Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Barrels for transitions

Had a flat lesson tonight. The big thing was about collection and transitions. But also keeping it "fun" because every other lesson we've done for the past several weeks we've really worked hard and we didn't want me or Kieran to get ring sour. ;)

So anyway, Jessica had a line of cones to weave through on one side of the ring and then also had set up the three barrels in barrel racing configuration. So we started by talking about there are three places when going around the barrel we'd have to half halt to make it around without going too wide or hitting the barrel. The first is a stride or two away when you're coming in to tell the horse to get back on its butt, the second is as you get to the barrel to get him ready to make the turn around, and the last is to balance him coming out of the barrel about halfway around, basically.

So we did the whole pattern at a walk, first and instead of half halting, she had us halt three times around each barrel (what was funny was how Kieran was totally power walking between the barrels without much prompting on my part. No trudging tonight!). Then she had us trot in, go down to a walk around the barrel, trot to the next one, walk around, and so on. Then we had to trot all the way around with the half halts at the appropriate spots.

Then we took a little mental break and did the cones, which were just close enough that to weave through them, he couldn't just trot through like a maniac (by that time, all the extended trotting between the barrels and running for home had him a little excited, hah), he had to really get back on his but and give me a nice collected trot. Then we let him relax with some free walking and went back to the barrels, this time cantering up to the first one, slowing down to a trot around it, extended trot to the next one, collected trot around it, letting him canter to the last, trot around, then canter for home.

That was way more difficult, really, because we've (I've) been lax on schooling him in good downward transitions from the canter. I mean, going down to trot is okay but it's usually a little strung out for a stride or two, which wouldn't work for this exercise.

But after we'd done that reasonably well but not great, we switched gears and just schooled downward transitions a bit for each direction before we went back and did the barrel pattern one more time and then we could cool out.

But not before I asked Kieran on a turn on the forehand and he did it perfectly like, his left front didn't move an inch from where it was on the ground and he actually pivoted completely around it. That was the best note we could've ended on really because it's the first time he's done it without shifting at least a bit. Then lots of walking to cool out and a quick spritz with the hose to get the sweat off and some carrot stretches. He then proceeded to immediately go roll when I put him out in the field. I wasn't surprised. :)

Anyway, it made for a good horsey evening.

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