Sunday, May 25, 2008


On to Plan B

I wanted to take everyone on a hack, but when I took Toby out into the woods he was attacked by mosquitoes. He is pretty good about it, and tried to trot off, but he kept his wits about him and we took the shortest route home. I trotted and cantered him in the arena for another 5 or 10 minutes and called it a day with him.

Then I saddled up Tucker and went on to Plan B. I decided today to simply keep him in a balanced frame where he was not using my hand for support nor dropping onto his forehand. The walk was fine but when I halted, he went to his front end, so I did a reinback. That wasn't pretty as he had put all his weight on his front legs and gotten stuck in the wrong balance so he couldn't step back. Then, he didn't want to go forward. However, it wasn't much of an issue and once he figured out what I wanted, he was fine. Once we'd sorted out the walk/halt/walk, I pushed him into a very slow, cadenced trot and repeated the exercise I did at the walk. Trot, halt, reinback if he was on his forehand, trot, etc. Once we'd mastered the basics there, I did some canter with the same concept in mind. Tuck can almost canter on the spot, but on the downward transitions he still tends to drop on his forehand. Today, with the reinback exercise, he stayed pretty solid.

I will not do this with Tucker every day as the reinback can cause other problems of its own. It can mess up the halt as the horse will automatically step back, and it can discourage forwardness. However, once in a while as a training exercise, it really does set a horse back on his haunches if he tends to lean onto his forehand.

I then rode Chance, with the goal of simply having him keep his head down towards the bit for the entire ride. I decided as well, not to push him past his "concentration" or stamina point so that he would start to toss his head out of furstration. I was really pleased with him. Although his right turn still needs a strong leading right rein at times instead of working off the outside, left rein, he kept himself in a nice little, though sometimes erratic, frame on the bit without bringing his head up. The only little mess was when I asked for the left lead canter and he lurched into it instead of doing a decent depart.

Chance is, in general, taking the canter from a leg aid, so that's really good for a young horse. Today, I only rode him for, at most, fifteen minutes. Since nothing went wrong, and he tried for every stride, I have absolutely no complaints. He is coming along just fine.

1 comment:

  1. our bugs are a nightmare, aren't they Jean?