I ordered two four-packs of Rail Razors from Dover. They arrived Wednesday, but because FedEx uses USPS, and the MailLady refuses to leave boxes for me, I had to go to the USPS to fetch. *talk about annoyed - Pay FedEx rates, and STILL have to pick the stuff up!*
I was pretty excited to get them in use. So I grabbed Ransom, got him hunter dressed, and headed to the arena. Forced him through a ten minute warmup free lunge, while I set alternating sides of the trot poles up on the razors. I hopped aboard, and we got down to business.
I rode around the poles for a while at trot, posting vs sitting and a little two point. I hopped through the canter poles at trot, avoiding the newly raised trot poles. And finally I did it. I approached them, braced my hands, and tried SOOO hard to release, and NOT add leg. He trotted straight through, more carefully and slowly than he does the flat poles. Neat!
I tried the canter poles at canter. Heading left, he broke to trot half the time. Heading right, he raced away, and even slid in the dirt once on his feet, about 3-4" slide. I am obviously not doing something right, because if I half-halt at the rails, he breaks to trot and fumbles through. If I leave him be, he races away. I need to get a rhythm down, or something... As I learned later in the ride, lifting them may be the secret.
I lifted both sides of the trot poles, so now they're all 4" off the ground. I gave myself a huge pep talk, walked and trotted by them to give him a chance to see, and decided 'tis now or never. We approached, I told him, "Easy buddy. Look, Look, careful."
He trotted through them lifted up, and light, never raced, never bumped a pole. I rode them both ways and all but one time he was totally clear. He doesn't race them, he doesn't hurry to or from, but he in fact slows down & considers each & every pole. I can feel his body come up in the pattern, not just his legs. He doesn't "thunder through", and it was in fact hard to hear his hooves hit the ground. Ransom got plenty of "Atta boys", cheers and praise-pats after each hop through. My balance wasn't great, I got behind a few times, but kept the reins released.
A fun hour+15. Much more to work on, and those canter poles still ellude us in completion. We'll get there...