Two steps backward, one step forward
November 23, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve had some interesting rides recently – not great, but interesting and productive. The good news is that while our canter work lacks grace, I’m growing more and more proficient in that gait. It’s comfortable, I no longer need to work myself into cantering, and I’m starting to actively manage the gait, asking for more a more forward canter, and correcting Derbs when he breaks to a trot before I ask for the downward transition.
Getting the horse forward and into the bridle is still a work in progress. The key here is getting Derby in front of my leg. I know that I need to stay on this and not accept a sluggish response. Today I felt the canter petering out, and reached back and gave him a crack with the whip. He surged forward, I said “Good boy!” and stayed out of his mouth, letting him go on.
We had kind of a crappy ride in my lesson yesterday – Derby was dull and almost rank – he felt very resistant and we had numerous discussions – about walking, about halting, about transitions. We abandoned work on transitions in favor of working on getting the horse forward. Christy had me reinforce my aids with whip and spurs and pretty soon, I had some good responsiveness. But, across the board, the ride wasn’t great.
Today was much better. Whatever was stuck in Derby’s craw yesterday was absent today. We had a nice ride, he was nicely in the bridle, and we drilled trot-walk-trot transitions with good results – the horse stayed round and connected. We also had nice canter work both ways, and high-stepped over poles, staying round and without ever trying to add a stride (seriously) between poles (a symptom of his being behind my leg, I was told.)
Derbs earned himself a couple days off. We have family coming over tomorrow and Friday. It’s going to be warm and sunny, and the paddocks are full of lovely squishy mud that I”m sure I’ll have to chisel off on Saturday. He’s earned it however. Good boy!