December 4, 2018

Going Back to First

Yesterday's post may have made it sound like I'm stepping back from training, but quite the opposite.  When work allows, I'm still putting in all the same amounts of effort I usually do, just without the mental baggage.

A hastily taken photo before the pony walked away from me

I've been focusing a lot on my hands.  I start most of my rides in a First Level frame, and gradually supple him with lateral work and corraling his squirrely right shoulder.  I go through the First Level movements - can I leg yield without pulling?  Can I halt without pulling?  Can I make him do everything in shoulder fore?

Allllllll the heart eyes for the way this saddle still fits
Once he's feeling good there, some days I'll ask for collection, and some days I'll keep the longer frame.  The forward hands are really making progress but they're not a habit yet, and when I start asking for "stuff" I lose it. 

Last night, he felt amazing.  I could feel an open throatlatch and a supple, forward horse as I worked through the First Level stuff.  I want to carry that feeling into the Second Level work, when we're ready to re-add it.

"Actually working hard is hard"