Sunday, November 14, 2010

My horse canters circles around your horse!

Today's lesson, we warmed up with some serpentines (both walking and trotting and the trotting I had to do posting without stirrups. Ow.) Then we did trotting around the rail but doing 10 meter circles in the corners (sitting the circles, posting along the wall, still without stirrups).

Then we worked on going over the intro A and B dressage tests (the old ones, not the new ones) as we'll be showing in them this coming Saturday. Mostly that involved us riding around and Christina calling out the movements whenever she felt like it (as opposed to doing the tests straight through over and over). We did run through each test once in full, though.

I continually have to remind myself (or be reminded) that if I pull on his head with my outside rein, it doesn't actually help (as he braces against the pressure and tries even harder to fall inward) but if I just keep a steady, light contact and "bump bump bump" with the outside rein AND not forget to keep light contact with the inside rein, he goes pretty straight and where I want him to go.

Near the end of the lesson, we also did some cantering, basically, cantering all the way around the ring once, then continuing to do a 20 meter circle at B or E still cantering. And as long as I kept weight in my outside stirrup and kept my inside shoulder back, Kieran did really really well. I'm very proud of him. We'll probably start working on the new canter movement for the intro C test soon (basically: go into a 20 meter circle at A or C [I forget which] at a trot, cue for the canter, and before you come out of the circle, go back down to a trot) as so far, we've really only asked him to start cantering [i]then[/i] go into a turn or a circle, but not canter while already having started the circle.

Also had a nice ride yesterday on my own. Mostly we rode around the farm and in the woods and did some cantering up hills and some trotting on not perfectly even ground (one of the driveways along the barn and arena). Then we went back into the arena and I convinced him to chase the horse soccer ball around a bit. He still doesn't really get that it's supposed to be a game, but he humors me. ;)

In non-riding-training news, I did some work with Kieran today on accepting the presence of the clippers (for everything else he's so unflappable about, the fact that he doesn't go for the clippers [even sedated] is a little odd. Or funny, I haven't decided which. Maybe both). I took him into the round pen so we'd have a relatively open space that was still enclosed in case he got away from me, two pockets full of treats, and my little battery operated clippers. First I just worked on getting him to stand still with the clippers buzzing near his face. We had quite a bit of him walking in circles around me but if he'd stop and stand, I'd cut the clippers off and treat him. Once he was doing that relatively reliably (if snorting and giving me the hairy eyeball still a bit), we progressed to him letting the non-blade part touch him while on. If he'd stand for that, I'd cut them off and treat him. A couple times I treated him while the clippers were still running (see? you can get good things even when the evil nasty clippers are on!). Finally, I got him to tolerate the blade end (he can tell the difference) of the clippers touching him and we pretty much let it end there.

All in all, we probably weren't at it more than ten or fifteen minutes. He still doesn't trust them, but he didn't continually jerk his head away when they touched him (what he tried to do when I tried to clip his goat hairs before a show a while back) so I figure a few more treats sessions and me not acting like there's anything to be afraid of, and he'll settle right in to it.

Anyone have any suggestions on anything else I should have done?

1 comment:

Carol said...

So nice to find another blog which talks about dressage. I love your horse - he's very pretty :)