Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Phil's Progress - The Building

I have been working on Phil on many different ways. I had a great lesson where my trainer warmed me up and then said "Okay, do you have anything specific you want to work on?" Yes, I sure did, and it wasn't a specific movement. I pointed at Phil's butt and said "Did you notice how his butt isn't round right here, and here?" and she said, "That's one of the first things I noticed." Then I said "Well, that's what I want to work on!",  knowing that if his butt is not shaped properly we must not be doing something right. 

Here is a photo of the butt, taken on August 29, 2014. You can see how it's got a bump at the top, and on either side of the bump where the red arrows are there aren't muscles where there should be. 

So how do I fix this? Body building, said my trainer! Lots of 10 meter circles at the trot and canter. Making him go to the outside rein in the circles, and not falling in. The hardest thing to accomplish was getting him to stay on the bit! At that point, in late summer, we were still struggling with connection. Luckily, the body building process helped both of us with the connection issues. 

At first, Phil didn't want anything to do with the circles. He was resistant, and would almost toss his head every time I turned him with the left rein. He wasn't all that please with me using the right rein either. For the first few weeks we were both frustrated, but I refused to stop. There was a lesson to be learned here. 

Then, about three weeks in, he finally just accepted that I'm going to have to turn his head, and he doesn't have to have a temper tantrum every time. It was a major turning point in Phil's training. Writing this almost four months later, I can absolutely say that was when we both started to really get down to business. I use the rein, and he's okay with it. What a concept! 

We continued with the body building until our next lesson, which I'll post video of. My trainer said that he looked like a totally different horse, in a good way! 

The next step: Getting Loose

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr