Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5/21,22,23,24 Harley Update

5/21 Dressage. Asked for canter left, I got a zippy trot. Okay, lazy.. so I squeezed harder and kissed strong. Crap! Right lead heading left. ZZZZZT. I had to struggle and argue to slow him back to a trot. Second ask, no better. Harumph! He finally got it on the third try, and I forced him to stay in it a while. The outcome? A very fast canter around the arena. Wheee.. Good thing I had a lot of water and a strong meal beforehand. :)

5/22 Dressage. Knowing how terrible the canter was the day before, I watched him on the longe line more carefully. He blew his lead heading left there, too that day. argh..... We stuck to walk and trot under saddle, with some amazing results. He's learning how to round himself and stay there in the trot. WahOOO! I got a few steps of free walk heading right on the rail. Really? That'd be nice if it repeats!!

5/23 Dressage. Much more intense than the day before. We arrived in the arena, and Harley's eyes darted to the neighbor's tree line. Suddenly, about a dozen HUGE cows burst out of the trees and brush (not from the clearning, but right outta the brush). Harley's head popped up, but he didn't move. Not towards them, not away from them. Just watched. I started longing him, and while he glanced at them scrambling through the brush, and listened as they ran down the treed fenceline, he didn't panic or spook. His canter on the line was pretty good, leads right all but once. Riding, pretty good again. The trot wasn't as fantastic as the 22nd, but I didn't stay in it forever either. Spent good time at the canter. One wrong lead, but he quickly came to trot and fixed it. I seriously need to work on asking for it sitting back and heels down. Maybe my dressage stirrups are too long.. maybe the length on Ransom isn't working for Harley's different body shape.

5/24 Western. Talk about a blow-off day. Well, sort of. I didn't longe first, heck I didn't hand walk him to the pasture first. Right outside the trailer, after hand walking just long enough to tighten the cinch, I hopped on. We walked to the pond, through the pond, watched the cows running amuk again, and I headed down the cow-fenceline. Trees on one side, cow-fence on the other (yeah, it's barbed wire - because cows just don't respect hot fence, sorry anti-fence folks). Harley brushed into the trees and hedge a couple times. I saw it coming, the brush would make a funny noise, feel funny, and he was going to squirt forward. Little Man didn't disappoint me, and shoo'd forward the first two times he brushed up against something. By the third time, he was not only watching his feet and his body to stay as far away as possible, but he wasn't freaking out when he hit them, either. We disrupted some birds munching and sunning, and he stopped to watch while they all shot up into the trees, squawking up a fit. With our trail-going warmup complete, I sent him through the pond a couple more times, then went into the arena. With all the fences down, and him feeling stiff, I rode circles, serpentines, stops, bends, all at walk. His muscles loosened some, and we rode a little trot, loose rein. Harley reached down in the bridle, looking for the bit. ! What an accomplishment !! After some more walk, I rode just a touch of collected trot, and again he surprised me reaching down and into the contact. YahOOO! Walking? Ehh. not so much. He's not there yet, but that trot rooting for the bit? Incredible feeling!

We're on the way! Today's a day off for him and Mo both. Friday through Monday both horses will work. Long weekend, and while I've got lots to do around the house and in the gardens, I'll be taking advantage of the weather.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I admire your versatility. Harley sounds like he's doing well! Those canter leads can be a pain.
Sorry I don't comment more often. I do read... I just have a hard time keeping on track with my commenting.