Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lesson 19: Stretch

Tonight we worked again preparing for the clinic tomorrow and the show this weekend.  We worked primarily on getting Louie to stretch his neck down.  To do this, I slow him down, use my legs and core, and ask for more bend, sometimes "fishing" and extending a lure (the rein) for him to reach for (lengthen the rein slightly and ask him to reach out for it).  It helps to bend him slightly to the outside, then the inside if he doesn't go just off of the inside leg and rein alone.  By the end we got some nice stretchy circles, and as usual, some nice free walks.  One tip with the free walk- lean back just a bit, it seems to encourage him to stretch down further. 

We ran through a couple of the tests and once again, Julie really liked our "loop."  We need to work on keeping him in the left lead canter, so I'm going to probably need to lay my whip on him a few times during the left lead canter to keep him going.  He is surprisingly lazy and likes to break out of the canter more than he used to.

Two other things that Julie wants me to really work on are to grip with my thighs and calves, rather than my knees and feet- and Julie thinks we need more thigh.  The second is to avoid bending my wrists (I have a tendency to ulnar deviate my wrists despite my wrist braces), and I end up bringing my pinkie finger further back than it should be.  The 4th/5th fingers always need to be closest to the bit, never contracted/curled under.  I also need to bend more with my elbows as I seem to lengthen and shorten my reins from the wrists and shoulders. 

Well, I'm very excited for the Bill Woods clinic tomorrow, I have been planning out our outfit for that and the show, trying to make sure we look as nice and professional as possible!  I should have an update in the next couple of days!

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