Monday, May 7, 2012

Harley's Field Trip

Back to full work, I spent all of last week getting Harley as best I could in his general riding.  I didn't push for anything new all week, but focused on light transitions, correct canter leads, and relaxed..

Saturday, we headed up early and went to see Barb at Blue Ribbon Meadows.  Minimal traffic on our journey, and we were only a few minutes late.  I tacked Harley up, and headed out to longe him for a warmup.

He got lots of looks and compliments in the warmup.  Harley, while cute like normal, was quite "lookie loo", and a bit nervous.  LOTS going on, horses all around, lessons on going in other arenas.. :)  Complete chaos, good practice for baby.

The lesson was pretty neat.  Here's the highlights..
* Shorten the reins, realize he's going to fight it a while, but on the circles, ask for bend with my leg and inside hand back to my thigh.  To the right, my head might be turning, but my body sure isn't.  Focus on bending my hips with the turns.  Certainly explains the days going right that he felt bent to the outside on the long sides.. Oops.. Rider, not the horse.

* Head-Up is better right now than head-down.  By bending his neck upwards and nose in, I am "lifting his withers and elevating the front end."  Otherwise, he's going to be heavy on the forehand, and hanging on my hands.  He's starting to do this, and it's better I focus on heads-up than heads-down.  What I noticed so far, is when I allowed a free walk, Harley immediately took all I gave him.  Very nice, and I'm anxious to start this on the stretchy trot circle, too;

* Snowman circles.  One big circle, and figure-8 to a little circle.  Body and head of the snowman. 

*  Add spurs.  I borrowed a paid of hard plastic roller spurs.  They roll, and don't poke.  With some hesitation, I put them to use on Harley's sides.  He reacted quietly, much to my surprise.  This will be a nice addition.  Barb joked with me, "This doesn't need to be a Jane Fonda aerobic workout, you know.."  haa .. okay okay

The lesson lasted 45 minutes, and when he was wore out, Harley let us both know.  He started fighting us hard, obviously saying, "Okay girls.  This was fun to start out with, but I can't hold my tummy up anymore, and my neck is sore!" 

Much fun, and Much to work on.  I love getting homework!  Can't wait to get back at our drills.  Two days off (yesterday & today), and we'll try some more.

1 comment:

SunnySD said...

Cool lesson! Glad to hear Harley's healthym too :)

The "head-up vs. head-down thing is interesting. Eric's litany with me has been "ask him to lift his back" and is now starting to be "see if you can raise his shoulders more" to get Sunny lighter on the forehand. When we started Sunny was really heavy in front. It's amazing how much difference it makes when they start gaining strength and can really carry themselves properly.

Sounds like Harley was a star in all the commotion, too :)