Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Progress

Okay, so the other day, we decided to ask Kieran for a canter again. You might remember that a while back (at least a month ago, maybe a month and a half) we decided to back off of asking for a canter because he didn't really seem to be ready yet.

Now, I won't say what he did was beautiful and it did take a couple tries, but it was still much easier for him (and me!) to get it when we did and he did give me a nice, balanced, slow canter. Good boy!

Then last night, Christine showed me how to ground drive him and he took to that like he'd been doing it his entire life. Eventually, I would like her to help me teach him to actually drive, if only so he has another "life skill" in his repertoire.

And tonight was my actual lesson. Christina asked me what I wanted to work on and I said I wanted to work on the movement from the Intro B test where you go from like, K -> X -> H (instead of all the way across the diagonal) or F -> X -> M. So we did that at a walk and a trot till it started to look like he was anticipating the turns. Mostly to get me focusing on when and where I need to cue for the turn and get him doing it more snappily. I have a habit of cueing too early, especially at K for some reason (for a lot of things, I don't know what it is about that particular corner). We did a bit of free walk, which was much better than before. And I also said I wanted to work on transitions with him because while he slows/stops with the best of them, generally, getting those upward transitions isn't as easy. One thing that was a bit difficult for me was when Christina had me trot in to a corner (Say...F) and make the turn as if I'm going across the diagonal but do that at a free walk. So I would want to cue for the walk after he finished turning but for what she was wanting to see me do, that was too late and he'd be a couple of strides into the diagonal before downshifting. So the idea was more that I needed to half halt about the time his nose got to the letter, start turning, and when his shoulder is passing it then ask for a walk.

And then I said wanted to canter again. I won't say it's pretty, because it isn't, and I still need to remember he needs more rein going into the canter than a horse that's already schooled for it (but recent lessons on the lunge and exercises where I have to drop the reins have helped me feel better about giving more to him so he can move up to that gait) but we got a few strides twice going each direction and not as much of the fast choppy trot as before. Christina said that we can work on keeping him in the canter later anyway, the important thing now is to get across to him the cue for it so he picks it up more reliably. :)

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how he's progressing.

He was also much more attentive to my leg tonight (as far as listening when I push him back toward the rail) so that's cool too.

I'm also planning on taking dressage lessons with a local dressage instructor once or twice a month on one of her horses. I think it'll help me both to get someone else's perspective on my riding, and to be able to learn some of this stuff on a horse that already knows what it's doing so I know how it's supposed to feel when Kieran does it right. :)

1 comment:

SprinklerBandit said...

Sounds like a good lesson and a good plan. When you know what your issues are, it's far easier to work on them.