Friday, February 21, 2014

2/20/14 Starting Somewhere

Warmed Harley up on the side reins.  Since he'd been a butthead at the start of the ride earlier in the week, I figured a good workout would be best.  He was behaved.  He argued a little, but at least he didn't drop his head and invert his face. 

I hopped on.  I worked a bit on bend at the trot, and a little of canter.  He was better than I expected, so I pointed towards the one little X I had set up.  At the trot, he barely stepped over it.  *giggle*  That's what I expected.  He knocked it down once, so after I set it back up, I raised it up another hole.  Still little-bittie, approx. 12" in the middle. 

So I set him up on the circle at canter, and pointed him towards the X.  He didn't even really hesitate. He didn't over-jump it, but just kind of cantered over it. 

We repeated that about a half dozen times each direction.  One of his trips over it, he bumped the X with one of his back feet, and attempted to throw a little fit over it.  I was able to get him down to a trot fairly easily, but I had to fight to get his mind back on me and on the bend.  A while at the long trot on serpentines, and he was calmed again.  The first few trips each direction were a little different each trip.  There were a few that were short strides and a few that were big wide strides and reaches. 

Probably the more interesting was getting him to land on the correct lead for the turn after the jump, and keeping him in the canter down the next long side.  I also did some canter on the circle, then down a long side.  I've noticed his overall fitness is increasing, and he definitely can canter a bit longer, and can hold it together longer.

Things won't be terrific for the show coming in Training 2.  He'll keep the canter, I am expecting the correct leads, and staying in the leads, but there's still work to do keeping the bend.  Some days this is amazing, others it just isn't.  So the real plan will be to ride what I have that day, and warm him up on a LOT of bend.

Anxious for my ride again today to repeat all of the above.  My first action will be to raise that X up to something a little more realistic.  I used to need to ride light day before a lesson, to "keep gas in the tank".  Now, after the last few times I've taken a day or two off, the first ride back he's quite energetic.  Means we can ride hard today, and still have lots of horse-gas for tomorrow.

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