Saturday 30 July 2022

Cisco Gives Lessons

I picked up a pair of sisters as riding students at the beginning of the summer. They are at a similar riding level - solidifying their position at all gaits and getting more comfortable with riding a canter - but are completely opposite in their confidence. One is very brave and willing to try anything, the other worries and has a hard time releasing tension. She's actually made some great progress since she started with me - the first couple of rides were all about how it's actually easier to ride when the horse is going forward, and now she's a speed demon who I have had to tell to slow down the last two rides.

One of the other instructors at the barn goes away to do a summer camp every year and as she owns most of the lesson horses, they also go to camp. Usually, the barn owned horses don't go, but this year I was told only one would be staying. (That instructor runs most of the beginner lesson program, with her gone for the summer there is very little need for lesson horses.) 

One advantage to riding outside is that you get to see the rainbows!

This left me with the issue of coming up with two horses so that the sisters could ride at the same time. It was just going to be for three lessons as they were going away for the full month of August.

I voluntold Cisco to be a lesson horse for a couple of weeks.

The view from within the outdoor ring we are using.

The more confident sister rode him, and the less confident one rode the horse usually ridden by the other sister. It was actually a good change for her and she did well on him.

Cisco wasn't really sure about his situation. There were definitely some strong side-eye glares aimed my way, and I had to try to keep my distance from whatever exercise they were doing because he really wanted to gravitate to me. But overall, he was a pretty good boy.

I had told her at the beginning of the ride that he was a very wiggly horse and when it came to wanting to bulge towards the gate, he wouldn't give up. She definitely agreed with me by the end of the ride!

She loved his canter - we've been working on sitting the canter instead of perching tipped forward for it - and Cisco has a very easy to sit canter. 

The only thing that he was sticky about was, oddly, the halt walk transitions. Not really sure why, as she is pretty light in her contact, but that will be something I'll play with a bit in my rides.

The resident ravens are a little put out by the removal of their arena roof perch that they loved to hang out on. Now they have to sit on a fence or horse shelter roof to shriek their someone's being murdered screams.

I'm not convinced that she loved riding him overall though (which I'm only slightly offended by).  Maybe it was the wiggliness, or it might have been my saddle. It doesn't matter though because hopefully I won't have to subject the poor pony with that misery again (his words, not mine).

I was very happy with how Cisco went for a different rider. He hasn't had many other people on him (I don't really like to share my ponies) but whenever he has he has been very well mannered. It's a good life skill for horses to have.

Friday 8 July 2022

Working Long

 For what I think was the first time ever, I set the Pivo up last week and nailed the setup on the first try.  Which totally makes sense as the arena is now closed and the process of taking it down has begun. When the new arena goes up I'm sure it will take me forever again to find the sweet spots. 

This was a couple of rides after the ride in which we used the Sure Foot pads. I'm still working on trying to encourage Cisco to lengthen his neck in a forward and out way. It's kind of been a little hit and miss since we used the pads as to if he will give it to me, but I keep encouraging him to do so. It's much easier for him to lock the base of his neck and tighten it than he thinks it is to keep it soft and long, so this will be an ongoing way of thinking. 

Here are a selection of carefully selected screenshots. Sorry that they aren't super clear - my video camera is about 12 years old and the lighting in the arena isn't super bright, so it struggles a bit on having a clear image with the lighting and movement. As much as I would like to upgrade to a 4K camera I can't justify the cost at this point, so blurry screenshots it is. 

I like the look of softness in his body here.

Lengthen that neck Cisco!

Any time that Cisco has his ears below his withers that's a good thing.

It looks like we are practicing some cutting moves, but this was a splat spook at the bird that flew up over the gate. You can see the black speck in the top right corner that is the bird.

Cisco has a really fun canter. He has these moments where he really feels like he is jumping through his stride - which feels super fun and makes me laugh. I'm always saddened that it never seems to look like a fancier canter though. I was laughing in the video at this moment.

Lifting up a bit on our stronger right side, but not quite there yet...

and with the softer neck. 

The riding on a longer rein to encourage him to lengthen his neck out is tough for me as I keep wanting to bring my hands back, especially at canter. He tries pretty hard to reach out to the contact, I just have to keep letting him have the extra rein to do so.

We are now stuck outside for the summer. The arena was closed as of yesterday. It still keeps raining - we have another thunderstorm watch pop up as I started writing this. The ground is pretty saturated at this point so nothing is drying quickly. Oh -and the mosquitos have come out in full force. I walked Phantom out after a ride on Wednesday on the grass and she was quickly covered in them. I'm pretty sure that our first few rides in the outdoor arena will not be conducive to Cisco having a long neck, especially if it takes a few more days before things are dry enough to get on him. I'll give it a few rides and try the pads again to see if we can get back to it again.