Thursday 14 June 2018

Mean Mom

Wednesday's ride on Cisco started really well.

He was a little snortier than normal in our walk warmup, and was back to being spooky in the scary end. But otherwise was listening really well, and I like how he was carrying himself.

Which carried over to our initial trot. He wasn't straight, and because he hadn't been ridden in a week he was a bit more forward than need be. But I liked the feel.
Barn pig was hoping for treats

The initial goal for the day was to do an exercise with the turn on the forehand, as found on the Sprinkler Bandit's blog. Basically, it's ask for one step of the turn, halt, ask the horse to stretch a bit downwards into the flexion, ask for another step of the turn, and repeat. The idea is to get the horse to associate putting your leg on with stretching down to the bit.

It was a bit of a stretch goal to get anything out of this exercise, as he's not confirmed with the turn on the forehand, and he's only been offering a bit of downwards stretch in the last few rides. But I thought I'd give it a try.

The stretch down kind of worked - he would either drop his head a bit, or kind of root down and fuss with the bit (still awaiting on that Bombers bit that's going to work miracles). The step got sticky at times, and being the smart pony that he is, he started to figure out that after I asked him to drop his head he would be asked to take a step, so he started doing it himself.  Overachiever.
Totally unrelated to the blog content - I might need a pissed off unicorn mug from the Disney store.
We moved into a walk on the right rein and he was super bent around my right leg. Same at a trot - the circles were actually round for once.

And then we went left.

The plan was to do the same - walk a couple of circles with him bending around my left leg and then the same at trot. Pretty well right away though, the problem that has been cropping up on occasion reared its head - pushing the right shoulder out and running through my aids (speed and outside aids). I needed to fix it.

At a walk I can put my right knee against him and he straightens up. But it's not happening at a trot. I tried first to turn him into the rail when he bulged that shoulder out. That didn't really work all that well. So I moved on to Plan B.

He bulged the right shoulder out, I went whack whack with the crop on that shoulder.
I've got the t-shirt.
After about 4 times, he figured it out.

Of course we lost all of our relaxation. And he didn't want to go on the rail tracking left as he thought that's why he was getting whacked. But man, did he ever straighten up when I put my outside aids on.

Note that this is not my preferred way of horse training. But it needed to be nipped in the bud before he really figured out how to use this against me, especially when we canter, as it will only escalate at the faster gait. Hopefully today's lesson sticks!


  1. What a useful exercise! That's a good way to associate leg with stretch! Plus, being able to move the haunches around simultaneously is a great idea :)

    1. It went much smoother than I thought it would on a horse who isn't confirmed in any of its parts. And even better was that he seemed to learn from it.

  2. Sometimes you just have to be crystal clear

    1. Sometimes a quick, sharp correction is better than dragging it out over and over again.