Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making Progress!

Louie did great tonight! After our normal walk/trot warm up, I asked him first for a left lead canter and he took it beautifully (granted a little startled by my kiss cue, but he picked it up from a walk really nicely and NO bucking!). We went about a lap, praised like crazy, then went on doing some more walk/trot work.

Just to test the waters a little bit, I later set him up, half-halt, shift, bend, and cued him for a right lead and much to my suprise, he picked it up beautifully, no bucking or kicking, and stayed in it about one lap (I have to kindof keep clucking/kissing every few strides to keep him going) before I asked him to stop. Lots of praise again, and the permagrin plastered on my face as I was gasping for breath after sprinting a lap around the arena with him. I was totally shocked that he took both leads so nicely!

We continued on for a little bit more walking and trotting, working on our jog trot (which by the way is coming along really nicely!) and I thought I'd try the right lead one more time at the end of the lesson to see if he could do it again. Granted I was really pushing my luck, but I set him up and asked him for the right lead one last time. And right off the bat, he took it again! As I was running, breathing, and yelling "good boy!" he broke down to a trot (I didn't get my reminder cluck in quick enough lol), so I quick re-cued him and he got his right lead again, this time with one little kick. I let that slide as it was far less violent than what he has done in the past and he continued on his right lead really nicely. We went about half a lap and I stopped him, praised him like crazy, and we called it a night. Yay!!

Now I know next time may be a totally different story, he might not continue progressing as he has, but I really truly believe that this method is working and he is starting to get it. I think by being able to shift his haunches and tip his nose toward the rail, it's really opening up his shoulder and he's starting to get what I want from him and taking his right lead MUCH more easily and willingly. For such a smart horse, I'm honestly suprised it's taken him so long to figure this right lead thing out, but I think he *might* be finally catching on. Keeping my fingers crossed that he keeps progressing!


  1. Funny! Savy and I just started working on Walk/canter transitions. You are much farther of course...sounds like Louie is doing very well. Can't wait to hear more:)

  2. Oh that is such good news! So happy that it might finally be clicking for him. All of this ground work is really going to help once you get back in the saddle.
    And you will be in good enough shape to run a half-marathon, too, LOL! ;)