Friday, May 6, 2011

Riding Update

I have a lesson scheduled for Monday - and I NEED it. I never seem to get very far when I'm on my own. For instance, this week I was trying to get good shoulder ins from my two horses, who are completely capable of doing this, and who's toplines need some more muscle (especially Avalon) for my peace of mind. Shoulder ins help build up those muscles.

I think I started out really good. Get decent on the bit trotwork going, spend some time shortening and lengthening the trot, do some leg yields on a small circle to the rail, get some good lengthened trotwork on the diagonal and some nice collection coming around the corner out of it. All of that worked well for me, on both horses. Then I start the shoulder in.


I get something a little more like a shoulder in from Avalon, but there's something off about his hind end. I don't know what it is, and I have no one on the ground to tell me why he feels weird. His shoulder is mostly in the right place, and his head and neck are probably a little too bent to the inside. Not quite there.

Pete, on the other hand, thinks I'm a blinking idiot and just walks on the rail with his head and neck bent way too far towards the inside. As soon as I get his shoulder off the rail, he swings it back into line with his hind end. I cannot for the life of me get it right, not even for a split second.

Pete's definitely the horse I'm taking my lesson on.

Outside of my complete failure to practice a new skill and simultaneously limber and build muscle on my horses, things went OK. Avalon is still giving me this dainty miniature trot he's been giving me since he came off my attempted barefoot disaster, but I can usually get him to give me his big swinging trot after the canterwork, and sometimes just after some good trotwork. It's something that's worrying me, but he hasn't taken a lame step since I put shoes back on him, so I think it's just that it hurt for so long he got into the habit of trotting defensively. Or maybe I'm just taking more contact because I rode Pete for so long, and Avalon hasn't quite figured out that it's ok to trot big with that much contact. This is what I get for trying to ride him backwards for so many years, now I have to work to get him to move forward.

I made a really awesome discovery on Pete. He tends to have hissy fits (stick his head in the air and crophops a bit before settling down) when you ask for an upward transition to a canter. My trainer has been telling be to overbend him towards the inside when I ask, to reduce that, which works, but didn't eliminate it entirely. Turns out, if you loop the inside rein while you're asking (but keep contact on your outside) during the upward transition and take only minimum contact in the canter, he's chill. This is not a one side thing, so I don't think it's a pain response, I think I just rely too heavily in my inside rein and Pete is just not a fan. I can live with that. When he's not trying to get me off, Pete's canter is almost as nice as Avalon's.

We all know who the favorite child is.

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