Too Much Walking At School
And on the hard floors, I guess, because my knees--at least the left one--are sore.
So, I rode only one horse tonight. Tucker.
He is a very interesting fellow. If I make too strong a correction, or tap him with the whip when he feels he does not deserve it, he lays his ears back and threatens to act up. Tonight, when he did that, I "growled"at him and he went on working, even though I could tell he had been mightily insulted.
As well, if he really doesn't understand just what he is supposed to do, he stops, protests and then when I explain again, tries the exercise. I started off with a lot of walk work which is always hard as the walk has little natural impulsion, so it's not the easiest gait to work in. I did a number of baby pirouettes and after the first one to the left, Tuck stopped, fussed a little and then went back to work as soon as I assured him he had actually done what I'd asked. From then on he attempted the exercise with no problems. I did have one pirouette on each rein that wasn't too bad, so I moved up to the trot.
I had some nice trot work and was able to ask for more as we went along, half halting and rebalancing as needed with good cooperation on Tuck's part. Then I moved into canter and quickly realized that when we were on the left rein, I actually did not have control of his right shoulder. Essentially going around the short end of the ring, he would drift out slightly to the right both front and back.
When I tapped his right shoulder to push it over, on came the little tantrum. Nothing big, but a definite resentment of the correction. Riding more off the outside rein brought the shoulder around and kept the hind end correctly to the inside, but I lost the bend to the left.
I decided then to do some suppling circles to the left, concentrating on keeping control of the right side with my leg and rein until he understood that he actually could bring his shoulder around with his head/neck flexed to the left.
Interestingly enough, Tucker's left lead canter feels much "lighter" in front and he seems to carry himself better. The right lead is a little more awkward and likely to fall towards the forehand. I may need to spend some time on right lead counter canter to help him learn to carry himself better on the right rein, but I will save that for later when I know his muscles are getting more regular exercise to protect his stifle and hock.
Tuck was pretty determined after we stopped working on going out for a hack in the woods so I walked him out on a very short loop on the trail. He seemed quite happy and came back with a mouthful of winter greenery to chew on.