Lesson Wrap-Up: Another Good Exercise in my Arsenal

Last night, Connor came out switched on.  Former-Western-Pleasure-Girl once again has her lessons right before mine, which means my warmup takes place during the last 15 minutes of her lesson, and Connor is always super jumpy around her because she clucks CONSTANTLY.  For the first few minutes, every time she clucks, Connor jumps out of his skin.

My trainer commented on how switched on he was, and when I pointed out why, she laughed.  Because it's true.  So, thanks FWPG, I think!

Channeling his inner Quarter Horse

We had a really fantastic ride after two lackluster lessons last weekend.  I hadn't ridden in between because work took over my life this week.  She had us do an exercise that both worked on our weaknesses and really got him on the bit:

1. 12m counterbent left circle in the walk
2. As you reapproach the wall, if you're in good balance, turn right, now in the correct bend, and S-I along the wall for about 5m or so.  If not in good balance, repeat 12m circle.
3. Pick up right lead canter from S-I walk, turn off the rail immediately following the S-I bend into a half 10m circle, continuing straight down the centerline
4. Turn right at the top of the ring, then turn down the diagonal, continuing in R canter IF the balance is good.
5. Repeat, same direction (because this exercise was designed to address his left side weaknesses specifically)

I haven't ridden in so long (four days) my girth is dusty.
We did the whole exercise for a while and it really got him more switched on, but then she has us stop and just focus on the 12m counterbent circle.  She said "He's only really positioned correctly and in the right balance for about 60% of the walk steps.  It needs to be much more consistent."

Her problem with it is that I would get him counterbent with his haunches slightly to the outside, really initiating the movement with his inside hind leg, and then he would suddenly swing them to the inside.  She said my aids for correcting it were always right, but I was applying them too late.  I needed to sense right before he was going to do it and then stop him before it started.


Here's where it got interesting: I started paying attention to what happened right before I lost the hindquarters, and noticed he moved that damn right foreleg out and put more weight on it than the left foreleg just before the movement got inconsistent and I lost the HQ.  It was a diagonal problem in terms of his body.  Right shoulder goes out away from his body, left hind unloads, hindquarters swing in.
Inside, sadly, because the ring was as lake-like as it ever gets.  It drains fast, but the rain had just stopped like 30 minutes before my lesson, so no dice.

I started attacking the problem from both ends - if I controlled the right shoulder (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH) I also kept his hindquarters from swinging in, and the movement was much more consistent.

It's ALWAYS THE RIGHT SHOULDER!

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like some great exercises!

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  2. Maybe Miles needs to ride with FWPG to get him jazzed up LOL

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    1. Lol, kill two birds with one stone and haul over to share my 7pm Thursday lesson. Get trained by my trainer AND benefit from clucking!

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  3. Sounds like a fun exercise! Maybe she doesn't realize she's clucking constantly- I have been known to do that :)

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    1. I don't think she does, her horse tends to be more behind the leg than in front of it, and requires a lot of positivity to keep moving. He was her English Pleasure (maybe both?) horse before this. They're doing really well and progressing quickly, just...clucking. Even on the ground!

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  4. You know, I don't have anything meaningful to contribute, but for so many of the last several posts, I just want a freaking "like" or "love" button!!
    I'm just cheering you guys on from the Midwest!

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    1. Thanks, I appreciate it! I'm the same, I tend not to comment if I have nothing meaningful to contribute, so I understand.

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  5. Oohh I really want to try that exercise! Sounds like a good one. My mare could really use it to the left. My trainer is constantly on me about applying my corrections too late...timing is hard! Good for you for figuring out what the series of events was so quickly!

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    1. Let me know how it goes for you, I'm curious!

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  6. Jealous of his mane and tail!

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  7. Great exercise! Hampton is always leaning on the LEFT shoulder, so I am going to do your exercise in reverse lol

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  8. Really interesting learning, it gave me something to think about. Great exercise to try too!

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  9. Ha that sounds intense. It's so hard to maintain that same high level of awareness thought an entire exercise. As soon as things go right or I get the right placement, for some unknown reason I just stop riding and things snap right back to how they were lol

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