Something that I've changed with my pre-ride routine for Cisco is to use the Surefoot Pads before I hop on. For the last few weeks I've taken the bag that holds a couple of sets of the pads over the arena with us and given Cisco the opportunity to stand on them.
At first, I was hoping to use them as a way to get him to relax in the scary end of the arena, but since that end hasn't really been scary for a while I'm using them in the hopes that he will be more willing to stretch down much earlier under saddle.
I try to keep it simple - stand on pads all round, then a double stack under each foot, one at a time. Cisco would prefer that he be allowed to stand on them a whole lot longer, but as it adds - 10-15 minutes to my ride I have to end it before he is ready.
|It's a bit hard to see, but he's standing on a doubled set of pads under his left front here.|
It is working though! At a walk he is stretching right down on a loose rein, and is much more willing to do so at a trot.
|Canter (which had moments where he felt like a reining horse but didn't look that way in the video)|
We're in the building stage - building strength and fitness. When he's not strong, Cisco's very wiggly and crooked. So, although we're not doing a ton at the moment, I've been adding some simple but difficult things, like transitions in shoulder-fore. counter-canter, and upping the lateral work. Nothing crazy, just lots of small moments that will hopefully build up.
|Lots of cookies for trying hard.|
Now, I just need to try to ride consistently!