November 20, 2015

Lesson Wrap Up: Half Pass in Hand and Bridged Reins

This whole "not being able to see my horse much because of the house" thing has its upsides.

I'm managing about one ride a week on my own right now, trainer is doing two rides a week, and I have one lesson with her.  So there's only one 45 minute period in which I could conceivably undo what she's working on with him, and he's really developing fast.

(Aside: Trainer's response to me saying "I'm not really going to be able to be out here much these next three weeks..." was "Don't worry, we've got him."  Cue huge sigh of relief, because I know it's true.)

Does anyone else feel like chiseling the mud off the one exposed part of a blanketed horse's body is harder than chiseling the entire horse out?

Our lesson last night started with in-hand work, shoulder in to the left and then right.  I'll talk about this in detail soon.  We then progressed to walk half pass right, yes, in hand.  I couldn't coordinate my body well enough to get it, so I handed the reins over to her, and what do you know - he did it perfectly.  I know this because I walked behind him the whole way watching the bend and his legs with my jaw on the floor.  It was absolutely better than he does it with me on his back.  That's some serious in-hand voodoo right there.

Next I mounted and we moved on to shoulder in, but he was pretty stuck and would not come through with the right hind, so she put us on a 12m circle and asked me to bring his shoulders in toward the middle, counterbent, and then once I had that, to ask the hindquarters to come in as well.

Connor's cooler next to Louie's cooler.  Awwwww.

I struggled to ask for this without taking too much right (outside) rein, and she's been after me a lot lately both about my tendency of using one rein at a time with my hands apart, and also not pulling, or "taking back more than you want to have to give."

So she actually had me bridge my reins and just do nothing with them and sit and wait for him.  It took a while for him to straighten and soften, longer than I would have let that go if I was riding on my own, but he eventually softened and did what I asked from my seat.  I ride the rest of my lesson with the reins bridged.

From that point on, he got on my aids and was once again so sensitive that asking for the trot transition produced a collected canter.   I am so torn because in the moment, I want him to trot, that is what I asked for, but that canter transition and the canter he strikes off into are so damn fun to ride, I always have a starstruck second in which I just want to keep going.  But I obediently brought him back into a very nice trot.

Total filler photo of teeny Husky snuggles

My trainer says this is perplexing to her, because she's tried to duplicate that in her rides and he doesn't do it for her. She said it has to be caused by the way I ride, or maybe sit, maybe my leg hits him in a weird place.  I'm betting either A) I have clumsier aids than she does (obviously this is true) and I'm producing too much "noise" for him when he's on the aids, or B) I'm making him feel restricted with my hand, so he responds to my trot aid by going "up" into a collected canter instead of forward.

Still...he is SO MUCH FUN to ride right now.  I got off grinning from ear to ear.  What a pony.


  1. There are perks to training rides when you can't get to the barn! :)

  2. Sounds great! I would love a breakdown or even a video of the inhand lateral work (pretty please) I'm wanting to add that into my rotation with P, but I'm not super familiar with the process.

  3. This is the coolest! I'm just so, so excited about how fast he's coming along and how much more technical your rides - and blog posts - have gotten since I started following along.

  4. I think the whole collected canter versus trotting thing is pretty common. I know that Mystic does that too! When they are learning to get so packaged up they seem to assume collected canter because previously we haven't packaged them up that much for just a trot transition. That has been my experience at least :) Its fun stuff though isn't it?!

  5. Fancy pony! That sounds amazing! In hand work has always mystified me