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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tune up!

December hasn't been a good month for my health.  I guess my body just gave up on fighting off colds and flus this season.  I had the worst cold of my life, followed by a stomach flu... The stomach flu was just a mere two days before Ryan flew back from Florida.  DOH!  So I really didn't expect much out of my lessons this weekend.  I thought Gram and I would both be rusty and just bad, and did I mention Ryan rode with Steffen Peters the day before coming back! Yeah... I thought I was in deep trouble.

To my surprise the big mare was really there with me!  Both days she started with her "I want to Buck" frame of mind, but quickly came to the conclusion that would require way more effort than she was willing to put forth.  I warned Ryan, so I think he took it easy on us on Saturday... Sunday he worked us hard.  I walked away with some really great exercises and ideas of what I should be working towards.

We worked on transitions a lot.  Gram now understands what the half halt is, but her reaction now needs to be refined.  The biggest thing Ryan pointed out, was that she tends to come shorter in front.  So I need to work on keeping her front legs out there, and worry more about tucking that rear end under.  Makes sense.  To help her understand the next piece of the puzzle I need her quick in the upward transition, she wants to power those with front wheel drive instead of rear wheel.  Ryan had us do lots of transitions down to a quick transition up. At first she hallowed her back and stuck her head up, then she started to actually think about things.  I have to be careful to give her the room she needs... Without Ryan saying this, I think I was blocking her, so this exercise was as much for me as it was for her.  The sound bite that I kept hearing from him was: "keep her up and out". Basically up in the shoulder and head and out with the nose.  Driving her into a light contact, but not allowing her to pull down.  She likes to pull down, so it is a constant effort, more than just thinking don't hold (which is also something I tend to do when she braces).  It is one of those things that I know shouldn't happen, but that doesn't always translate into I never do it! Lately, I have had to work on my mind set, I shouldn't just hold and wait for her to give.  When she was starting, this was how we learned to communicate with each other.  I asked for something and waited for the response I wanted to happen.  Now she gets the idea, so I need to tailor how I ask for things. It is very much like teaching a child a language.  You start with words, move to sentences, and we are all speaking fluently before we learn to write and about proper grammar.  Gramarye is speaking in sentences, and now I need to teach her to write.  We need to communicate on a new level, using what we have learned as a base; refine.

We had probably some of the best medium trots we have ever had.  I need to think about pushing her up, and thinking about those front legs.  Also in the downward, I need to lift her up in front more instead of letting her fall back into regular trot.  Our half passes were acceptable, I just need to continue to watch her running... more of the half pass a few steps and halt to just make sure those half halts are working and letting me control the tempo.  The canter was much better, but still needs more jump.  We also did some great shoulder-in, straight, shoulder-in, straights down the long side.  Our half steps are coming along nicely too.  Again I need to remember to keep the front legs out in front and bring the hind end under more.  EASY right? ha.  I have some good things to work on until Ryan comes back for a weekend again January 15th.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Julie. So what I learned from your blog today is: don't hold when Patina braces. Because that's what I do as well. It's like you say, we're teaching other how to talk to each other. Thanks for the lesson :-))