Lesson at Lauren’s. I took Bali & Tanq again. At some point on the ride over, on a straight stretch, there was suddenly a lot of banging back in the trailer. As best we could tell, Tanq slipped, kicked his hind leg over to Allie, she then stepped on Bali, who stepped on herself. All very minor scrapes, but it sounded like quite the kerfluffle.
On Bali, I’ve really been working on getting her more forward all week…well except for yesterday, when I was on bareback, with the bag of fly predators. And then, I distinctly did not want her to bolt off to join the rest of the herd…and I guess it is paying off. After a warm up where I worked on keeping her on the bit in the walk, and then into trot, we had some canter work, lengthening down the longside, I tossed in one flying change, and working on getting a medium INTO contact, then Lauren asked what did I want to work on.
I decided half pass. We’ve been doing a lot of work on haunches in, and so doing haunches in on a diagonal line, seemed like a nice change of pace.
First off, haunches in. I was to go down the long side and really work on getting angle, not so much worry on bend. And, get the haunches in immediately. No developing it, aid, response, get a few steps, straighten, rinse, repeat. I started on my weak side, haunches in to the right, using my left leg. I did remember to move the whip over to the left and use it to reinforce my aids, and maybe, just maybe, all my gym time is starting to help. I was getting a better response. After that, I went down the center line, D to R and started the shallow diagonal line, and then asked for the haunches in. It was working reasonably well, until she wanted me to start going from wall to center line, so I could just turn and stay on the same direction. That is when my left/right dyslexia showed up. Badly. After much hilarity where she said one, I went the other, I finally found the letters and the pattern, and we were back in business.
It was reasonable going right, then we went left, so it was HI to the left, off the right leg. That was pretty good, and then Lauren had me try haunches in left, leg yield right, HI left, LY right, and that was really doing the trick. We were getting a few really nice steps in there. Oh, and at some point, the reminder came to really weight the inside seatbone during the half pass. And, to really weight it, I felt like a pretzel when I heard “good!”. I was going away from the mirrors, so did not see if my perception matched reality. Probably not…it rarely does when it comes to physical placement.
After a walk break, it was back to canter…at first Bali’s response to my request for canter was haunches in….so the aids are very close. But, once I made it clear that I wanted canter, we worked on refining canter departs. I’m trying to learn to use my seat more, so that when we get to tempis (Lauren is not afraid to dream big!), she’ll be off my seat, and I won’t need my leg so much. I am still muddling through this for feel and response.
Towards the end, Lauren had me playing with lifting her head up, actually letting her be above the bit, a few steps before I asked for the walk transition. This may end up being something that is tossed out, but the goal was to lift her front end a bit, setting her hind end down, for a more balanced downward transition. As it is not that different from some of the lifting her front end up in jumping lessons, I think it might be a transitional tool.
And a gratuitous picture of Ricky the dog chasing Bali in early spring. She enjoys this game.
After we finished, I swapped out for Tanq. He is sound on Lauren’s footing. I had given him 2 days off. I had an initial moment, where I thought he’d suddenly lost a ton of weight, but nope, I had grabbed a longer girth. . He was very happy to be out, and his long and low trot is lovely. And at the end, I spent about five minutes working on him keeping that lovely contact with his head up about 5″. He started to get it, and I’m glad I did that when I had the mirrors for feedback.
And, just for grins, a few more of Tanq’s archives.
2 days in a row finally for Tanq. He was pleased to be back on the list of attention. The closest to “don’t slip and die” footing was out in my big field, and he did great being out there all alone, both days.
He is starting to comprehend the concept of putting his head down when I put leg on, we played a tiny bit with moving off my leg in a baby-leg yield, and he is trying out traveling around TOO low in front, and turning into a falling-on-his-face pony. As I’d rather not somersault with him, that one isn’t getting too much support fro me. Leads seem to be a crapshoot at the moment.
The hind shoes make tons of difference. He is quite sweet and happy to give it a go. I tell him he is a clever boy, out of habit, but what he has is trainability. Clever…not so much, but trainable, immensely.
Tanq has been having the easy life of “it’s too cold and hard to ride often”. But, I can see that he is feeling pretty good.
Last night when I tossed hay, he was actually bucking and kicking up his heels! That is relatively new. I like it, and I think that having hind shoes on is what made the difference. He’s had a couple of weeks for any soreness from compensating or taking mincy steps, and now he’s feeling nice.
I hopped on this morning, and he was pretty easy. A bit more forward than prior rides, and I like that too. I feel that he is retaining what we’ve worked on before (leg on, lower head and reach for bit), his balance felt a bit more steady, and all in all, he is just uncomplicated. I’m enjoying it. When the ground is not like concrete, we’ll do more work, but for now, he is such a happy, and mellow fellow, I am enjoying just hacking him around working on steering.
Now that Tanq’s mouth is healed from the massive ulcerations on his cheeks & tongue, he is starting to be a PITA about dumping and tossing his food. I guess he seees that Romeo does it, and Romeo is one of the cool kids, so he is copying. He is eating with more gusto, and still gaining weight.
He’s also been around long enough that there is no more “you are new and seem a bit traumatized by the life changes you’ve just experienced, so I’ll be more forgiving of indiscretions on the ground”. But, he’s a god egg, and takes this in stride.
This morning, I rode him again, and we went into the field with the jumps/piles o poles. He was looking that direction yesterday, but the gate was closed and I didn’t feel like messing with it, but this morning, I went over and confused him greatly by asking him to stand while I got the gate open. He didn’t do so great on that, but there was nothing bad, just complete confusion as to what I was doing up there and what he was expected to do. Since I have no intention of using a 14′ gate as a training gate, I just asked for standing quietly again after it swung open and moved on.
We trotted the POPs, cantered the POPs and he literally just takes them all in stride. His canter rhythm was just all la di da, even when he met it a bit short or long.
He got both leads reasonably well, and seemed to enjoy some cantering, even though the field is still frozen.
Tanq had his first lesson tonight. I hauled over to Lauren’s and he was a touch nervous at having an outing all alone, but he is still, chill. He got sweated up on the trailer ride, but chilled in the cross ties while I got ready, then tacked him up.
He took about 5-10 minutes to really relax and sigh, and start reaching for the bit, but I’ve been successful so far, as he IS reaching for the bit, and tries oh-so-hard to figure out what he should do.
For now, Lauren thinks I should keep my reward to voice/praise when trotting and he flexes/reaches for the bit, and not release the reins when he responds, because he needs the consistent contact now. Save the pets for the walk until he is a bit more consistent. His trot we needed to get a bit more, it felt a bit fast, but that was our working trot, and she said as is, it would get him 5/6 in training level, even though he is very far from round. It was correct development. So, note to self, more pace in the trot at this point. Don’t slow it down too much yet.
Same in the canter, use a bit more speed to get the rhythm and let him find his balance, then start working on asking for rounder when he develops more musculature. We tried a bit of leg yield and to the left, it was pretty darned good. To the right, it was laugh at the complete and utter lack of comprehension to what he should do with his body. So, back to the walk, and asked a bit, got a whip to touch him, and after getting some steps at the walk, back to the trot. Where I was to go ahead and do ALL those things you aren’t supposed to do…sit too far over, leg too far back, hand crossed over the wither, pretty much anything to get him to take that step over, and get comprehension.
I got “good on the outside rein” feedback, which was nice. That has been a long, long haul trying to find the right amount of outside rein in different situations…and so at least I’m on the right path.
She likes him, he needs more weight and muscle (we’re working on it) and she had a couple of supplement ideas that I need to email for names, for weight/muscle gain. I’m not horribly stressed, he’ll pack on the pounds in spring. For now, he is gaining a bit, and for the dead of winter, that is acceptable. I nixed the corn oil suggestion because I just don’t do oil. Hate it. I’ll get more dried fat or up his flax seed, if I get concerned.
Tomorrow it is off to Foxcroft for another trail ride!
Today, it was over to Foxcroft for a short trail ride (too much snow/ice still for a long one). Then we went into the indoor, for good footing. There were some jumps in there, so Marit lowered a couple to cross rails (one w/ a flowerless flowerbox..8″ and one at the end of 4 trot poles 16-18″), and I saw what happened. Tanq said “OMG, that is more than pole on the ground”, so I had idhokie go over on Romeo and we played follow the leader. “Oh, that is what I’m supposed to do…ok”. Then, we followed over the trot poles to the cross rail, and that was all la di da, no worries, I can do do this. Then he went all by himself a few times, and we lowered a gate to 14″ or so, and popped over that….with the lead. He was again, not brave enough to do it alone. I had no whip or spurs, so not a lot of extra to add impulsion.
A total success though. No stress, very low key, and he is very matter-of fact about it…so long as he can follow someone. I think that he’ll get braver once he understands, but I’m a fan of using a lead at the beginning.
And, a Tanq picture, because pictures are entertaining…particularly when a horse has this much focus to buck.