Saturday, September 08, 2012

Phil Boot Camp 2012 - Days 7 & 8

After such a hard lesson on Day 6, I decided to lunge Phil on Day 7. It was a 15 minute, very easy lunge with no side reins. I know some people call this "junk lunging" and think that it should never be done, as it teaches the horse nothing if you don't use side-reins or long lines or something. While I agree that the horse (who already knows how to lunge and is broke to ride) doesn't really learn anything when you do this, I don't think it's a bad thing to have an easy day. So that's what we did.

Day 8 was another lesson. It ended up being a great lesson, and I have video!

We started out just asking for a nice trot. Phil was very good about it, so we went to schooling 10 meter circles down the long side. That's on the video. There were some times when he needed more leg, or a different positioning, but overall it was really good.

Then we did what my trainer calls the Headless Snowman, also on the video. She calls it that because it consists of two circles next to each other, one large, one small, kind of like the bottom two snowballs of a snowman. First we cantered a 20 meter circle to the left, then at the top of the circle, across the center line, we did a trot transition and immediately turned right onto a 10 meter trot circle. It's meant to help the horse be able to stay round, on the bit and relaxed while being able to make transition and change the bend. It's a lot to ask but it's a good exercise. And like my trainer says, if you don't teach this stuff now, when are you going to?

It was interesting. Going from the left canter to the right trot, Phil did a better down transition. But for the up transition back to canter he wanted to poke his neck out and know jump through. It was the opposite the other direction - the down transition wasn't very good, but the up transition to canter was great.

Then onto schooling the beginnings of shoulder-in, again on video. It felt really awkward, but it's just the beginning. I was able to make some progress, and Phil was getting the idea of positioning his body in a new and different way.

Next it was Phil's favorite thing. Trot lengthenings! Yes, they are on the video too. I'll be honest, the ones from this lesson weren't as great as the "That was a 9." lesson, but they were pretty good. I find it easier to feel him come through his back and regulate the tempo if I'm sitting the lengthenings, but my trainer wanted me to post. I think Phil likes it when it sit better too. I'm sure they will improve over the next month.

So here is the video!

Yes we have a long way to go but I like where we are going so far!


Margaret said...

I enjoyed this. Thank you. I have a lot to learn about dressage and I appreciate these videos.

Val said...

Phil is looking amazing. I love it when you post videos of your lessons.

I really like the "Headless Snowman" exercise. I tried it with my own horse and gave you credit for sharing the exercise. Thank you!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr