Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Riding in Cool July

And the Asked For Pictures
First we have Tucker wearing the Bug Armor. The mask on his head is an extra piece as the Cashel Armor is just the back piece and the front with neck piece. You tie the neck piece to the bridle. The bakc piece and front piece can be tied to the billets on the saddle, but here I just have them tied to each other under the saddle. As you can see there is a place for your leg so the horse can feel your aids. This set up really does work well keeping the annoying flies at bay, even the big B52's!!

I rode Tucker for a nice school, just asking him to be forward and "up" instead of on the bit. I kept him super light to my hand. We finished with some half-pass work at the trot and canter and several stretches of trot lengthenings.

Toby stood like a gentleman for his portrait without being tied. He is two inches shorter than Tucker, but his back is longer. The Bug Armor fits him just fine.

Aside from clonking my head on a tree branch--swell, as I had a nice chiropractic adjusment this morning and was feeling A-1, so I didn't need a whiplash--we happily trotted ten times up the hill in the paddock to help leg him up. Then we worked in the ring, mostly to get him fit. We did a little half pass and ended the ride with three lovely tempi changes every three strides.

For the uninitiated, a tempi change is a flying change of lead. When a horse canters, or gallops, he takes a lead with the legs on the side of the direction he is going. If he is turning right, for example, his right front leg and right hind leg take a little longer stride so he can carry his weight in that direction better. A trained horse will canter on whatever lead his rider requests, regardless of the direction he is going in. Eventually he is taught to change from one lead to another without breaking out of the canter. It looks a bit like a "skip" in his stride. Later, he is taught to change leads every four strides, every three strides, every two strides and at the highest level of training, at every stride. It requires balance, instant obedience, and strength to do these exercises.

Toby leared to do a flying change in one lesson with Lockie Richards. PJ took a week or two of exercises to get him to understand. Tucker hasn't a clue. He doesn't care whether he is on the comfortable lead or not so he goes in each direction on either lead. That may make it a bit harder to teach him the flying change as he does not instinctively want to be on the correct lead. Since one of the teaching exercises is to put the horse in a position where he "wants" to change the lead, that is going to be hard for Tucker since he really doesn't care. Time will tell. He'll get it for sure, and will probably be quite good at it once he understands.

For now, we just walk or trot to make the changes.


  1. The armour is really neat. Now you need matching armour and you can be Mary Queen of Scots! (Any chance for me to channel Monty Python)

  2. thanks for the pix jean - a bit different from fly sheets, as I suspected!

    do you put fly sheets on when they're in the field? i think you do...

    BTB - caroline has ordinary rugs on the boys because of the rain, and the fact that it's pretty nippy up on her hill. Molly doesn't have a rug on as whilst it's wet, it's not that cold down in her dip...

  3. james, a monty python fan?