Thursday, 29 July 2021

Some Improvement Noted

 I managed to get both horses ridden on the same day on Tuesday! And didn't I feel it on Wednesday!

I think this was Phantom's first ride in something like a month. The old gray mare was feeling good - both in her body and in her brain. By the second lap of trot, she let me know that she was ready to do this. Since it was late and she was the second ride, we didn't really do much, just tried to keep the level of her forward under ridiculous.

Ready to do more.

I had set up the Pivo for my ride on Cisco. Unfortunately, I had my first fail with it. The conditions in the arena just weren't optimal to be able to get the camera to stay with me as the overhead doors at each end of the arena were open and it was super bright outside, so after I passed the open door the camera got dark and lost me. Also, partway through my ride a couple of other horses came into the arena - I think I got more usable footage of them than me.

At the beginning of the ride, Cisco was having some feels about being alone in the ring, which he felt the need to vocalize to others. Thankfully, bitching and moaning was really all that he did.

You'll notice that my expression does not match Cisco's.

We've been working on asking for flexion and not having it affect steering. I'm pretty sure that if I went up the center line and asked for right and left flexion that our straight line would very much resemble a zigzag. It's a bit of a big hole that I admit should have been sorted out ages ago, but he's just been such a wiggly horse that going straight seemed to be the priority.

It's coming. Flexing left but steering to the right is tougher, probably because he doesn't fill my right rein and our half halts on that side are less effective. By which I mean I hang on my left rein and let go with the right. We're having moments when it comes together, generally later in the ride, and we're starting to get them on every ride, so that's progress.

The Pivo did manage to catch Cisco's spook. It felt much bigger than it looked

The other bit of progress that we've made is in our canter transitions to the left. Cisco's preferred way of flinging out his shoulders is to the right, and in the canter transition we would completely lose the shape of the circle during the transition. 

The arena that I ride in is about 30m wide, so I have to remember to use smaller sections to get some benefit from circles - 30m is just too easy. Earlier this spring we worked on picking up the canter from a walk on a circle about 15m.  To the right was easy. To the left - it was pick up the canter and go straight instead of maintaining the 15m circle shape. 

We've been working on it. On this ride, it was so much better - in fact, the left ones may have been better than the right!

Now we need to figure out turns on the haunches. The exercise I was doing was canter a 15m circle, walk, turn on the haunches, canter the new lead 15m circle, and repeat. I thought we could get a decent turn on the haunches, but it very much didn't happen and we changed it up to turn on the forehand. We've got new homework.

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