Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Good Days

Yesterday, I worked with all three horses and it was very good.  Dawn and I had a lovely early-morning ride, involving much cantering.  I used some of the things I learned at the clinic - letting go with my lower back, and breathing regularly, and she liked it.  I also tried shimming her saddle with the front Mattes pad inserts, layering them and inserting them under the saddle, and this worked well, as it had with Pie.  Dawn's softening work was much more consistent, and her canter work was lovely - we even did some very nice loose rein canter - a first for us.  Dawn got a day off today, as it was even hotter than yesterday.

Pie and I had a groundwork/lungeing session yesterday - he was in the halter and line, but I had him wear and carry the new Rockin S ported snaffle that we had tried out on the third day of the clinic.  He was very sassy - we had some grunting and scooting, but he settled down and worked well.  By the end of our session, his mouth was much more quiet.  Today, due to the heat, we didn't ride, but we did some walking around on a halter and lead with him carrying the bit again - his mouth was even quieter.  Tomorrow I'll try riding him with the new bit and see how we do.

Red and I also had a groundwork session yesterday - we did some leading work in the indoor, so he could explore all the doors and corners, and the viewing room.  Then we did some lungeing work.  He did very well - there was only one small scoot/bolt and we kept on working.  We did a fair amount of work at the canter, to be sure he could breathe correctly (one breath per canter stride) and organize his leads correctly - it took a bit in the first direction, but when he'd gotten it and we switched directions, it hardly took any time at all to get a good canter with good breathing.  He dealt well with lots of distractions - all I had to do was ask him to come back to me and work and he did. In the afternoon yesterday, I took him up to the outdoor arena for a bit of grazing - it's grass in the middle and a sand track around the outside.  He did graze for a bit, and then took off running - he did laps on the sand track in both directions, at high speed, with some bucks and leaps thrown in - he seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to move.  Today I did a few minutes of ground work, which he clearly didn't need, and then just got on and rode in the indoor arena - our first ride at the new barn!  I followed Mark's advice and just rode Red the way I want to ride all my horses - I expected the best of him and that's what I got (if I'd gotten anything else we would have just worked through it). We had a very nice medium leng|h work session with good walk and trot work and transitions.  I focussed on my breathing, letting go in my lower back, using my improved method of posting (just letting the horse's hip lift me only slightly more than in sitting trot) and using only energy and breathing as a cue for upwards and downwards transitions - it made everything so much easier for him and me. He coped with being tacked by himself in the barn and having horses come and go in the arena - he was by himself with me for a good part of it.  I was delighted!

Very good days indeed!

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