Friday, September 23, 2011

9/22/11 Harley sans Saddle

heh heh heh... If only he was a little smoother in the down transitions....

Harley moseyed from the pasture up to the trailer to get 'dressed'. As I sprayed him with flyspray, he lowered his head further with a heavy sigh. I brushed what appears to be the summer coat beginning to shed out with a sadness. "Keep it up, bugger. You'll get the clippers soon enough you fuzz up too early." I grabbed the western pad, and stuck my bareback pad on top of it. cushion, ladies.. you know what I mean?

Out to the arena. Ten minutes free longe, expecting any kind of goofyness, but I got none. Neck stretcher longe, with great results. He was lazy, and had no intentions on moving out in the stretcher without push push from me. Took him to the mounting block, added reins, helmet, and made sure the pad cinch was tight. Off we go.

I gathered up the reins immediately, mostly out of curiosity. Did he learn from the week before, when I started instantly on working walk to free walk transitions? Yes on the working walk, not so much on the free walk. It took a good deal of working walk before he stretched down, which I immediately rewarded with longer reins. Even that didn't last but 3/4 of a circle before he lifted back up again. Blech. More do be done there.

Our work went straightaway into transitions. Walk/Halt/Walk was very nice. The best I've ridden on him yet, in fact. Walk/Trot/Walk, eh, it's getting there. Surprising to me, left is better than right. Heading right, he hops UP into the trot, lifting his front end instead of pushing from behind.

In the trot, I found a gap in my own balance (perhaps the reasoning for his right trot transitions being yucky). As he went into trot left, I was able to post easily, and sit with minimal concentration. When Harley went into trot right, I nearly came off, legs flapping all around. "Yikes, Har, Looks like Momma has some work to do here, too. Bear with me, baby." After a circle or so, I realized I wasn't sitting centered, and my legs weren't evenly stretched down. Forced some posting trot right, and some direction changes, and then things finally evened out. Sheez.

Had I been absolutely convinced Harley's canter down to trot transitions would've been as smooth as his UP transitions normally are, I probably would've ridden canter both ways. However, 75-80% of his down transitions out of canter are a bit bouncy, and usually unless I focus 100%, toss me around in an effort to stay relaxed. Knowing this, I didn't ask for the bareback canter. It's coming, it's on the way, just not yet.

Total working session, about 45-50 minutes. We ended with more working walk to free walk, and some really nice turns on forehand and haunches. Only sticker there.. turn on haunches to the.... right. Yup, right (I had to think about it there, which way I felt dizzy because we did it so much). He'd take one step crossover in front, then move his rear end around, then another step in front. Time to work on it from the ground again, I believe. Turns on forehand, we had 360 in both directions. Turn on haunches headed left, I had 270 before he got wiggly. It's progress for sure.


Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

Sorry, apparently I can't type. That first comment was supposed to say:
I've yet to canter my mare bareback. She's got a BIG trot when she wants to, and I just don't think it's fair to put her through me flapping about like a rag doll. She's a wee bit too sensitive to endure that. I do however love a good bareback ride. In my opinion, it really emphasizes the nuances of what you need to be working on. It sounds like Harley's doing well.

Dressage Person said...

Hey there!

Just wondering if you've heard of 'action-reaction' for getting your horse to stretch down? I used to ride a terrible mare that wouldn't take ANY contact (head straight in the air - no way was she putting it down nicely just because and if you used any gadgets would throw you off). Action-reaction has turned her into a pro stretcher. Let me know if you're interested. It's a french dressage thing. Worked super quickly and didn't involve any weird tricks/pulling/side reins/other things I don't advocate.