Monday, January 9, 2012

1/7/11 Next in Poles

Knowing trot poles were a non-event for Harley, I adventured to the next level - canter poles. I set up two poles at a reasonable distance apart, and started him out with a longe over them. He was lanky, disorganized, and broke gait almost every time before or during the poles. I could see wrinkly thinking eyebrows, and decided about the only way he'd understand what I wanted, was if I rode him through the poles.

ooh boy.. here goes nothing. We rode through the trot poles three times in one direction, and then I picked up his canter. Past the poles like they weren't there, back around past the trot poles, and line up with space. He broke to trot the first time through, and easily went back to canter. Realizing I didn't offer enough leg or voice support, I lined him up in front of the canter poles again, and kissed gently as we approached.

loose reins
hands forward
heels down
eyes looking up
da da dump, da da dump

Harley stepped up and over the two poles steady at canter. I gave him a nice pat, and some verbal praise, and asked for a gentle trot back down the other long side. A short walk break, and a change in direction.

We had about the same results heading in the other direction. A few weebly wobbly entrances, a break in gait, but then finally a nice canter over both poles. It took nearly 45 minutes to get there, with lots of walk/praise breaks, and some floats over the trot poles. Fun, but physically exhausting. Harley was tired, and so was I.

The weather was unusually warm, high near 80, and moderately humid. Romeo broke into a sweat just wandering the pasture. I couldn't bring myself to ride his sweaty self.

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