Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Field Trip: The Ride

Ok, so a few pics and videos from our excursion on Sunday...

Like I said, P was a gem.  She stayed calm and our biggest battle was getting her confident enough to move forward and to turn her attention to me and inside the ring, rather than everything "outside" the ring.  Her looky-lou behavior meant that we had some killer counter-bend going on, but since that's not exactly what I was going for... we had some work to do.

Going to the right was our biggest challenge (as always), but we stuck to a circle and I balanced my aids between asking for the mare to relax and lower her frame, and asking her to really bend around my inside leg (something that inherently causes tension for the beast).   I dropped my right stirrup for a good portion of our work just to get that much more leg on the mare.  She had moments of giving in and letting go, but the combo of stiff right side + stuff to look at outside made for some slooooow going.

P's canter work was pretty great for us.  She was less sticky (though still not "forward") but clearly fairly content to let me kick away at her.  Three weeks ago the amount of leg I was using would have caused a serious tantrum and bucking fit, but Sunday she just worked through it and seemed to try and release through her ribs.
Her frame was a little more jammed up in the canter than I would like... but given the circumstances, I'm not complaining.  We cantered. We circled, and we didn't buck.  (whee!).

I didn't realize it but we were working under saddle for a full hour, which explains why the mare started getting a bit fatigued and cranky toward the end.  We attempted a few small leg yields, but by that point she was pretty much spent.  I was a little annoyed that she was ignoring me as much as she was... but again (broken record), the ride really did surpass all my expectations, so I tried not to pick too much of a fight.

At the end of it, we were both wiped.  I can firmly attest that my right leg (and ass) is totally sore from the effort, so I'm sure P is feeling it a bit too.  She was such a love afterward though, I really have to give her a lot of credit (The Boy did give her a lot of carrots, so I'm sure she knew that she was a good girl...or maybe she just learned that Boy = Carrots, who knows)

Love those quiet moments after a good ride....
Exhausted, happy and looking hot in that Air Jacket....

Below are a few snippets from our ride.  The first video is our start.  You can see she's a bit apprehensive, but did move up into the trot without throwing a fit.  Her instinct is to be jammed up and behind the vertical (which is where we spent a chunk of the day).  She's still pretty leery of the corners.. but I was thrilled that her reaction was to just stop and avoid... rather than shy/bolt.  I'll TAKE IT

Second clip is our first canter work... Her trot is finally looking a bit better here.  Notice she's freely moving up into the canter (WIN), but we're still fairly unbalanced/counterflexed.  (baby steps....)

Finally... this is the end of our ride.  I made her go back to work after a 5 min walk break, so she's understandably cranky, though less so than she was in the past... At the end you can see a few "attempts" at a leg yield.  They were not successful.  At All.  In fact at a couple points she actually leaned into my leg, which is when you see me spin her in a small circle.  It's ugly, but it seems to be our best "please listen now" tool in our tool box at the moment.  Talk about absolutely TUNING ME OUT. brat.


  1. Pia's looking good! I love the last video, made me smile :) You'd worry something was wrong if she didn't throw that in there, eh?

  2. Leg yield trick:
    Post on the incorrect (inside) diagonal and nudge the belly over each time you sit. This should line up the timing for the inside leg to step sideways and forward. Alternatively, post on the correct diagonal, use the same nudging technique and leg yield away from the wall. Works like a charm and is easily understood by the horse (Tip Care of Susan Harris, Centered Riding Instructor).

  3. I'm so glad you guys are figuring things out. I am now vastly less worried that your death is impending. (And hers, too. Much better all around.)

  4. She looks great :) I love how sharp horses look in white polos.

  5. Yep I second Val's tip for leg yielding. That's what my trainer had me do too.

    It looks like she is improving. She still gives attitude, but that may just be part of who she is. I'm glad you're able to work together better and that she isn't offering to buck anymore. Keep up the good work!

  6. I third the tip!

    She does seem to be improving. So YAY! Keep up the great work! You two will be an incredible team yet! Reward yourself at www.timsboots.com


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