dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Working on First Level

I've not been riding with the same intensity as I had been earlier this year. I am actually okay with that. Work is busy and I have a rather large, sometimes goofy, puppy to train.

yes, I took Guinness to a local brewery. We both approved of the Jesus Murphy Red
In my rides I start off seeing where she's at in terms of suppleness, attention and tension. And then from there I figure out the warm up. Sometimes it's for her body to get it relaxed and flowing.

Sometimes it's for her brain to get her focus on me. Sometimes that discussion takes a long time. Sometimes I have to be really firm with it.

But I refuse to end the ride until I get to work on some piece of first level. And this is not about being driven (although heaven knows I can be that). It's about not making the ride about being ridden. We've been there and done that. Carmen can be reactive. And, frankly, sometimes it seems to me that she looks for things to spook at. It's not unusual to hear me say 'uh-uh' when I can feel her planning to duck. She's learning that I will follow that up if she escalates and is actually responding to just the verbal (so yay, progress).

Things that we are working on are trot-halt-trot, lengthens (those are hard but are getting easier). I do baby counter-canters (to quarter line and back). Those are not hard for her at all. Cantering into the corner is a whole 'nother deal.  Simple changes through trot are old hat and she barely registers them. Leg yields are 'okay'. The straightness part is the problem- it's so easy for me to get her crooked.

It's fun to be working on First Level. I know she has so much talent and that the limiting factors are me and her tension. But we're on our way.

I'm sure as she's grazing she's thinking about how to improve her First Level moves. Right? 



20 comments:

  1. Guinness looks great, and I am happy to see him!

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  2. Hmmm, a little red for Carmen might go over okay too. I had several racehorses who loved beer, & one who would straight up STEAL a beer out of your hand if you were hanging around to close to his stall. He's chug it, then he'd SLING that empty down the shedrow. He got to be a track attraction, & I had to ensure that the cans were mostly empty before he got them. That horse sure did love him a barley-samich.

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    1. Maybe a pre-ride beer is just what we need...

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  3. Guinness has grown up so much. Very handsome man.

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  4. You’re doing great with her. I’m also slowing down around here. The winter clinics are all about the basics, but those basics can be quite complicated.

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  5. "not making the ride about being ridden" --> this is such a great way of putting it! and really, it's kinda amazing how much the whole "being ridden" problem can improve when we start actually doing more real work and the horse has to shift her focus to that instead of just being fussy. first level is so exciting too - it felt like such a breakthrough when izzy and i started working on that, and i can't wait to get back with charles!

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    1. I'm glad that it made sense to you! I'm not always good at keeping my mind focussed but I'm getting better.

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  6. Beautiful pasture photo. Straightness is so challenging. My coach last year made me put my inside hand on my head and ride squares with only outside hand, leg aids and inside rein flopping. It was shocking to see how suddenly straight my pony could be without my rogue inside hand messing things up!

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  7. Guinness looks so grown up! Val has been known to help himself to a cold one from the ice bucket - he loves him some malt beverages. It's a scramble to remove the bottle and open it before he does lol...

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    1. Maybe you could put a bottle opener in his stall?

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  8. Gorgeous photo! I think it's awesome you're actively working on first :) Herbie LOVES beer. All beer.

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  9. I really struggle with keeping my horses straight. Why can't we get points for crooked?!

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