Saturday, May 19, 2012

Curb-Bit Progress

I put a whole ride on Spots by myself last night.  I realized how long it'd been when I got out all the tack and stood there going, "I know I'm forgetting something..."  and then remembered BRUSHES.  And I just went, Wow. It's been a long time since I tacked up the horse, lol.  Usually I get home from work to watch Annie ride him for a bit before she trades me for watching Des and I hope on for 15 minutes.  I am quite spoiled!

Anyway, Spots' feet were chipping because he's been getting ridden a lot and he's about due for a trim, but I couldn't get the farrier out yet so I went and bought a rasp and did the edges myself. He kept looking at me like I clearly didn't know what I was doing.  I had sweat pouring down my face and back.  Luckily his feet were long, just chippy, so I didn't need nippers and it wasn't a difficult job. I haven't rasped hooves in a few years and after the first foot I remembered why I pay someone else to do this!

Next, I tacked up in my Dressage tack and hopped on.  We walk/trot/cantered and he was pretty good.  I could tell a difference between my dressage bit and the western snaffle we've been riding in.  Both are snaffles, but with different mouth types.  After we had done some work on the bit, I switched the bridle to my favorite curb; a 3-piece mouth with jointed shanks.  He'd never worn it before but I had a feeling he would like it better than the grazing curb I had practiced in with him the other day.  We walked off and right away he dropped his head down and walked out nice.  We practiced steering neck-reining and he...did!  He turned off my leg and a couple times got confused and I would just bump him again to reinforce the rein and he would get it and turn.  he stopped nice, backed with his head down, we even went walk/trot/canter.

I held the reins in both hands and worked on bringing up his inside shoulder and asking him to move in and out on the circle.  He was right with me. Then I started asking for canter transitions.  It took us a couple circles to get on the same page, then he started taking the cue right off and we got several nice circles both directions on the correct lead.  If he takes the wrong lead, I can bump him again with my outside leg and he'll switch.  Next, we cantered down the long side and stopped at the fence.  We've never down that before and he wasn't expecting it. I turned him sideways and asked him to lope, then stop at the long-side fence.  Then we walked back to the our circle at the arena entrance.  He wanted to canter more, so we walked and jogged.  We steered around the barrels for awhile.

Lastly, we practiced side-pass, haunch turn, forehand turn, and steering while backing.  It took a little bit to get on the same page with the curb bit, but we got there and he was doing great.

It's pretty cool because we're finally at the place where I can get on him and think, "I want to canter", and we canter.  "I want to move left", we he moves to the left.  I can just get on him and ride.  We can go someplace, and sure I still lunge him if there's commotion, but then I get on and ride.  On our trail-ride I didn't lunge, I just put him around me on the lead-rope a few times and hopped on.

I think he's broke!

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