Friday, 20 September 2019

A Lesson on Straight

OMG I got a lesson!

It was almost all at a walk (or halt) and was just what I needed!

I hadn't had a lesson since last summer. A combination of no spare dollars, the instructor coming to my barn on the day that I usually have to work the evenings so no riding for me, and then she got hurt earlier this summer so wasn't able to teach all meant that lessons weren't happening. But things finally got together this week to make it work for me.
No media from my ride, so enjoy these old gifs of my silly horse.

We rode outside in the 20x40m dressage ring on the grass. I've ridden Cisco many times out in that field, but not in the small ring. The small ring that also has a bunch of gopher holes in it.

I told her that my biggest problem was with Cisco wanting to barge through his right shoulder and that I've been working on some shoulder-fore and that when I ask him to move his shoulders in to the right he just barges through my reins.

So we started off with an exercise to get him to learn to step his inside hind into my outside rein. It was similar to a turn on the forehand, but working towards using just my inside bone to ask him to step under with his inside hind, into my outside rein that kept him very straight and caught the step. In the beginning I would have to use my leg as well, but the ultimate goal is just seat bone.

In the beginning, Cisco was not so agreeable about this plan. He went through his list of options on how to get out of staying straight, which included going forward, going backwards, barging sideways, flipping his head, and standing completely still despite my kicks. He actually figured out pretty quickly what my inside seat bone meant - and this exercise worked really well to straighten him.

So then we moved on to doing squares. Halt in the corner, inside seat bone (and leg if needed) to ask him to step under and across with his inside hind. Walk forward, repeat.

The first problem was getting a straight square halt off my outside rein. And then not allowing him to back up. But again, he started to fuss less and we had some good moments.

And then came the trot.

Same idea, more pressure on my inside seat bone, a ton of inside leg, outside rein solid. She actually had me grab onto my breastplate to keep my hands still and not let them do stupid things like cross over the neck. Deep into the corner, flow out.
Post-ride roll - he almost turtled himself when he tried to flip over.
Cisco was straight. But it was exhausting. Because he actually was straight he had to actually work. Again, he wasn't really on board for this plan. I had to use a whole lotta leg to keep him going, then a whole lotta inside leg in the corners.

However, it worked. He was probably the straightest he's ever been. But omg this is going to take so much work.

Cisco seems to think things over when new things are introduced (he probably just thinks about eating, but I'd like to think differently) so I'm interested to see how quickly he gets on board with the new program on our next ride.


  1. Straightness solves so many things. And it’s hard work. Sounds like a great lesson

  2. Sounds like a great lesson - minus the gopher holes, that sounds terrifying lol