Monday 21 August 2017

Best Ride Ever! (So Far)

We had another storm blow in on Friday night, and the wind remained through most of Saturday. So there were some spooky sounds in the arena when I took Cisco in for our ride. I decided that I would be smart and lunge first since he had also had the previous two days off.

He was boring on the lunge. Except that he did nice and prompt canter transitions, which is something I want to make sure is installed before I ask under saddle. So that was nice to see.

I hopped on. He was initially quite looky at the open door at the end of the arena - not that there was anything out there but blowing grass. He almost felt like he might scoot away when the door was behind us a couple of times, but he kept his brain in his head and didn't.

The goal for the day was to work on the walk/trot transitions, and hopefully start to get them mainly off my leg. Surprise surprise - he knew them! Other than the first transition, and one more, every trot transition was just off my leg. (That other one I had to add a cluck, then came back to walk and retested and it was fine.) A bit more leg (or heels) than is ideal, but no kicking or clucking was required.
Carefully selected screen grab.

He was also super forward without my input - probably because of the sounds that the wind was making. I don't care why - I'll take it!
And again.

The other problem that I have been having is that we can't get deep into the short end of the arena. He doesn't understand leg to mean lateral movement yet. So I decided to school the corners.

We did the simple exercise where you halt straight on in the corner, then turn and halt straight on in the next corner. Really simple, really effective. Because he is super green we walked quite early before the corner, then just walked the short end.
This is what he thinks of this exercise.

Going to the right we just had to halt in the corners twice before trotting the whole end. And it worked really well - nice and deep into the corners. Going left, he was a bit worried in the first corner, which is where the mounting block is, and where a rather whistle-y sound was coming from the wind. The second corner was great. So we will continue to work on that for the next few rides.
Looking into the corner where the whoooo sounds were coming from. Obviously a ghost.

To finish my ride, I asked for a "lengthened" trot down the long side on his sticky side. And it felt lovely! And it was off my relatively quiet leg aid!

I jumped off pretty quickly after that before something happened to screw up the ride. This was the first ride that things seemed to click and it felt like real progress. And for the first time, I wasn't the exhausted one after the ride.

I hopped on Phantom next. I was exhausted after our first trot set - she was super laid back and behind my leg. Fixed that on the next trot set with some prompt transitions, but for once she was requiring some extra leg. Riding two horses is tough y'all!

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