Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lesson 13: Riding Between the Legs

Perhaps it was because it was our 13th lesson or a weather change or the fact that I have only ridden once in the last week, but Louie was BAD tonight.  Just didn't want to do the work, shying at lots of things, and being all sorts of creative in ways to get out of doing what we wanted him to do- which were very simple things. 

We started out walking a 10 meter circle with a slightly exaggerated bend.  Louie decided he couldn't do this without throwing his hind end out of the circle.  As soon as I then used my outside leg back to bring the hindquarters in, he just piaffed instead of getting his hind legs engaged. 

He was wound up, would not relax his neck, and felt very very tight in his back the entire ride.  Julie hopped on for a few minutes and while she got a little better bending out of him, he was disengaged for her as well, taking baby steps with his hind feet and not reaching under his body to support himself. 

We worked on a concept of staying between my legs, meaning, no fishtailing and shooting off laterally when I am not asking for it.  He needs to go where I ask him to go and NOT invent his own ideas.  Basically we had to have a few breakdowns where Louie had to have a refresher on the fact that my legs exist and learning what they mean, then we got back to business again. 

He was also not sensitive to Julie's aids/cues to trot from the walk or mine to canter from the trot.  So, once again that is my homework for the week.  I'm also going to work on just working his little butt and being the alpha mare, changing things up and making him think.  I'd like to throw in a few cavaletti and a drive over the weekend.  Maybe even a hack down the road to change things up.  He seems frustrated. 

One good note though- our half halts were MUCH more effective, Julie was very happy with our half halts, and he really really understands and gets the use of the core to slow down (when he chooses to listen to it).   I just have to somehow make him understand the concept of bringing his hind end under him! 

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