May 28, 2013

Pole Exercise

SprinklerBandits (whose adorable old man Cuna is not feeling well today, sending good thoughts their way) asked to see a visual of the pole exercise I was talking about in my lesson wrap-up post.  Since it’s my homework this week, I set it back up yesterday and took a photo:
This was when we were done, and Connor had moved the pole on the left.  It's supposed to be touching the middle one.
You go over the poles in whatever order you want, with the rule being that you stay on the same lead while in the exercise, then bring him back to start over on the other lead.  My trainer likes to call out colors for me to hit next as we're going over one pole.  We're not doing big circles after each pole, they come up quickly.  It’s a hard exercise for a pony with a historically long and strung out canter and a rider that makes up for an inability to think quickly by committing everything to muscle memory, and we almost have to put on our Dressage hats in order to do it right.  It requires him to be between my leg and hand and balanced, or else we miss the rail or hit it at an off stride.  I'm really seeing some improvement in the way I ride, the way he goes, and the way I think from doing this.

On Sunday I did a Dressage ride that focused on engaging him at the canter, knowing that on Monday I wanted to do the poles.  With me thinking about sitting in the jump saddle as deeply and tall-ly as I did in the Dressage saddle, Monday’s ride went better than Thursday’s lesson.  I had to be really conscious of sitting back on his hind legs, and guiding the shoulders around but not holding with the inside rein, which just causes him to be unable to balance himself. 

More jumping without jumping.  That's how we roll.

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