Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lines Between the Lightning

Or After the Thunder

The timing of the weather fronts is really frustrating. A thunderstorm came through before dark, and at the time I was going to work the horses. I went out to close off the pasture and encourage them to come into the barn for some alfalfa cubes.

About 45 minutes later, the rain stopped, so I went back out to longline Tucker. I felt he needed to do some really round, submissive work.

I started him off on a small circle around me, using the lunge whip to encourage him to engage his hind end. Wow! We had about 4 circuits of really upper level, collected trot. I didn't press for more of that and let him out on the large circle first to stretch a bit for a warm up and then to work into the frame.

At first it was pretty good, but then he started to swing his hind end out instead of tracking under his body. This is a relatively new evasion, so I dropped the outside rein to the lower ring of the surcingle and took it around his hind end to get some lateral control and to keep encouraging those hind legs to step under.

Essentially, the session went well except for two issues. The first was Chance's and Toby's shenanagins in the adjacent paddock. They were goofing around and periodically took off in a made gallop which sent Tucker off into a mad gallop until I could get him back under control.

The second issue is a chronic one I haven't quite figured out how to solve. When Tuck submits to the reins he tends to overbend. Sometimes, he drops quite low. I can generally kind of snap him back up with a correction on the outside rein, but that doesn't always hold and he will overbend again. When he is up and correct, he really looks wonderful and uses himself well. When he overflexes, he is still using himself, but I think he's acutally dropped a little on his forehand or is not really "through" to the bit.

Still, since I do not work him in that frame for more than a few minutes at a time, it is kind of OK. It actually does supple him and work the muscles he needs to develop, so it's not really detrimental. I would, though, just like to see him more consistently work in a more correct, vertical frame.

Again, the mosquitoes came out in force--may have to call the Mosquito Control guy to get some spraying done soon--so I left the other two Boys to their carrots and came back in to report.

At least the day was cool and it seems we will be having similar temperatures for at least a few more days.

Gabriel may be coming on Saturday, so I could have a lesson. Not sure yet, but I am hoping. I really enjoy working with him.


  1. interesting about the overbending - was watching molly do precisely that same thing tonight ... (haven't written mine up yet ...)

  2. There are now a lot of trainers who will tell you that he should be in that frame all the time except when you are competing Jean. I don't agree with them, but as long as he is really using himself I probably wouldn't worry about a few minutes.