Sunday, January 16, 2011

Exercises in the round

Today ended up focusing mostly on "reprogramming" Kieran to not think that he can come into the middle of the ring and not work.

Okay, lemme back up.

My saddle is currently with the saddle fitter lady getting the billets fiddled with. So I started the lesson in a borrowed treeless (English style) saddle. I'd ridden in it before (not long after I got Kieran actually) and thought it would do okay, kept slipping over to the right. We tried having me ride in it with stirrups, without stirrups, checked the girth...wasn't working. I even know [i]I[/i] was sitting straight because my butt wasn't following the saddle over to the right.

So we switched out for a treed saddle (Thornhill Pro-Am) and got back to work. It felt rather weird after being used to riding in my Duett all this time!

Anyway, what we ended up doing, I don't think was what Christina had started the lesson intending having me do but [i]someone[/i] was not riding nicely on the rail. I know I've talked about having issues with this before but today it was like...I was doing everything right (inside leg, not pulling too much with outside rein, etc etc) and he was still just steadily going inward. So we talked about it and decided that today, he'd have to work on the inside track and he'd only get to rest on the rail.

Christina set up a big circle of things for Kieran to trot over in the middleish area of the ring. So like, a pole at 12o'clock, another one at 1:30. A low pole set up on blocks at 3. Another ground pole at 4:30. A low vertical (barely deserving of the name...became a crossrail later, but the middle was the same height as the vertical had been) at 6. Another pole at 7:30, a medium-height cavalletti at 9, and another pole at 10:30.

So she had me walk him on the rail, then bring him to the inside track and start trotting over all the poles and things. Then, when she wanted to adjust something (like when he knocked the rail on the jump or whatever), we'd go walk on the rail. Then we'd come back in and trot over stuff again. At one point, he figured out it was a bit easier to actually jump over the jump at 6 and we got a little hop out of him which was funny (I hadn't been expecting it, since we'd been just trotting over it previously). Christina had me mostly do it all posting, but we went around a couple times with me in two point (and I commented that it's easier to do in a saddle intended for that) or posting, then going up into two point over the "jumps" and a couple times around with no stirrups (but still posting!).

By the end of the lesson, Kieran was walking pretty nicely on a loose rein straight on the rail without too much encouragement from me. He's a smart horse. ;)

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