Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canter improvement

I longed with the elastic rein on today before my ride and was pleasantly surprised by Boomer's left lead canter depart! He kept his neck down and nose in and sort of shuffle, shuffle, cantered in to it without ever raising his head up and bracing! I told him good and kissed to keep him in the canter and he continued around with his head low! This was the first time EVER I have seen that! His right lead was the same as before, but I was thrilled with the left lead and praised him like crazy! I got on and started working and he was very sensible. He didn't pay any attention to the door being open or to the person taking apart jumps.

He has been on Smart B1 for about a month and I am inclined to think that it has made him more focused and less jumpy/looky about everything around him. I'm not sure if his new found sensible nature has more to do with the supplement or the increased training and control/submission that comes with being on the bit. I think it is some of both. Either way, I am thrilled! He fixates less on things and seems less jumpy about noises. He still wants to look out the big door, but focuses and gets over it after one or two circles instead of fighting about it for the whole ride. Big improvements.

Aside from not being a fruit loop, our ride was very good! He is very reliably on the bit at the walk and trot on circles or going large around the arena. His canter to the left was great from the depart and he really tried reaching down while in the canter. To the right, the transition was not as good, but he did try a few times to reach down. I was so happy with his canter work today! Even after the canter, he was more relaxed and came on the bit readily. After that I worked with him more on lateral work. I am keeping the lateral work at the walk until we cover it in a lesson. We did some great leg yields from the center line, and also did some really great work on an exercise that I really liked- tracking right, leg yield along the long side facing the rail, at the next long side leg yield facing away from the rail. Revers and repeat. This exercise really builds up their back and yielding along the rail while facing the center of the arena really makes him listen and stay light in my hand so that he doesn't go forward towards the centerline. We also tried a few western spins again. Those are really fun! Boomer was surprisingly fast! I only had him do 1 rotation in each direction. Between each of these exercises we would walk on a loose rein. I was very happy with how easily he went from stretching to picking up and collecting again. Our last exercise was to try the shoulder in. I had tried this before a few months ago, but had no success and ended up with both of us frustrated. This time was very different! I was able to keep him connected and on the bit and move his shoulder over until he was on three tracks! I was able to watch in the mirrors on the short side of the arena and was able to check that we were on three tracks. That was really cool to realize that he is so responsive off my legs!

Our lesson is moved to Thursday this week as Karin is at a clinic this week with her 8 year old Andalusian stallion. He is totally cool. He showed 4th level last year and she is hoping to get him going PSG this year.

I also got a set of 4 renegades in the mail and have been working on fitting and adjusting them. I hope to ride in them this weekend when we go down the road for another conditioning ride.


Shanster said...

I was going to try some of that for Rosso and hadn't gotten around to it... well, I tried something with valarian root in it and it was so horribly stinky I couldn't get him to eat it...sent it back and hadn't tried another one. I was going to use a B vitamin next.

Yeah, and the more and more you ride him the better and better he will get. Sounds like you guys have reached such a great level of teamwork!!

Heather said...

The Smart B1 is only about $8 and I have a code for free shipping, if you want it - ZFS30 (expires 4/30). It is flavored with Fenugreek and Boomer loved it. It did take about 3 weeks to really notice a difference. They also have other 'stronger' formulas that come in pellets.

The biggest thing I noticed was that he wouldn't fixate on things. When he fixates, its like winding up a toy- the longer he stares, the further his mind floats, the bigger the blow up. So, now he still glances at things, but doesn't give them his full attention and completely blow through my hands and legs. I am actually able to ride him past things the first pass instead of making circles gradually closer to whatever he is looking at for 30 minutes. Much more productive rides!

Shanster said...

Cool - is that thru SmartPak? Thanks!

I'm buying some Omega1 flax meal stuff there and some devils claw to keep his back free of inflammation.

The devils claw is banned by AHSA but I figure I'm so NOT a top level rider - local shows only and I don't compete that much.

So it's just not that big of a deal. Suppose since I'm trying to gather scores for Sera's silver medal, I won't feed it for a week before a show since the horses switch around eating and I can't be sure she's not getting any of the "banned" stuff even tho' it's meant for Rosso. Geez. Ramble much?

Heather said...

Yeah, I really like SmartPak. I don't do the individual feeding packs, but they still have a great selection and prices on buckets. The drug rules are so complicated in any sport. The AERC bans almost everything. One thing that is difficult to get around is that MSM is banned and it is in many supplements but isn't listed as a major ingredient. Another reason SmartPak is great is because they have charts that list everything in each supplement.