Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Ride With A New Tool

Tuesday evening I got home from town and Annie had just tacked Spots up. She hopped on him and he was paying more attention to the fact that the kids got there and got out Marigold then to her, so she threw the lunge line on him and lunged him a bit. He quickly settled down into his job and I ran and got my rings (running martingale). He has never worn them before and Annie wasn't sure she wanted to try them yet, but I felt like he was ready. I put them on and she lunged him in them. He's used to side-reins, so he was not concerned with the rings at all while lunging.

She hopped on and he was listening to her great this time. He tried popping his head up and diving his nose; the two things we've been working on squelching from his habits. He found to his annoyance, that neither thing is pleasant with rings. They walked in circle and stopped and turned and he tried to fight the rings a few minutes but the beauty of rings if the horse disciplines themselves so you don't have to be getting on their face. He finally stretched his neck way down and we cheered and Annie patted him. It had clicked, and he started dropping his head when he felt the rings.

I asked her to try trotting and she said, "Okay, but I'm not cantering in these". Within about 10 minutes they were cantering in them, getting some of the best transitions and uphill gaits he's ever had. He only took the wrong lead a couple times. Finally she said I had to feel thing and got down and handed me my horse. She went to go get her own.

By this time the kids had Marigold out and were loping her around the arena bareback. Spots was handling that great. I mounted up and started walking circles and moving him with my legs. I was able to just feather a finger on the reins and he'd give to the bit instead of challenging it. At the walk, he stretched down and relaxed. At the trot, his head was much, much more consistent, staying about level, sometimes dropping low. I gave him lots of praise for that. We got the nicest WP jog we've ever gotten. Half the speed of his walk, lead low, so nice. Then we cantered. We went into it easier, and I was able to just squeeze my outside rein and he gave to it and didn't lose his gait or pop a shoulder. We got the correct lead both ways, only got the wrong lead once and he flying changed to the correct one when I bumped him with my outside leg. I was ecstatic. I was squealing and cheering for him and I think the mother of the 4H kids though I was crazy. He took to the rings so quickly and receptively, I'm guessing he'll only be in them a few rides and he'll be able to maintain the consistency of his collection and head position without them. They really encouraged him to stretch and give, and at the canter to be more uphill and decisive in his movements. I had him backing beautifully, head low, weight back. So exciting. Annie was thrilled with the progress and I of course had to remind her she had not been sure about trying them.

Annie brought her horse in and he usually has to be lunged before riding, so she took him to the "B"-"E" circle and lunged him at the canter both directions.  Meanwhile, Marigold and her 4Hers were loping and trotting bareback all over the arena.  I wasn't sure how Spots would handle is all as he's not used to having all that commotion going on, he's usually the only horse in the arena.  He gave them some attention and I said, "Pay attention to me", and feathered my inside rein.  I had to remind him about 3 times and then he didn't forget anymore and we were able to continue trotting and cantering and he didn't get worried about Beau cantering.  I was really proud of him.

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