Lesson night – work on fixing those low scores and Tanq intro/archives

Tuesday is lesson night at Lauren Sprieser’s barn for me and my boarder Andi. Since I’m an efficiency nut, who is terrible at sitting down doing not much, I bring a second horse to ride while Andi is in her lesson.

Tonight, I started out in my lesson, on Bali, with the intention of finding FORWARD DAMMIT. This means that the first 5 minutes were flat out ugly. Lauren rarely says much as I warm up these days, unless there is something obviously bad, and I guess it was pretty obvious that I was seriously working on finding FORWARD.

Once I found that forward, it was “Laaaaaaaaa”, all sweetness and light, I was really working to bring her nose in, and her ears out, and for that, Lauren wanted me to think of if I was using my fists, to press down as I was standing up – using a table for lift, that muscular action, and without moving my hands, use that action, and it worked fairly nicely. Since I’d spent a few minutes saying FORWARD DAMMIT, there was something to work with. There were moments of heaviness and then, for a few minutes, I had floaty, engaged trot with impulsion, and my favorite part…back to my desired ultra-light contact. I cannot help it…I like light. Really light, and sometimes, it is hard for me to remember that sometimes, I have to go through some heavier feeling contact to get back to the lightness.

So, I worked on keeping connection in my walk/halt/walk transitions and in my walk/trot/walk transitions when Bali decided that reinback was the request from halt…er..not quite, but let’s just move on and not worry about this, you are tucking your butt and engaging it well, so I’m not going to punish that, we’ll just do something that makes sure you don’t think I’m asking for reinback.

Then, it was a few walk/canter/walk transitions, and when Bali did not respond to my leg, the pop of the whip was one step too late. On the second go around, I mentioned this, and instead of doing a bunch of retry, I just took the reins in one hand, and asked with my leg and whip at the same time, and made sure there was no conflicting signals about what was being said. Canter when I ask. Not when you get around to it.

We also worked on the 3 loop serpentine, with no change of lead. That was nice, keeping the shoulders lifting and thinking of having her hind step up under my belly button was the image.

Shoulder in/haunches in, get into it nicely, and do a few steps, then get out of it. SI was first, then HI. HI when I’m going left is hardest for me, but it is coming along. Keeping the bend and moving the haunches in is harder to do than to say.

There were even a few steps of lovely medium trot! Those are rare in my world. Those steps were right after she was all lightness and forward.

After we finished, I hopped on Tanq, who is still sound!!!! He felt lovely. The dental work from 2 weeks ago seems to have done major good. I just mentally roll my eyes that I’ve had him since Oct. 2009 and this was his THIRD dental visit. Nov, Mar, Aug. I am hoping that his mouth stabilizes.

Tanq was stretching down into contact and his canter was feeling stronger. He has grown behind…again. So, this has affected his balance, and he is a bit wonky behind (a highly technical term), but he warms up fine and is very happy to be back to work. I skipped the standing martingale, since having his teeth done seems to have fixed his major issues.

Eventually I’ll put all the Tanq archives up, I’ll stick in some pictures and his introduction from when he came last year for a teaser.

11/9/09
* Move to new farm – check
* Get barn name –
* Settle in nicely – check
* Test to see if I’ll be taken care of by getting hurt – check
* Handle test ride with aplomb – check
* Charm vet/dentist – check
* Handle subsequent test-rides well – check
* Get barn name –

Rick??? is doing quite well. He seems to be Bali’s pal these days, she pushes him around a little bit, but she has not yet found her mean bone, so she is pretty gentle with him.

I think I’ve ridden him 4x now. First time, was just a lark, he was lovely and pleasant, offered both right and left lead.

Second time, we learned just how terrible steering could be in a too-big loose ring, and cantering was a disaster as he did not understand why on earth I would want him to turn around. My ring is about as wide as the race track! Then, I had his teeth done and felt bad for our two trial rides.

Third time, his mouth was hopefully starting to heal, and it was very low-key. I started to ask for him to relax his jaw. He was baffled, but agreeable to attempting a new concept.

Fourth time, still low key, but I think I stressed him out. I had a dressage whip, mostly for the leading to the fence for mounting. He’s a bit recalcitrant about being led and likes to do a mule impression of planting his feet. The only clue that he was stressing a bit was that he shit about 6 times in our 20 minute ride. Poor guy. He was still working on the relaxing his jaw, had both leads, and felt pretty good. Other than the almost-diarrhea, he had no outward signs of being stressed. No worries, I wasn’t beating him.

So, he is mostly on vacation still, but once a week, I clean him up and hop on for about 15-20 minutes. I think he is about ready to start doing something a couple of times a week. We’ll see. No huge hurries. This is his 5th week. He can either get shoes on this Friday or next. Or wait another 5 weeks. Front shoes would make walking trail loops possible. 2w

From 11/15/09
Tanq it needs to be, until something else sticks, because it is too freakin’ confusing have Rick the Horse and Rick the Dog.

I rode Tanq again today, and he seems to be most happy to be doing stuff. Steering is getting better each day, I’m out in the field so there are no tight turns, just general steering. Today, we checked out what he’d do going over poles on the ground. He goes over them. He is boring. Boring is good.

I did take a feel inside his cheeks, and the holes in his cheeks are not fully healed yet. But, they were DEEP. I could not see them, but could still feel them. I think they feel smaller, but I looked at them when he got his teeth done, did not think to feel them.

But, he needs pictures here.

The day he came (5 1/2 weeks ago)
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It required chasing him to get him to move.
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Last weekend
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This Weekend – he made me laugh because he did not want to slow down yet. I was only making the suggestion at this point, it was more of a “do you want to slow down?”.
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It is a pity he is going to be such a crappy mover.
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He is not exactly sure why we would want to turn right while cantering.
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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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