Sunday, May 6, 2012

Firsts! Lunge-lesson and CANTER!

Yesterday we had a very horsey day. First, I arrived home from town to see a 12 yr old riding SPOTS in a lunge-line lesson. They were jogging around and around in a circle and Spots was completely at ease with this beginner on his back, bouncing and holding onto the horn once in a while. By the end of their lesson, he was balancing much better, his seat was better, he wasn't holding onto the horn. He had a great time on Spots and Spots seemed relaxed and not at all nervous with his new rider. Next, I got on him with my plain-jane curb-bit for a session on neck-reining. We working on turning, stopping, backing, then weaving a line of barrels to put it all together. He still isn't neck-reining 100%, but it's starting to make sense to him. Especially with my leg aids, he usually turns with the neck-reining, sometimes he still gets stuck and I have to direct rein him a moment and then he's on track again. He was in a curb-bit for the first time a couple weeks ago and we just walked and trotted, didn't really work on turning yet. So, really this was his first training session on it. I was really happy with the progress we made. I didn't want to drill him on it, so we did about 10 or 15 minutes and then I switched him back to the snaffle bridle to do something else. After out curb-bit session I worked on cantering. We have only started working on it in last few weeks, so this was the longest cantering session we've ever done. He was able to hold canter for about 4 circles, which is awesome for him. He was cantering closer to when I asked him and staying in it better. We worked on getting the correct lead and I figured out when I quit paying attention to HIM and paid more attention to my body position he was able to get the correct lead. After I figured that out, he started getting the correct lead pretty much every time I asked and if he did take the wrong lead,I could bump him with my outside leg and he would change leads.
I am SOOO sore. Apparently cantering works some different muscles than trotting. I haven't cantered much since having Desmond, and it shows! I hurt all over. But it was SOO much fun. He has such a smooth canter. After we finished riding and let him chill while Annie gave rides to kiddos, I worked on loading in Annie's 2-horse straight load. They had tried to load him in it once last fall, but hadn't really gotten anywhere with it. This time, I did it myself and it was evident how much he has matured since last year. He was calm, and thoughtful, continued to make attempts to step in and we had him loading and unloading easily within 10 minutes. I kept asking him in and backing him out and by the time we finished I could stay outside the trailer, throw the rope over his back, and say "Load up", and he'd load himself. I'm so proud of him! One more skill to add to his growing list!

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