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Monday, November 22, 2010


I wrapped up my last regular Sunday Lesson with Ryan... Bittersweet. I get to work on homework all winter, with a once a month tune up. My pocketbook will be happy, but I will miss my regular lessons. Our lesson was actually really good. Our new stretching routine is really helping Gram loosen up before our lesson. She is really starting to like the leg stretch too. The first time I tried to stretch her legs, she literally almost fell over- *sigh* baby horse! Now she knows that once the saddle and boots are on, when I tap her leg, that means I pull it forward, she puts her head down, and straightens it, then gets a treat. What a life; I do the work and she gets a treat for not falling down. She started our lesson very loose. Nice swing in her back, stretching down with out bracing. Ryan looked surprised. We then started to pick her up, and really focused on keeping her supple regardless of where her head was set. When I pick her up, she gets a little tense. So Ryan had us working her in different frames, all trying to get the same feeling. Our biggest problem is still our transitions, she braces into both upward and downward. He started us working on trot walk. When I would start the downward, Ryan would want me to hold her in the (tempo) step that she started bracing until I she was supple, then I could proceed to walk. This seemed to really help. Now when I say hold I don't mean literally holding her, basically, I mean the tempo of the gait not he rein. After a few times of working this she began to relax and stopped bracing in the transition. We did the same thing in the leg yields and half passes. Just when the good girl thought she was done, it was time to start canter.

We worked on the counter canter- I tend to try to stay out of her way instead of help her through the counter canter bend. I took me a few attempts. There were also two other people in the arena that just so happened to be right in my way every time I attempted the movement. Not their fault at all, just bad timing on all ends! :) There is a theme in this blog lately, basically I can now push Gram harder and expect more out of her, but every time I introduce something new I do so almost too carefully. I cannot help it! She is my baby, I have seen too many nice horses ruined, so I tend to back off too much. I am learning. I just don't want a big mare meltdown. I worked with Gram's mom (Yce) after she had some bad experiences and I vowed to not let that happen to her. In the counter canter, I need to sit a bit deeper into the saddle, and help her maintain the bend. I was trying to come off her back and trying to stay out of her way, which actually made it harder for her.

Once we got the counter canter, we ended with a few walk canter, canter walks. I need to get these sharper. The first couple are always bad. We had some really nice walk canters followed by really bad canter walks. ha. Again, I must remember to sit deep, and really use my half halts to then place her in the walk, not let her fall into it.

We will continue to make the canter stronger. It is still her most difficult gait. I must watch the walk, so that it doesn't get too lateral. I must also be careful where her head and neck are placed. She tends to like to be either in stretch mode, or high up... she needs to work on being supple regardless of where her head and neck are placed.

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