Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Exploding Cannon-Horse

I finally got to ride my horse again!

I have no riding photos from today, so enjoy just-Casey photos!
She has had 5 days off in a row due to her injury, so I was expecting true dramatics in our ride today, and indeed she did perform.

We started off with working on leg yielding at a walk and a stop. I basically just got her to the point where she would move her haunches both directions and then I called it quits. I didn't want to make her pissy right off the bat.

Me? Pissy? Never!
Then we moved on to basic trot work. Nothing too complicated, all I asked for was a reasonable speed and a slight bend. She was actually very responsive for this, and was super light in the bit. It's amazing to feel that, because Casey might have the hardest mouth out of any horse that I have ever ridden. When I first started working with her, she would literally pull on the bit at ALL times. It was constant, and incessant, and finally she is starting to learn that riding doesn't have to be that way. YAY!

Casey enjoying the nice weather

My current goal with Casey is to get her to be more responsive on course, so I set all of the jumps to ground poles and then we practiced working on adjustability on the lines. We went through the lines going away at a trot. First we just went through and Casey started pulling and tugging and trying to gallop over them. So I improvised. The next couple of times through the line, I made Casey trot in then circle until she got a perfectly balanced and composed trot and then I would let her continue to the next jump. 

Such a flirt
This seemed to really be making a difference, so after a few times doing that I decided to try something else new.  I asked Casey to halt in between jumps in a line. This is something that before would have been impossible. She would have just ran through my hands, but today, she decided to listen. It wasn't pretty, but we did it!

We then took a bit of a break from the ground poles to do some cantering. And Casey lost her freaking mind. It's like she mentally snapped after all of that hard thinking. She tried to transition from a trot to a canter by literally exploding up and forward into a buck/hop? So I asked her to go back to a trot and try again, but she exploded AGAIN! After a couple more explosions, she finally mellowed out.

Pretty eyes
After her temper tantrum, she totally got her head back in the game. We got a really nice controlled canter and so decided to try the ground poles at a canter. She initially went with her go-to jumping strategy - pure speed! But when I asked her to come back to me and collect, she was willing to do it and over the last line we got an amazing controlled canter over the ground pole. It was pretty perfect.

I ended my ride on that good note and then gave Casey plenty of cuddles and treats post-ride. The fact that she was able to do that shows me not only how much progress we have already made, but the potential that we have in the future.

Bending even on her own
Does anyone in the blogosphere have any advice on how to proceed from here? Anybody else working hard on getting more adjustability on course?

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