Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1/17/09 Whoa Romeo, Lunge Lesson

Saddled Ransom western, and tied him to the paddock. Saddled Romeo English, and headed to the arena. Thinking he'd had a decent workout the day before, I hoped he'd be a bit calmer. I'd shaved his grain rations in half, recognizing I'd over-done his transition from sweet feed to 14% pellets. I wish I could say Romeo was quiet and relaxed. He just wasn't. He was still hot, over-reactive, and hyperresponsive. His brakes were there, but into the canter, he was springing upwards before forwards, leaving me hanging onto more mane than I wanted to.

We had worked so hard to get ready for the lesson. I was anxious to show off I was improving my body position in and out of canter, not leaning forward, trying terribly hard not to ride canter in two-point, but actually putting my bottom in the saddle.

Romeo had other plans. When Jen arrived, he was still hot & overreactive. We tried canters from walk, canters from trot, and he continually sprung into it, flying around the arena. Knowing I was still making grain changes, and Romeo hadn't yet adjusted, I took him to the round pen, let him fly around for about 5 minutes, with plenty of direction changes. I loosened the girth, tied him to the round pen gate, and moved on. No sense in arguing with him when most of his energy was my fault....

Our focus shifted to Ransom for a lunge lesson. Started him out walking over ground poles. Surely he's done this before, right? No reason to walk him in-hand over the poles, just confidently pilot him over the series of four. Ya, right. Ransom stepped right on one of the poles, stumbled forward, and even caught me off guard. It took a handful of attempts and pole adjustments before we were clear both ways. What I did learn, is he's very careful. I felt him pause before each step, almost checking to see where his feet should go. He slowed down considerably over the poles... carefully carrying me over them. Well, except for that initial big splat. :)

The lunge lesson portion was incredible. Ransom was very steady & quiet, a product of the time we'd spent together during the week. His transitions were even quiet. He kept his body quiet, only changing his legs in the transitions. I alternated dropping reins & dropping stirrups. At one point, I tried dropping stirrups and putting hands on my helmet, but quickly lost my balance. I discovered even how to sit his trot, which feels very "forward/backward", rather than the "left/right" motion I felt on Chewie. Ransom doesn't have a flat trot, not one bit, but it was incredibly easy on him to open & close my hips. I even did some "dog & frog" at the trot - pretty frigging cool! Ransom was a total babysitter, although his slowing at trot for the changes I would make with my body told me he hadn't done that before. I don't imagine many horses that haven't experienced Meredith Manor have ever carried a rider for "dog & frog" stretches. Even got in some canter left & right on lunge. Incredible! I'm stronger canter-left, but Ransom is stronger canter-right. It was easier to sit and move with him headed right than left. Ransom lesson time was well over an hour, and all time very well spent.

No comments: