Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 4 - Dave Ellis

Dinner at Dave's in the evening. We watched Bite the Bullet with Candace Bergen. Fun movie.

Precision riding in the big arena. We practiced collection, direct rein, suspension rein, tight turns. I practiced some transitions and had some nice, nice ones on Z. Light and responsive.

Liberty - whoa... Dave had me work on transitions down a whole different way than I have in the past. We used a "laser beam", where I pointed my carrot stick to the wall. If she squeezed through it, I would begin to walk a circle around the middle, growing the size of the circle each time. Eventually, she'd feel the squeeze ahead and slow down. I'd reward by dropping my beam.

The difference? DE wants our horses to think more. His philosophy is that my horse started to make decisions based on the information given versus responding to a cue. Z was definitely more interested in what we were doing! It was an attitude adjustment for me - I train my horses to do things when I ask. I will now start training my advanced horses to think about what I'm asking. I took a day or two to wrap my brain around this concept and how I think normally.

Honeycomb riding - cloverleaf with no change in gait. This was pretty fun! Z had nice gait maintenance up and down the hill. I thought to canter the pattern some and she did very well. We stuck to the trot mostly to help her maintain. She knows this pattern, but having the honeycomb on such a steep incline was amazing. We were instructed to never ask our horse to slow down. If Z got too fast, I was to take her into the round pen in the honeycomb until she settled down. Then, we'd go back to the pattern. I never had to take her in the small round.

Z moved cows VERY nicely!! She started out hot and excited, we were able to move cattle and then it seemed she just needed to run, so I let her. I took her to the 75 ft round pen and asked her to canter around it. She lost her hind footing at one point and lost her butt. I plopped on the ground and had to laugh. It was about a 14" fall since her butt was on the ground. Otherwise - we had a GREAT day.

Dave took us back to his tack room to discuss all things tack. Bridles, pads, saddles, hacks, everything he uses and why. Very educational.
Waist down operates the hind, waist up operates the fore.

Learn to let your horse lope for fun.

The snaffle and hack are direct pull. Once you get the response good in a snaffle, go back to hack to determine the effectiveness of talking with your body.

Put the saddle in the saddle groove and the cinch in the heart groove.

Martingale - originally used to hold the cinch from slipping back. Breast collar is to hold the saddle in place.

Play game 3 ONLY if game 2 doesn't work. Focus is also a porky game.

Search for lightness in the fore always. You can feel the difference in the front feet fall - does it sound like the horse is picking the front feet up or putting them down?

Down transition at liberty - hold the stick straight out to create a laser beam towards the circle wall once the horses pass you. Each time they pass the laser, they'll feel the pressure. After they've passed once, pivot and begin to walk a spiral out of the center in the opposite directino of their travel while holding the stick straight out. Optimally, the horse will transition down 180 degrees before they hit the beam.

Lead, lift, swing, touch - the swing should be straight up in the air!

If the horse doesn't maintain gait on the circle at liberty, change their direction by turning towards them opposite the direction of travel and send them the other way.

Send - step to 10 or 2, not back to 8 or 4. 8 or 4 creates draw, 10 and 2 clearly send the horse out adds porky to the circle.

Z didn't need the thick saddle pad I've been using. Went to just a wool blanket and she did well. Hmmmm...

Precision riding - go to step 7, lift the rein in the direction of the turn, then use the direct rein to make the turn. This helps the horse make a sharp turn following their nose.

Shoulder in - use the inside rein to talk to the inside fore and ask the horse to travel with the front feet on an inside and the hinds on the rail.

Dave prepared a track that had 3 inside lines, cutting the horizonatal and vertical into 1/4ths. Ride those lines precisly as possible. Add diagonals for help in getting shoulders or haunches in.

Z cantered softer than I've maybe ever felt before. She also ran out of steam. We were both pretty tired by day 4.

Vernon Purdy pads...

There's a difference between asking the horse to do something politely and causing it to happen when you need it. (Now vs. a transition to the request.) There's a time for both methods.

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