Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Red Waits, and Dawn and Pie Help Me Bend Right

Pie went in the pen this morning briefly again so I could medicate his eye before he was turned out.  After yesterday, Red had figured out that Pie was going to be in a pen, and instead of going out to the pasture with the other horses, had lingered near the barn to make sure Pie was OK.  When I got there, Red was halfway up the hill, about 50 yards from the barn, where he could watch Pie and call to him from time to time.  When I turned Pie out, they galloped off to the pasture together.

Pie's eye is looking so much better already - this evening it looked almost completely normal, wide open and clear with no sign of any abrasion on the eyeball - that I suspect he didn't scratch his eye but instead bumped his whole eye area hard on something, perhaps his water bucket.  This is supported by the signs of a scrape on his upper eyelid.  I'll keep medicating the eye just in case through the weekend, but it seems things are heading in the right direction.

Yesterday and this morning, Dawn and Pie helped me some more with my lateral work.  All my three horses have tended to move better when tracking left.  When tracking right, stepping under into the corners, and circles and bending, have always been more of a challenge.  We get there, but it's not as easy as tracking/bending left.  Now this isn't because my horses are coincidentally the same, moving more easily when tracking left.  It's because they have the same rider - me.

Riding Pie at the walk yesterday and Dawn at the walk this morning while we did shoulder in and leg yields helped me more clearly see what I need to fix.  When tracking right, or bending right (moving to the left in leg yield), I tend to slightly shorten my right leg and slightly collapse my right hip.  This puts my seat slightly off center, and results in my leaning slightly to the right.  It's no wonder my horses struggle to carry me around right turns or travel with a right bend - they're just trying to support my off-centeredness.  Then I resort to using my hands too much to compensate for my ineffective body position, further blocking their motion.

So I worked on keeping my eyes up, posture open, legs stretching down equally on both sides.  I tried, when shifting from leg yield right to leg yield left and back again - sometimes with a stride or two straight in between, sometime directly from right bend to left bend and back again - to keep my body still and posture straight with no leans or twists, and just change my focal point to our new destination while offering the horse my feel of the hind legs stepping over and under.  Much, much better with both horses.

Less is more . . .

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