Monday, February 24, 2014

More Time in the Two Rein

This weekend I decided to get back to the two-rein. I have been working on the things my last ride in it identified as weaknesses, and we've also watched a couple more videos about riding in the two-rein, hand position, bit fit and choice, and various other things that have made me feel increasingly confident that the set-up we got is appropriate for Steen. One particularly encouraging snippet came from Martin Black's video on the two-rein, wherein he discusses why he prefers to take a horse directly from the hackamore to the spade (this is different from some progressions where the horse goes into a half-breed before the spade). Martin's take on this is that the spade is  a milder bit than a half-breed because of all the surface area contact, and so if you have the time to spend in the two-rein and make the transition slowly, he sees no benefit to delaying the move to a spade.

With Steen, I've got nothing but time. And after Brian tried Bear in my two-rein set-up earlier in the week, I was curious to experiment with Steen again. On Saturday, I rode him indoors in the hackamore. On Sunday, I rode Laredo first, then brought Steen in for our second ride of the day. I slid the spade into his mouth, and he took it well. He had one initial moment of confusion, but after that, he accepted it. He alternated between standing quietly and rolling the cricket.

The ride that followed was a little interesting because Brian was riding a horse that doesn't belong to us, that we're riding to help keep in shape for a boarder/friend who broke her hip falling on ice. So they were doing their thing, and I was a little distracted. But Steen really took to the two-rein great this time. He never showed any agitation about the bit, and I was confident enough to use my two reins at a more similar length this time, so the spade was moving in his mouth shortly after the bosalita gave him a cue. We walked, trotted, and loped around, and Steen was just fabulous. We had great vertical flexion, smooth lateral movement, and excellent seat/leg control.

So, I'm excited. I think I'll be using the two-rein a little more often in the future.

Horseback Hours YTD: 24:15.

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