Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moving Tina along

Great ride on Tina. Worked on isolating the ends, softness in the bit, turns and soft feel. I'm asking her more softly with my legs and body to move her body with me. As she gains confidence in the bit, it helps tremendously with developing seat and leg aids. She's not so worried about the bit, so we get more going with other zones.

Helped chrissy soften Cowboy with turning at the trot. I just think Chrissy has a great horse, but he does have a lot of built-in brace. He used to be a lesson horse and with his high intelligence, he learned some ways to get out of doing what's being asked. I hopped on him, asked for trot and we spent a good 20-30 minutes turning. I would only release when the turn was free of brace and we would immediately turn the other direction. At first it was like riding a merry-go-round horse - he was turning on zone 3. But after the first 10 mins or so, I started to feel his neck flex and he started to follow his nose a little. By the end we had made some progress and it was a good place to quit. He needs a program of this to get softer. I really believe he doesn't know how to be soft at this point - he needs to be taught.

After that, it occurred to me that Chrissy may not really know what soft should feel like. How can a rider get softness if they don't know what they're striving for? So, Chrissy rode Z and felt it for the first time. She felt how easy it can be to talk to a horse via the reins and with her body. She rode sideways for the first time. I think it made quite an impression on her and opened her eyes to what I strive to develop in horses.

I then rode Z and worked on the canter in the round pen. Z's canter depart in the pen or arena is typically not happy looking. It's very, very different on the trail - she's forward and happy. But arena riding is tough and she doesn't like it. I wanted to see how I could play with asking her to canter that would not cause her to get tight and mad. This was interesting! She's learned to cut to the middle and spiral to a tiny circle. She would put her ears flat back. She's been like this since I bought her and I've worked on developing less mental brace with the canter depart, but obviously I haven't gotten there. She was like this with trot departs and I've gotten that completely fixed. But canter departs with no mental brace - we still don't have that down. I found a good place to quit, but I would really like to get her attitude about canter departs better. I'll continue to play with this and see what works.

Great day!

No comments: