Saturday, January 12, 2013

Things to Remember

We rode in the indoor arena again today. Steen wasn't quite as energetic as he was last ride, and he was thinking a little more than I would have liked about going to the middle of the arena and standing still. This is habit that surfaces now when we ride indoors. Basically what it amounts to is a very minor pull to the center of the arena whenever we switch from doing one thing to doing another thing. So, for instance, we'd transition from the trot to the walk. He'd dip towards the center, I'd pull him back with the hackamore. We'd walk for a minute and I'd ask for a slight bend. He'd dip towards the center, I'd pull him back with the hackamore. It gets more pronounced the faster we were going, so if we lope a few laps and return to the walk, it's more of a dive to the center than a dip.

Really, the problem is a result of the fact that we don't ride indoors very much, and when we do they tend to be kind of lazy rides. In spite of me going out of my way to rest him on the edges and do plenty of work in the center, some rides Steen just does this.

My problem is this: it annoys me. Instead of focusing on all the good things we have going on, I get obsessed with this one little thing. I correct him and correct him and correct him and it doesn't seem to make any change. Because it's such a little infraction (it only takes a teeny pull on the hackamore to get him back on track) it feels over-reactive to do much about it. But this ride I finally decided I should see if I could address it more directly. Three times in a row, when he made his little veer towards the center, I tried to block him with my leg (as usual). If he ignored that, I took the slack out of the rein, waited for a heartbeat (as usual), then instead of pulling with the small amount of force I knew he would need to get him straightened back out, I gave him a serious, hard pull back onto the track I wanted him to be on.

The first, time, it surprised him a lot. The second time, he really woke up. The third time he got even more awake. There was no fourth time. After that, he was listening to my legs like a dream. We went on to do some lovely work at all three gaits, including some excellent no-handed figure eights. Brian caught the tail end of these on video:

So this is just another reminder to me to avoid that gray area of feedback like the plague. Medium corrections don't accomplish a thing.

The other thing I need to remember is Steen has had four months of little to no saddle time. He's still physically and mentally recovering from a major injury. The trap I fall into with him is I get on and he immediately feels so much more sophisticated than Laredo, it's easy for me to hold him to an unfair standard.

Luckily, by the end of the ride I had remembered these things and I think we both ended up feeling like we'd gotten some good stuff done.

Ride Time: 0:55
Horseback hours YTD: 2:25

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Archives


Popular Posts