Friday, October 29, 2010

Soft as soft can be

That was Gwen last night, she seemed to really want to get out and do some work with me so instead of riding last night I paid some attention to my girl. We worked on disengaging her hip and stepping over with her inside hind. I used the sidepull and a little hand pressure on her barrel for this to simulate a little of what it would feel like for her if I were riding. I'm hoping that the hand pressure will translate to leg pressure so she's not surprised or annoyed by it. She's very light to hand pressure already so I'll need to be very careful to only use as much leg as I need with her while riding. It's good to figure this stuff out on the ground first.

I'm also building her "whoa." I put steady pressure on both reins and release when she starts to back up. This took a while at first, she didn't pull against me but she did spend some time thinking about it and trying to figure out what I was asking for. I was only looking for a weight shift back at first which I think helped her catch on a bit quicker. Once she caught onto that she started taking a whole step back even after I'd clicked and released the reins. Good girl! This is something I want her to be doing immediately when I put pressure on the reins. Safety first and all that.

Speaking of that, we also did some work with the mounting block. She's beginning to associate me standing on the block with being asked for head down, now she starts putting her head down while I'm stepping up on it. Perfect! That's just what I want. She was so soft and relaxed last night that I even starting swinging a leg up again, not over her but I did pick my leg up and rest my knee against her. She was perfectly fine with that. I think I could have actually gotten on her last night if I'd wanted to. My newly found sense of caution kept me on my own feet though, I definitely want someone else to be there when I get on her again. In the meantime, I'm going to up the ante on her a little. I bought a 35lb bag of cat litter to put on her back, we'll try it bareback first and then with a saddle later. I don't know if that will make much difference but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

I've been trying to get Coriander a little more comfortable with the show venue on Sunday. We went for a ride in the indoor again Wednesday and will do so again tonight. He was a little less comfortable in there on Wednesday, which I thought was odd considering there was only one other horse in there with us. I'll have to see how he does tonight. I do know that we need to do a ton more ring work at the trot, our steering seems to disappear once we get out of the walk. I don't really blame him though, trotting in the ring is something we haven't done a lot of. Before I moved them I could only ride him for 20 minutes at a time due to Gwen's meltdowns, therefore I never felt that I could get him fit enough to do much trotting. That's going to change now though! Poor Coriander has no idea that I have trotting, trotting, and more trotting planned for him.

Too bad daylight savings is right around the corner, all that darkness will put quite a dent in our training progress.


  1. Yay, Gwen!! So jealous that she didn't move when you were on the mounting block! We are still working on that...but it's getting better. :-) I am glad that you didn't try to get on her. Safety first. Good idea to get the kitty litter! What's your time-line to introduce her to the weight and then the weight with saddle??

    Coriander is going to be so fit with all this trotting. I actually like trotting and Gem doesn't mind it either. Looking forward to seeing some pictures of Sunday's big event! :-)

  2. Fortunately she doesn't have any bad memories tied to my step-stool mounting block. She wouldn't stand next to a green two-step mounting block after that one tipped on me and I fell on her. They really do have very good memories!

    The problem we have with trotting comes when I need to post and steer at the same time, which is worse if he's spooking at the door or wanting to follow the other horse(s) around. We just need time to work it out. Hopefully I'll be able to start with my new dressage trainer soon and she can help me figure out what I'm doing up there that might be screwing us up.

  3. Very nice work! Glad things are coming along so well.