Friday, December 2, 2011

Harley Update

Through the weather changes.
Through the gunfire.
Through the shortening evening light.
Through the body clip.

With the exception of one evening, Harley has been awesome. I gave him a body clip at the start of my week long vacation, and he stood completely still the entire time. Now with a shorter coat, he's easier to ride in the evenings, and isn't a sweaty gross mess after every ride.

We've worked on increasing the walk energy, and that's going fair... His working walk to free walk transitions are incredible now in both directions (giving and taking rein). I've got some very nice circles working out, and improved straightness in the lines.

Probably the only thing I wish I had a little more of from Harley, is energy. He often feels lazy, and requires a lot of motivation from me to move-on. On the longe line, he looks excellent, and may be going just the same under saddle, but just feels lazy compared to Boss's long strides. I haven't had any video in a while to observe him, so I'm hoping to get some soon for comparison.

The trot/canter/trot transitions have come a long way. I've begun to introduce a bit of collection on his canter - instead of barely any rein contact, I've shortened my reins just a bit. Somedays that goes really good, and others are a flat disaster. Harley takes that rein pressure as "slow down", and it's difficult to keep him In the canter. Nevertheless, our canter goal has been met - he almost never gets his leads wrong now, and I can go most rides all on correct-lead canter. He gets them on a bend in the circle, and I haven't asked but once or twice on a straight line. We'll get there. I think I need to get better at my own cues from Boss on a line before I ask Harley to learn.

Last night, Harley reminded me he's a baby. He was lazy on the longe. I flipped the whip just a little, and he took off like a flash. Galloping around the circle, eyes wide, it took about ten minutes to get him to relax. Then, in the trot, he was refusing to walk. No walk, no halt, nothing. Just trotting, totally ignoring all body language, all verbal cues, even a tug on the line/halter. I took the neck stretcher off, and focused on small circles, just on the walk. I'd let him go about half a circle, then tell him, "whoa!". About a dozen later, Harley was ready to stop rather than keep going.

I checked him over nose to tail, down all four legs, reaching, stretching, and all the tricks. He's not sore, he's not hurting. Just bein' a baby. It's all good. If 90% of Harley's work is slow, lazy, and obedient, he's entitled to a bad-day. I used to give it to Ransom to have a gallop-off-like-a-nut days, no reason Harley can't have the same.

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