Friday, June 11, 2010

Changes of different kinds

Changes of the Horse Kind -

Little Albert and I have been working on flying lead changes. It it hard for both of us, because I've never tried to teach a horse to do these before. My trainer taught my horse to do them over six weeks when I had hurt my back and couldn't ride, so I never had the experience. Let me tell you it's mush easier if the horse already knows how to do them!

The problem is he knows how to do them. He's just anxious about them , and would rather panic and avoid the whole situation. At first he would just throw his head in the air and run when he knew the change was coming, but now he's invented other ways of not doing the change. He will just continue to counter-canter and not offer the change. He'll throw in a quick scrambly trot step and then pick up the new lead. Or he'll just simply stop and throw his head in the air and try to back up.

I'm trying to do the exercises that my trainer showed me in our last lesson, but I don't know if I'm doing them properly, or at the correct times for his actions. She has me establish the canter with a slow, even tempo and take him across the diagonal. Before X I change the bend and ask for the change. What I do next depends on how he answers the "Please change your lead" question.

1) If he changes the lead, I praise him like crazy and let him continue across the diagonal and then around a 20 meter circle. Then we can go across the next diagonal and ask for the change the other way. This does not happen very much. :(

2) If he tries to change the lead, but fumbles a little and is late behind, or in front, or scrambles, then I continue across the diagonal to the short side, where I walk and change directions by turning him into the rail. Then we head across the diagonal again where I ask for the same lead change that I asked for but didn't get.

3) If he does nothing and makes no effort to change, then I stop him on the short side, tap firmly with the whip to tell him "Hey, I'm up here, you must respond with something when I ask." Then turn around into the rail and repeat the same diagonal change.

4) If he stops and throws his head up in a tantrum I get him going forward and turn right around on the diagonal and ask again.

All this is frustrating for both of us. I keep telling him he's a good boy, that he'll figure it out. I also keep telling myself to be patient, not to push too hard, and to make a huge deal about him when he's good. He's just resisting out of anxiety, and I think that if we keep working steadily on it he will see that it's not the end of the world. It's just a flying change, and he can do it.

Changes of the Blog Kind -

I don't have all the details, but I think that I will be blogging from the Purina site starting on Monday. At that point the voting starts for the Live From Lexington contest, and you can vote for me daily until July 12. I don't have a link yet to the Purina blog site, but when I do I'll make sure to post it here.

So I probably will just blog over there during the voting period. I'll post full details when I get them. This afternoon I'm supposed to have a conference call with the folks from the contest (and the other semi-finalists - awkward!) and I'm sure I'll get more information then.

I'll keep you all posted. It's going to be a crazy busy month! If any of you have ideas of things you'd like to see me write about in the next month, pertaining to the World Equestrian Games or not, feel free to email me - dressagemomblog{at}yahoo{dot}com. I'll try to use your ideas.

Unless you ask to see video of me riding my horse in the Princess Leia slave costume. I can't do that. I don't have a costume.


craig said...

Wait... is you wearing a Slave Leia costume on the table? Because I vote for that!

Cheryl said...

It will be moving!!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr