Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interesting ride

The ride today was interesting. It started out really rough with Boomer insisting on being a giraffe. It took a good 15 minutes of trotting before he would give and come down. From there were were about 70%, which isn't half bad ;)

I was really impressed with the ride as we had continual improvement for the whole ride. I rode for over an hour because I really wanted to keep working out the kinks, and things kept getting better. Boomer was offering some really great swinging trot along the long side of the arena (straight lines!). Our left lead canter is getting much better. Boomer seems to know what I am asking for and tries. I am going to really make an effort to make as many canter transitions as possible during our rides. I am very guilty of cantering once in each direction and calling it quits. No more! Today I wanted 5 transitions in each direction. I got 5 to the left and each was better than the first. However to the right, I got one, then a whole bunch of fighting. He would slam his head up and start death trotting around, when I slowed him down he would suck behind my leg and jig instead of trotting. If he so much as felt a leg on him he would slide his hind end around like a car on ice. After working through all of that, I could use my seat and really get him trotting forward again, but each time I asked for the canter I go the same response. So, I gave up on the right lead (bad rider), got some good connected trotting, and got off. However, being stubborn, I hooked him back up to the lunge and elastic rein* and made him do 5 canter transitions. He still threw up his head and rushed, but not as bad. Towards the end he offered to stretch down and relax for a few strides at the canter for the first time ever. We called it quits after that.

*The elastic rein we are using is sort of like a chambon. It is a 6' long elastic cord with snaps at the ends and a sliding keeper in the middle. You lay it over the poll, thread through the bit, and connect to the girth between the legs. It can be tightened at the poll, as needed. The idea is that when he has his neck and head up, there is poll and bit pressure, when he drops down there is a release. It isn't so tight that it forces him to hold any given position and it is elastic and has plenty of give for him to play with while he gets his balance. My trainer has me lunge before riding in it to let Boomer feel where he is supposed to be before we start really working. I think it is a really useful tool. Today was the first time I had him canter in it and Karin wants me to start cantering him on the lunge before we ride to get him to start finding his balance. She thinks that will help with our canter issues under saddle.

Oh, we get foam almost every ride now! Yay!

8 comments:

Story said...

I had my girl very well trained to lope two circles and quit. I could flap away at her all I wanted after two circles and all I'd get is that "death trot". I hate the "death trot"! Needless to say I'm no longer allowed to only lope two circles and I'm no longer allowed to halt in the middle of the arena. :(

Heather said...

haha! At least I'm not the only one! I can't wait for my next lesson to work on this. I think part of my problem is that I lean forward and anticipate the transition and throw off our balance. Who knows...

Shanster said...

Nice! Yea and all those transitions will make him stronger and more balanced - ready for whatever you ask of him!

I have that thing - we call it the neck stretcher -

I learned to not use any artificial aids and this one is so elastic that it really doesn't PREVENT anything - more of a reminder I think. The clinician Jennifer Baumbert that comes out introduced it to us...

When starting Sera, I would try to "be the neck stretcher" with my hands and deep elbows...

When she was giving and round, so was I - when she was stiff and inverted, I would hold and drive her forward not giving until she did.

Sera was really almost ewe necked when I bought her with that bulging under her neck and a very high head carriage.

Rosso is opposite in that he curls his head and will come below the bit so he "looks" pretty and round but he isn't really on the bit at all - he's not there in your hand at all.

It's all so interesting and amazing to me.

hey - you doin' o.k. otherwise? I've been keeping you in my thoughts -

Heather said...

I think Boomer probably rides a lot like Sera did as far as being ewe necked and bracing. I'm really bad about not doing enough transitions, so it will be good for us and I'm really looking forward to the next lesson!

I'm doing all right with the family stuff. Gma passed on Tuesday and she is being brought to Kansas City to be buried next to Gpa. The funeral will be a week from Saturday and all of the family is coming down. We are lucky that we live so close and can be 'home base' for all of the family that is coming from out of state. Thanks for thinking of me! I had been trying to prepare myself for this for a number of years now, her time had to come eventually and she did live to be 100! I'm just so thankful for all of the good memories of her!

Story said...

Interesting that you said that you think that you lean forward on the transition...I think I do the same thing! Particularly if she falls out of the canter, it's like I forget everything I know and I start leaning forward and next thing I know I'm just chasing her around the arena. I mean, why should she go back into a canter when I'm actually cuing for a death trot (I love that term, I'm going to have to keep using it now).

Heather said...

I noticed that on our best left lead transition, I focused on sitting back and weighting my seat bones equally (I like to visualize myself doing an olympic victory lap to improve my equitation) and it seemed to really help our transition happen smoothly.

Shanster said...

It's hard. I'm glad you will have family around and will be able to share stories. Take care of yourself...

Story said...

Sorry that I missed your comment about losing your Gma. Hope you and your family are doing ok.