Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Feels like old times, only better

I had a lesson on Kaswyn tonight. My trainer came to our barn because the other two boys were out with their owners riding on trails so I had no trailer. It's nice to ride Kaswyn in the large arena but it's not essential since we're not getting ready for a show or anything.

And boy, am I glad I didn't try and take him to the show. It's obvious now that he is very weak and needs some time to get himself back in shape. We didn't work that long but the work that we did was very productive. My trainer had me work some more with getting Kaswyn to move forward off of my leg and seat while at the same time staying round and connected. What Kaswyn does is start to lose impulsion and his hind legs get long and trail out behind him instead of reaching under and pushing. When I put my leg on strongly his first reaction is to rush forward and quicken the tempo. What I want him to do is gather his hind legs under and push harder up instead of out.

To do this my trainer has me push hard with my leg and seat, then stop him from rushing forward my giving a receiving half-halt to harness the energy and direct it up and out, and use my legs to scoop the hind legs under and keep them pushing. Then when he is pushing and has a nice jump to his stride she wants me to release the reins and let him carry himself for as many strides as he can. We worked on this both at the trot and canter but the canter is harder for him to maintain in the slow, pushing, jumping stride. Today I started to feel him get tired. We stopped for a walk break soon after and I told my trainer that I thought he was feeling a bit fatigued. She said that was fine, and that once a week I should push through that tired point for about five minutes. Only once a week, and only when I feel like he's in a good place to be able to handle it and not get sore or over-do it.

We also worked on some shoulder-fore at the trot on the 20 meter circle. This was to start revisiting some gentle lateral work and also to improve the inside leg to outside rein connection. It was also an exercise for me to get him to bend around my inside leg without using my reins, but using my legs and seat instead.

I realized this evening as I was getting cleaned up that I'm in a really good place with my horse right now. He's completely trained and he remembers everything. It's just that his body is not ready to perform yet. It's like we're starting over, but my riding is ten times better and his mind is trained and willing. He knows his job and I finally am learning how to do mine effectively. If I can do this right this time, and not push to hard, or make him crooked with my bad habits, or screw something else up because of my ignorance, then I think we might really have a chance to come back. And I think we'll come back strong and better than we ever were.

1 comment:

Horseypants said...

Your attitude is great for both you and your horse.

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