April 19, 2010

Good Stuff

Shae and I have gone through a hurricane since I last posted. We had some really frustrating rides in which he just wouldn't give me his shoulder. I wasn't riding well, he wasn't responding well, and it just led to frustration for both of us. We'd do circles and he'd dive off to the inside when he felt like it and completely blow through my inside leg. Since then, I made the following changes:

- Gotten off the rail even more. Figure 8's are the figure of choice right now, but we've also done lots of serpentines, teardrops coming off of the rail, and circles of every size.

- Gotten rid of the whip. He wasn't afraid of it, but when I used it the only thing that happened was that he got frustrated and crazed and I had to spend time bringing him back down again. I will still carry it to help him move off of my leg more sharply, though.

- Started thinking about riding every stride, literally. It helps to envision that I'm picking his feet up with my aids and placing them where I want them to go.

- Worked even harder on being proactive instead of reactive. He's predictable and I need to use that.

- Worked at bringing his pace under control when he's frustrated. I'm learning that if I control the pace, I control the brain. If I have the brain under control, he's learning. I want more pace control, but patience!

Things have been improving steadily since Friday as a result. Less battles, easier canter transitions, a more balanced horse. Not totally there, but much further than we were.

Sara said today we might have been the best T&HII class she's ever had. Shocking, really.

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