Today was a nice ride of epic proportions :)
I wore my breeches and tall socks with winter boots at class and on campus all day. I swear, breeches=so comfy=live in all day. I don't know why it is underlining my type...I can't get it to stop. Pout. Anways, went stright from class to the barn. It was a great feeling to finally get there with enough light in the day to not feel blah.
The goal for the day was relaxation and throughness through his back with well executed transitions.
I had to snap this picture, he looks so ridiculously (cute) I couldn't resist. What face is that :P?
The boots I use on a regular basis, remember my boot post?
So, to recap the extraordinary ride.
I began with no lunging, since I had limited time to spare (extra amounts of homework...I just pumped out a tough paper in less than 2 hours, did my spanish HW and studied for the exam tomorrow, and did my lab for comm class...but I still feel guilty for even posting this tonight...). Stretchy walky began the ride, along with some stretchy trots and limbering lateral work both directions. He was SO relaxed and so willing to seek contact I was like 9's in dressage here I come! I could not believe the overstep we achieved and how swingy his back was.
I tried new things tonight that really helped and began to cement some cues for us.
Firstly, I used a heavier outside rein, meaning extra contact, not pulling, but soft, direct contact and a lighter inside, half halting when appropriate, rein. I felt I really had a hold of his mouth but it was great because....he LOVED it. He really just clicked tonight, like holy-hell-this-is-what-you-have-been-teaching-me-for-five-years-now. And DAMN did he connect, I felt like I actually had a solid dressage horse under me. I didn't feel he was sucked back in the bit and trotting up and down or walking up and down but reaaaaaally WTC through his back, and back into my hands. I felt like I had SOMETHING. Not a wavering little OTTB who couldn't engage and be really into the contact. Wonderful feeling indeed :) The half halts were perfectly executed when I felt he needed a little more support. It was just lovely. Everytime I asked him to seek contact, he did.
Secondly I wanted to work on our transitions. Our canter departure had been extra sticky lately, and I figured out why by accident about 2 weeks ago but since I gave him time off, this was the first time I had the chance to try it out. I had been going about asking him all wrong. I used outside leg pressure and inside leg bend...and EVERYTIME he would buck or tense and come above the bit...he always would resettle but the transitions were...shit. Unacceptable. So, by accident, I discovered I was doing too much. WAAAy to much for his liking. In trying to fix a problem, I was creating one. All he wants (and needs) is my leg to move back, too many signals were frusutrating him and creating more crookedness... Simple as that, no pressure, no rein change, no seat change. Curious, since I trained him with all those cues but I am guessing since he is no longer a hyper naive racehorsey crazyface he doe snot need all those cues to help him canter. He knows, by years of repition that leg back means canter. A-DOI. That was retarded on my part. Us riders are so stupid sometimes.
Thirdly, I tried a new way to ask for sidepass. Since he was liking the solid contact on the outside rein, I decided to try this concept with lateral movement. Since he likes that pressure, why not 'change rein' right before asking for sidepass and then ask. Like If I am traveling counterclockwise, and I want to sidepass left, i switch rein from Right outside to Left 'outside' and half halt the new inside rein slightly. He completely understood this way better than keeping the initial inside rein. Hard to explain unless you see it or feel it in action, but he went "OH YEAH, I CAN SIDEPASS ALL SEXY LIKE". It was great!
The only bad part of the lesson is when barn worker began cleaning off the drive to the manure spreader (FINALLY!) which is right outside the arena. Yanks did not appreciate the loud scraping sounds of death that screeched nasty devil whispers to my little yankee ears. It apparently freaked him out a little and he went galloping, snorting, crow hopping across the arena in the opposite direction. Almost unseated me since he rarely spooks at anything besides imaginary ghosty goblins in the woods. HAHA. He settled after that initial spook but was still a little wary and not totally soft the rest of the time so I got a nice stretchy trot and called it a day.
Looks liek time off was the right idea :D
Our XC colors! This is his undersheet,, since it is approx. 0 degrees tonight.
This weekend 50s though....it can't be...