Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4/5/11 Stop, and Stay Stopped

Harley and I headed out to the arena, where he had a pretty good longe and neck stretching warmup. He gave a few half hearted bucks in his warmup canter work, but I believe it was more a "I don't want to go in a circle", rather than any sort of extra energy. Boredom,, Monster! His neck stretcher work has improved, as he's now learning where the release is at both the trot and the canter. Delightful warmup!

I hopped aboard, and we got down to business. I was hoping for a good portion of walk and trot work, and seriously hoping to begin introducing walk on contact. I have a routine: We walk a while to get him moving forward and his feet unstuck. Then we halt, and we walk, and we halt, and we walk, and we halt. When I'm completely convinced he will halt and wait a few seconds, then I will move up into trot. If I don't have his mind at the walk, increasing the speed is asking for disaster.

Harley decided halting wasn't going to be fun. Instead, he'd stop his front end, and shift his rear end at least one solid step left or right. Frustrated, I started to focus on my seat, legs, and hands. Nope, nothing there is saying, "Stop and turn". I set up a pole-tunnel, a pair of them parallel to each other, about 3' apart. Two on each side. I walked him through it, and tried to focus on straightness. He was delightfully straight through the poles. I asked for halt directly after the poles, but got more of the same wiggly wobblies. I came back to the tunnel and halted inside it. Harley stopped completely square, and stayed still. Hrmmm.. maybe it was my posture. I asked for a halt away from the tunnel, and remembered to keep every part of me still, not leaning one way or another, and keeping my upper body still. Wiggle Wobble. Grr!

I repeated this for at least fifteen minutes, and ended with him halted in the tunnel, stopped square and still. NOT how I wanted to end the ride, but since nothing I tried prevented the wiggly wobbles, still and square anywhere had to be the ending point.

We worked total for at least an hour. Back to the drawing board and a few days to think about what we did, and how we're going to fix it.

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