Monday, September 16, 2013

Red is Still Worried

I rode both Red and Pie today.  Pie didn't get a ride yesterday, so he was up first.  We had a really excellent ride in the indoor, with lots of forward, soft trot and also some really excellent canter work - he's come a long way.

Red was still somewhat "jangly" after yesterday - he's a very sensitive, high strung horse.  We ended up having a good ride, but he started out very braced and head high - this is his "I'm worried" default behavior - it doesn't show up that often but when it does it's pretty noticeable.  We kept working at the walk, with some backing thrown in - it took a while - for him to relax just a bit and offer me some softness rather than bracing through his head and neck.

When I first asked for trot, everything fell apart again and we got the balk/brace.  I went immediately to a secondary cue - tap with dressage whip - and got an ugly walk/trot transition.  We kept working on it - the key was to have him soft, sometimes through backing, before the walk/trot transition - don't make the transition if the softness isn't there, no matter how long it takes.

This bracing behavior indicates the degree of his worry over the Mikey incident.  As with yesterday, we worked through it and he was able to find a place with good softness at walk and trot.  Every day, I expect he'll be feeling a bit better and be able to find the softness faster.  Poor Red - he takes things like this very hard.

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