Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It’s all about the basics

I have the opportunity to work with a young horse that is a blank slate as far as working under saddle goes. She is seven years old, but she rides like a three-year-old. My first goal is to avoid training bad habits into her! I want to keep her light and responsive to the bit. This will be much easier once she stops carrying herself like a giraffe…

My second goal is to install ‘power steering’ and brakes. She accepts contact with the bit (sometimes), which is nice, but she will happily get mare-ish feisty, and try to turn it into tug-of-war if she would rather go another direction or charge off across the arena…

So, remember how I have to learn how to ride all over again? How I’ve been halting with the wrong aids my entire life? I’m retraining myself. Thighs to stop… And guess what? She is giving me soft downward transitions and halts! The contact and frame (however good or giraffe-like bad) never change!

This week’s assessment with the mare looks something like this:
Rhythm and Regularity: Check! She trots like a metronome and marches when she walks.
Relaxation: Not a chance!!

After those pretty halts, she breathes for a few moments… then tries to dig a hole! *palm-face*

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