Monday, November 18, 2013

11/17/13 Reinforcement

I drug myself back to Harley's pen after riding Mo around the neighborhood.  My legs said, "This isn't a good idea".  My brain said, "We have to.  Need to reinforce the lessons from yesterday, and keep those new two point muscles active instead of let them get lazy again."

So off we went to the arena, jump saddle.  After a brief warm-up, I got down to business.  And I do mean it.  I rode a BUNCH of two point trot.  I'd ride until my legs burned, then I'd ride it just another bit longer.  I rode it on the circles, I rode it down the long side.  I made myself do it. 

With no whip in my hands (didn't find it until hours after the ride today), and no spurs on, I had to do something to get his big trot and keep him moving while I wiggled around in two point.  I set one hand on both reins, still on his neck, and tapped him with the buckle end of the reins on the neck.  ZOOM.  I caught him once, just as he sprung forward.  Oh crap, that's what I don't want to do.  Next time, I reached forward with both hands, tapped him with the buckle, and he again bounced ahead.  Perfect.  Before too long, Harley realized that the only way to keep that from happening was to increase his go when I squeezed and clucked to him.  Exactly what I want. 

Then we did a little bit of canter in two point.  The results here were amazing.  I was cantering two point full circles, and even down the long side and into another circle.  Totally fabulous! Such an improvement over the lazy pony that would break to trot every time I'd lift out of the tack.  This was a nice surprise.

I did a little sitting trot, just until he settled in the contact when I changed from posting to sitting.  Then, it was onto posting trot a while, thinking heels down, elbows bending bending.  It's getting better.  I shortened up the reins only a little while, wanting to see how he'd manage if I was bending my elbows actively.  Things went well.. Much to work on here, but will be easier in the dressage saddle where I'm not so focused on my body position.

Back to a tad more two point at trot and canter, and I called it a day.  A very solid 35 minutes, where I admit I did more work than Harley.  He seemed pretty happy with himself, enjoying the nice weather and me not smacking him in the mouth like I did Saturday.

Progress.. Slow, but progress.

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