Sunday, August 12, 2012


So tonight started out well enough. Did some walking, did some turning on the forehand, did some trotting with spiraling circles. No big deal, all stuff we've done before. The idea that Jessica wanted us to work on tonight was leg-yielding and really getting him to listen to where my leg said go so we could maneuver better. We worked on it first from a halt and getting him to step over along a pole but he was just getting frustrating either because I wasn't doing it right or he just wanted to go forward or back instead. But we did get some decent steps so then we did it at a walk. See the image of how things were set up?

The ground poles over on the left were two parallel with each other and then the one kind of diagonal as a guide. The idea was come in over one and leg yield a couple of steps over so you're going over the middle of the second one. He actually did this pretty well. Please note, btw, my diagram is totally not to scale, it just gives an idea of where everything was set up.

After that, Jessica let us choose whatever jumps we wanted to trot in over and do a few in whatever order we wanted. So like, we started I think with that 18" vertical down at the bottom, but then maybe we came around to the two low verticals next to the fence on the right. Or we'd do that vertical in the center (which was 18" up until the end of the lesson and our last exercise when Jessica raised it a bit) and then trot around to something else. Or we'd trot into the one stride and canter out. You get the idea. It made for a nice break and just letting Kieran do something he likes without asking too much out of him.

Unfortunately, two things then happened that made the lesson get more difficult. One. Jessica started asking us to do more difficult exercises (mentally, that is, and particularly for Mr. K to have to listen to me). And Two...we had someone else come in and ride at the same time. Which was okay, but it was a distraction and Kieran likes to use that as an excuse to bulge his shoulder and try to bull over toward the other horse.

Anyway, Jessica had us start trotting in and cantering the lines more  and then coming around to one of the other jumps instead of just cantering around along the fence. Well, Mr. K thought he didn't have to listen for the turning and that he could just run through everything like a doofus and completely ignore me. So we started doing canter circles because...well, typically in the past that helps bring his brain back to what he was supposed to be doing but...he just wanted to flip me off I guess. =P They weren't pretty circles at all and indeed at least once he was so focused on "I DO WHAT I WANT OKAY" that we almost ran right into the fence before he realized "hey, that rider up there might know something". It wasn't very pretty and really felt a lot like a teenagery tantrum.

Did finally get some decent canter circles and him listening again so then Jessica had us do this last exercise, emphasizing that for it to work I was going to have to really have good half halts and make sure K was with me the whole way because of the hard turn we'd have to make (and the idea being if we turned too wide, I'd have to leg yield his butt over so we'd still be straight to the last fence).

Looked like this:

The first time through wasn't pretty and I wasn't as prepared as I could be and we went too wide for that third fence and didn't make it. So we came back around again and this time we were...slightly discombobulated, but hey...we made it over? The one thing Jessica pointed out that happened really good there though was that Kieran wanted to kind of stick in a little half stride at the end and kind of hop over it with his legs all hangy (he's done it before, being lazy) but right when she saw him thinking about doing it, I pushed him over with my legs and a smack with the crop (I was just trying to encourage him to actually go over properly, I guess, hah) and he instead picked up both his feet nicely and jumped it properly.

Finally, we did it one last time and it went really well. He listened, and we didn't have to kind of motorcycle around the turn. I told Jessica we'd have done it better if I had started thinking about the turn as we were going over the second jump instead of as we landed from the second jump but I do have a bad habit of "okay, we landed, now where are we going?" instead of thinking about it as far ahead as I ought to. :|

Anyway, here are some pictures, they're all from the first part of the lesson.

That's what he does when he's pleased with himself, actually. I think this was right after he'd trotted over the 18" vertical in the center instead of jumping it. Lazy pony!

One of the new jump standards. Oh, and us cantering the long line along the fence.

Tomorrow's plan is just to go on a nice, relaxed, ride on the trails and let him decompress a bit. We've got another lesson scheduled for Tuesday and I hope we'll get it together then. :)

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