Friday, October 25, 2013

Picking up toes

Mia is coming right along in her training, I would now say her steering is 90% which is HUGE considering where we started and the fact we have less than 10 rides under our belt.  I also think that is awesome and shows what I am able to do when given the chance.  That damn horse that was boarded and in training last year, the one that ran me over and blew out my knee, gave such a huge blow to my training confidence that I had serious doubts and Mia is doing a great job of bringing that confidence back.  It is really awesome.

Ride 8 was working a little on contact and continuing to introduce leg commands while moving.  It is great to see it all come together and even without spurs she is moving off of my leg.  We are starting to be able to enlarge circles by legs commands and started to move into baby leg yields.  Ride 9 was a little more interesting as I put a PVC pole down on the ground to walk over.  After warming up we walked over to the pole and her reaction was pretty funny, she was quite concerned about this pole and was really unsure about going over it.  It took a little bit of urging and after several snorts and a leery eye, she finally stepped over it.  Ah kids lol.  After that initial concern, we were able to walk and trot over the pole without much issue.  She doesn't understand the reason but is grasping the concept.  There was more steering work done but my main focus was having her start to accept contact and learn the "head down" cue.  She is one smart cookie (most times haha) and picked it up pretty quickly.  We were able to walk with contact and trot with inconsistent contact, progress is being made.

I also rode the TWH for the first and second time since he was cleared by Dr A!  We have 2 weeks of walking which makes some rather unentertaining and not blog worthy rides.  Our first ride was a trail ride around the 3 mile block and he was awesome.  You wouldn't have known he hadn't been ridden for a month and a half, a very model citizen.  Love that horse!  The second ride was just walking around in the arena (because since it is dark in the morning when I can ride and dark in the evening when I can ride, I can't ride outside unless it is a weekend) and we played with lateral movements and lightness in the bridle.  Pretty boring stuff.

This morning was going to be an easy workout, I was originally going to ride the TWH over some 12" cavaletti but after SO made me feel bad that I am not working the App, I decided to work everyone.  I changed it into a ground session and started with the TWH, the purpose of the session was to help the TWH build his stifles back up.  We walked over a set of 3 12" cavaletti and after several repetitions of that, I set up 2 18" cavaletti.  They were a good bit harder but the TWH was a champ and didn't knock anything over and was careful about picking up his legs.  After 5 reps over the large cavaletti I turned him loose and grabbed the App.  The App didn't have any issues with the 12" cavaletti either, not that I expected any.   He rapped the poles a couple of times but nothing bad and he did try.  When putting him over the 18" cavaletti, however, he did struggle.  It was pretty hard for him to go over them at a walk but despite looking awkward, he didn't knock anything over and put in a good effort.  After a couple of reps I went back to the smaller cavaletti and let him finish on a good note.

At this point the session was going well, all right!  I will be able to go in and have plenty of time to get ready for work.  Famous.  Last.  Words.  I grabbed Mia and worked the small cavaletti.  She took her time and stopped before each pole but walked over them.  When I asked for more speed, to not stop before each and every pole, she complied but wasn't getting it.  She was knocking the poles down semi regularly despite numerous repetitions so I tried the higher cavaletti to see if that would encourage her to pick her toes up higher. It absolutely did not.  We tried 6 times to go over the 18" poles and she obliterated the course each time.  Not only knocking the poles over, but also the standards.  Ugh mare.

I brought her back to the lower cavaletti but our problems followed us there.  She was consistently knocking the poles down with her hind toes, pick your toes up mare!  I tried moving the cavaletti closer, further apart, giving her more energy, less energy, leading on the left side, leading on the right side, giving her a smack when she knocked one over, making her back up when she knocked one over and even clucking and kissing while going over the poles and they just kept coming down.  And not just the poles, sometimes the standards too so I had to keep rebuilding the whole thing.  It was quite frustrating and eventually we just walked for a good 5 minutes to regroup.  That time seemed to do us both good as when we started gain, she still hit the poles but now there were just occasional knock downs.  Finally after going through the cavaletti 4 times without a knock down, just raps, I called it a day.  Mare, you aren't going to jump very well if you bring everything down with your hind toes!  That doesn't make a good eventing horse, I guess we have our work cut out for us.

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy!! Considering her reaction to the pole on the ground, my guess is she hasn't ever been over anything, so maybe she's just still learning about picking her feet up?? I don't know that I've ever seen a horse take that long to figure it out though. Kind of weird. Can she trot over them when they are flat on the ground without tripping? Maybe she isn't aware of her rear hooves? It will be interesting to try to figure it all out. :)

    I've been wanting to teach Chrome to accept contact since I plan on taking dressage lessons in the spring, but I haven't ever taught it to a horse. I've taken dressage lessons before so I know how to ride a horse on contact, but not sure how to teach it.... would you be interested in doing a post that goes more in depth with contact or maybe share a video of how you're teaching Mia? I'm tempted just to wait until we start our lessons because I don't want to mess him up, but I would like him to have some idea so we don't have a spend entire lessons on just contact.

    I'm glad you're getting your confidence back! I worked with a horse like that who ruined my confidence too. That's why I decided to get a baby and build a bond so it wouldn't be as scary. I'm happy to say that so far it's worked out well.... if I could just get over the fear of riding alone. :) Baby steps I guess!