Thought I’d show something that finally clicked in training on my own!
Simple concept: Hands Forward – Horse To Bit, Not Bit To Horse.
Know how your trainer will tell you to bring the horse forward to the bit, not the horse back toward the hand? With hands and seat striving forward? (If it’s a good trainer.)
How exhausting it must be to instruct and have to say that over and over in lessons, never really knowing if the message went through… (Alexis I’ve been trying!)
On my own this can go to the wayside (maybe for you too.) but the basic idea is there. Finally catching it in pictures! This one goes out to any poor soul who’s ever wondered if their student will get it!
Valiosa making her trademark move, scrunching up and back, a pushback, in every way. Yes, ugly. No, don’t budge or fiddle the fingers.
Hands stay in their “little area”, seat is in but following, not pushing down. (Bonus points if looking up. No bonus for me, ever.)
And then she comes to the hand! Finally!
OK so then there could be some more calf and more give in the hand and she would have stayed looser.
But here she is two strides later! Love! It works!
We’ve been schooling outside a bit – she’s much more upright and distracted out there.
Mostly, I walk her on the property for conditioning on varying footing. Super helpful for her walk, so much more ground winning than a year ago. But when we’re allowed to go in one of the outdoor arenas it’s worth it with some schooling there!
Lately she’s been forward in canter, which is not usually her thing, only to become really strong if I get fooled into too much on the inside rein. Like this ⇓ 🙂 Then she just takes off with us both.
Or she’ll mix it up with a dead-stop fake-spook to keep things interesting. Mostly, I wait for her to take a breath, and then we go again as if nothing happened.
Riding Silverfish takes a lot of patience. All worth it!
As soon as it gets baking hot even before 10 am, I know we won’t be out there too much. Taking advantage when we can – show you more of that next week!
If you don’t normally get a race car mare, it’s really fun to suddenly have one. Maybe a bit confusing how to actually ride 🙂 but I’ll take it!
To make sure Valiosa continued the right direction with healing up from the abscess – lunging before riding. Checking her gaits, overall temperament etc. She’s been really willing to work. Honestly never seen this horse apply herself like this on the lunge.
Part of the reason I ended lunging long time ago – she’d work her body better under saddle, developing the right muscles there, not on the lunge.
Now, she comes out with a vroom, settles in to light side reins, and thinks canter is really fun in the covered round pen. OK then.
Whatever has changed, it’s been great to see! Spring grass. Less grain. Different grain. More B-Vitamins. Less work. Spring weather. Being in heat every day. Last month’s saddle adjustment. Looser cavesson and flash.Stronger hind. Whatever it is, it’s working!
Hoping this happy horse will continue showing up most days!
Valiosa came out really lame after a rest day, two days after the show.
Enough for frantic vet calls when it got worse, not better, after resting some more. Her first real bout with anything like this. Sure thing, an abscess. Hoof testers found a very tender, soft area on the heel bulb.
Things got busy with twice daily soakings…
This explains some of the over-the-top show temperament the weekend before. Poor girl!
To match, I cut my own finger, deep, at work last weekend. Things are much more interesting when you’re applying duct tape over a diaper on a dragon horse if you have to do it with a wrapped finger sticking straight out in the air 🙂
This morning, she lunged really sound! With sound effects – because piggy squeals every canter transition are a must when you’re in heat and haven’t done anything for a week and a half. Right?
Trying a short, easy ride with lots of walking tomorrow, before she rests another three days while I work.
Something like this would be nice. Good luck with that… Fingers crossed she’ll behave.
Have a feeling she may be a little pill to ride next week after all this. I’ll take it!
Looks like these blog posts aren’t going to write themselves… This morning’s lesson went well. Latest fun evasion is running through – and out the outside shoulder in canter. Silly rider, maybe thinking I could just sit there?
We had more good moments than usual – thrilled with Gray Mare!
Here’s the latest photo bomb.
Favorite shot below!
Reaching under with inside hind, soft open neck, relaxed mouth, good eye, no inside rein (small miracle!), relaxed tail, back is up.
Who knew she could ever get to that, so happy!
Picture overload, I know. Just didn’t have the heart to erase them all.
Today is Favorite Tuesday, track day, if you’re lucky enough to have tendons that still let you fling around at the track at slower-and-slower paces each year. I still do, some weeks, so will be there – after inhaling a second cup of coffee. Wonder what’ll get injured this time 🙂