Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poles and other fun things

Lesson tonight!

After warming up, started out with lots of trotting. I was complaining to Christina about how he drifts in and cuts corners and doesn't seem to listen to my leg when I try pushing him with it though in other contexts he understands leg pressure means move over (like when we did the backing up exercise and I had to move his butt around, or when we've done turns on the forehand, or the bits of sidepassing we've worked at and so on). I can't decide if he just doesn't understand in the "going on the rail" context that inside leg pushing him means "move away from pressure nao plzkthx" or if he's just being lazy.

Really, it's probably the latter combined with the fact that I've been pretty inconsistent about really making him go deep in the corners (especially if I'm concentrating on other things at the time) so he doesn't feel like he "has" to. Anyway, we worked on it for a while but he was still cutting corners and Christina said from the ground it looked like I was doing the right things so she got on to see what it feels like and how he responds.

1. She commented on how much of a workout it can be to keep him moving/get him moving. ;)
2. She rode him around the ring and the started riding him, basically, straight at the wall in the corner, stopping just before he'd "hit" it, then turning him into the wall and going back the other way. Basically, so he'd have to listen to what she was telling him to do and where to go instead of just going on autopilot around the corners.

The conclusion is that for a while, I'll have to be really conscious of not just going around on the rail and when I do, I have to really think about taking him deep into the corners. Otherwise, I can do the sort of thing she did, stopping, turning in to the rail and going back the other way. Also, if I want to do circles, probably better to do them in the middle of the ring rather than on the ends (since a 20 meter circle on the end is basically cutting the corners off).

I got back on, went around a couple more times and when he was not leaning on me as much as before, we called it quits to that particular part of the lesson (partly because I was getting tired of working so hard pushing him around and keeping him moving and partly because we didn't want to repeat the exercise too much where he just got irritated about it).

After that, Christina set out trotting poles and we went trotting over them on one side of the ring, then she set up more on the other side. Then one side was just trot poles and the other was a very very tiny crossrail (like...6 inches). Then after he was trotting over that without hitting it, she raised it to be a vertical (so probably like 9ish inches high? I don't know, it was higher *shrugs*). Then she added in a cavaletto in the center of the ring on the diagonal. (most of the trot poles were being used to make the "jump" and one each was in front of the "jump" and the cavaletto. One pole was left out of the original trot pole group so basically, the ring looked like:

| __           
| |--|            x                  ___
| __         x//

Where the thing on the left was the vertical, the x's in the middle are supposed to be the cavalletto, and the lines are just poles.

Then, finally, she raised the "jump" again so it was another crossrail but this time about a foot high. Once he went over it both directions without knocking it over (only did that once), we called it a night and I cooled him out. He's not really been exposed to jumping, so it was just really good he was paying attention and picking his feet up (instead of bulling through the jump as he has done in the past). He actually seemed to like it and a couple times I could feel him kind of picking himself up...not jumping really, but kind of raising his shoulders as he trotted over.

Christina also pointed out the times he'd hit the jump (not knock it over so much, but not lift himself enough so he'd get over without hitting it) even though I was in two point and had my eyes shoulders and chin were pointed down. She pointed out the last couple of times that he did really well, I had not only my eyes up and looking ahead but my chin up and my shoulders back and that really helped him be able to trot over it nicely.

Oh, and he stood completely still for mounting without my hands ever touching the reins till I was read to go. :)

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