Thursday, December 23, 2010

in sync

I need to catch up on what has been happening in my horse world.
Monday, I worked with Buddy. I worked him on the ground as I always do. He does good, responds easily and softly to my requests. I got on his back and wanted to just work on his legs becoming mine. So we repetitiously worked on getting his hip to move over and his front end whenever I put my leg on him. I want him to do it with straightness as much as possible to. I also don't want him to speed up when I add my leg. He is making progress, I must say. He is a little heavy on the front end but yields his hindquarters pretty good. And really it is more me being consistent with my cues. I have been reading Xenophon's "On horsemanship" and he writes that a man should start with an agenda of what he wants to accomplish so that he can determine if and when he gets there with his horse. So that is what I am doing with him and with my own horse or any horse I work with. So Buddy has made a lot of progress, but has a long way to go. An hour 2x a week is not much time to get much done. I have him stopping better without using the rein too. My goal with him is to get him to stop raising his head whenever I pick up a rein, but instead to keep it steady, low and yielding to my feel.
I also have had the opportunity to ride Raven over the last two days. The footing is icey and choppy so we haven't been doing any trotting or cantering. Yet, it has afforded me the opportunity to just work on riding in sync with her. I have been practicing moving my arms with her front legs and my hips with her hind legs. By paying real close attention to when she is picking up a foot I can then ask for her to move it over or speed up at the right time. Thus, by being more in sync between my body and her body we are better able to move as one. Right now I can consistently get her to turn either way, stop, backup, yield her hindquarters, move her shoulders, do a circle, turn on the forehand, spin, etc. all without using a rein. Once in a while I have to use a rein to support her as to what I am asking, but what I am doing is trying to refine down the cues with my body and feel so that I can turn her just by looking and so on. So we haven't rode a long time each day, but we have accomplished a bunch in that short time.
Well that is my update for now. I ride Buddy again tomorrow and we will go from there.

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