Steele is a highly intelligent horse. This has made training challenging.
I find myself constantly trying to balance challenge with his developmental level. I need to keep it challenging but not over tax his growing joints. It would be easy to pile more and more work on him and I think that he'd take it but I don't want to do that. In the long run that will have a negative effect.
So I try to find ways to challenge him mentally while keeping the physical demands at the right level. Am I succeeding? I hope so.
I certainly know when I've lost his attention- he tunes into what's going on outside the ring and finds ways to make it interesting.
Oh my god, there must be trolls in the waving grass. Hey, what's Ed up to? Irish, stop eating all that grass!
Things like that. One thing I love about riding in a full size dressage ring is that I can really play with geometry. I find I can't repeat the same exercise too many times or his brain starts to wander. So I try sequences of exercises. This seems to be working. For example:
1. circle at A
2. change rein from K-M.
3. circle at C.
4. change rein from H to F
5. A-C 3 loop serpentine
6. Walk at C
7. M-X-F loop with long rein
I mix up my diagonals so he doesn't think that we only cross one way so I do M-E, M-V, M-K.
Another new piece I've added in is not always lunging before our rides now. I realized at the show that lunging is not always feasible so he needs to learn that sometimes I just hop on. I plan to mix it up when I lunge and when I don't.
I do try to stay tuned in to him so that I know when he's feeling overwhelmed and when he's feeling challenged but it's okay.
Last weekend I was riding by myself and it was going really well. When we finished I opened the gate from his back and we rode down to the barn. And then past the barn to the end of the driveway. That felt good so went across the bottom of the field. He felt a little alert but not worried so I decided that we would do the path that is between the fields and the woods. This makes a loop around the whole field. He was really good about it. And I told him so. We rode all the way up to the top and ended up back at the ring. I could feel him thinking 'hey, how'd we get back here?'
Irish was watching on high alert as we came up to the top of the field.
I dismounted feeling pretty pleased with the both of us. That was our first solo hack.
|not how we did the hack. :)|