about watching which hind the horse lands on first after a jump. That first landing hind will be the strong hind - which may indicate that the horse pushes it's ribs to the opposite direction. To fix the ribs and balance the horse, ride on the high side. Try to perhaps make the stirrup shorter on one side to help you position yourself on the high side.

The suspension rein should always be in the inside rein. Also, watched Cameron play sideways and she did it from Z1/Z2. I tend to do it from there because it seems more effective but it seemed past instructors would stand more in Z3. Reassuring to see Cameron also do it from Z1.

Cameron talked about the side of the horse the mane falls on. She said that because of gravity, the mane will fall on the side of the horse which is lower, meaning the ribs are "stuck" on the opposite side of the mane. I'm trying to trust the program, but my horse had a mane that fell to both sides - almost split down the middle. I've been brushing it fall on the right for many months. I don't think that means my horse's ribs are stuck on the left. I'll think about that some more.

We talked about Snakey Bends (which I think are an amazingly effective pattern!) and how they can help your horse become straight on the circle. We have to focus on bending OUR ribs to the help the horse bend hers.

I was going on a trail ride with a few others and Z didn't want to go. It felt very left-brained. It was slow deliberate instead of fast and disheveled. My horse had a plan to avoid the trail ride. I was trying not to brace against her and taking her in a circle in the direction she was working on. Cameron walked up just in time and gave me some very effective info. If my horse is left-brained and pulling with her own direction in mind, go with her but also ask her to disengage in that direction. If the horse is right brained, take them back to where they are comfortable and work there! Cameron got behind me and played the rider holding my belt loops. I tried to be afraid and go back to the herd, she would not fight me and she would direct me back. It actually made me stop and look at her. When I tried being left-brained, I got deliberate in my action and she just kept causing me to turn from my hips. After a couple tries, I gave up. We both laughed and I realized that psychologically, it made perfect sense.

Julia did a demo with her horse "Monkey" showing how to watch the ribs from the ground and help the horse shape up. She drew a dot on the shoulder and a dot on the hip. She talked about watching for the dots to get slightly closer together and reward. She asked her horse to go over cavalettis and watched for even steps, bent ribs and responsibility with the feet. Monkey looked very nice over the cavalettis and never hit one with her hoof. Julia had the cavaletti's shaped in an arch, designed with 2' distance at the center and 5' distance on the outside.

Julia also had Monkey go over some jumps. If they jump with noises (grunting, heavy breathing) continue asking until they change. If they make noises in the jump, it's often because they are landing too heavy on the fore.

Molly and Wolfgang demo'ed for us, and Baron coached us on keeping the horse straight on the circle by using the inside knee/thigh. I practiced that with Z and realized I wasn't applying my weight that way. It helped my outside hip to lift off of Z's back and allow her to bend better.

Molly had problems with impulsion with her horse so she didn't get a chance to do much of the exercise. Wolfgang was able to do a little more, but his horse seemed pretty unhappy with the Cradle the entire course.

Great day for Z and I! Spent 6 hours with her. I spent between 5-7 hours with her everyday of the course. Amazing and allowed our transformation to really occur.

Things I want for my property: honeycomb, tires, taller bridge, ball.

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