Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Editor's Correction & Lesson Recap

Correction:  In my last blog post I accused Pia of being a heinous crazy mare-face even WITH 1/2 cc of ace pumping through her veins.  The BO reminded me yesterday that we were so optimistic Saturday that we did not ace the crazy beast which is why we had crazy lunge/ride/free lunge antics.

Moving on...

Yesterday I hit the barn for what was an epically gorgeous fall day.  Sunny, warm-ish, clear... just really lovely.  The barn is buzzing again as everyone has returned from WEG, and the ponies are all growing their furry coats (well... everyone but Pia).

I tacked up, shot the mare with a negligible amount of ace and took her to the ring.  We lunged for a total of 2 minutes (just long enough to get to our "test" of canter transitions) and hopped on.  She was defintely more looky than she has been, spooked twice at the riding lawn mower(/monster) and was a little huffy at the mirrors, but I gladly took the extra energy and forward motion as a good sign.  P was quick to move up into the trot and our warm up work was lovely.  Much, much softer and rounder than any of our previous 'rehab' rides.  We worked some serpentines and shallow loops before getting back to an exercise that we started on Sunday:

Up quarter line --> leg yeild to rail --> shoulder in a few strides ---> canter depart.

The "ping pong" action of bumping P off my legs for the leg yield then shoulder in really balances her nicely for her canter transitions and we got some awesomely smooth departs under our belt.

When this mare wants to, she can really sit back, lift her shoulder and strike off in the canter.  It feels AMAZING.  Our right lead was a bit less balanced than our left, which is normal for us...  Some of it is P's own stiffness, some of it is my inability to sit evenly to the right (oops..), and of course some of it has to be connected to the weird wear pattern on P's right hind hoof... but who knows.

After a nice walk break we did some centerline work in the mirror (elbows in) and finished with trot/halt/trot transitions.  Although they weren't absolutely smashing, I was impressed with the fact that P was very responsive and came back exactly when I wanted, she also got a lot better about squaring up instead of rocketing backwards when I asked for it :), and last but not least, she started off forward AT THE TROT.

For a mare who hates, hates, hates resuming work after her walk break, our initial upward transitions are always sticky and drawn out... Which makes some successful halt-trot transitions very encouraging.

Aside from the pain of breaking in these darn Konigs... We had a dreamy ride.

Today the mare gets the day off while I get to go play grown up at a big launch party, but tomorrow it's back to work.

While I was cooling the mare out the BO and I dared to discuss show plans for the coming spring and summer... Training to start out, but possibly popping her up to first pretty quickly since she does seem to focus and behave better when more is asked of her.. I totally agree with that theory and really can't wait to see what sort of horse she is off-site...


  1. I like that exercise (leg yield, shoulder in, transition). I've been experimenting with what lateral movements set my horse up best for his canter departs and might have to try this one! Thanks.

  2. I've really liked it. The first couple times we did it, I was focused on the quality of the lateral work (actually getting to the rail, setting up the shoulder in perfectly. etc. etc..), but when I'm focusing on the transition I realized that it was most effective when I switch from the leg yield to the shoulder in as soon as she moves off my inside leg... then I ask for the cater as soon as she moved off my outside leg. I found it really effective in balancing her, getting her to actively shift her weight, and then move off. By the end of it on monday, there were times when we barely moved off the quarter line, ping-ponged up in front of my leg and BAM, gorgeous canter transition :)


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