Monday, May 2, 2011

It's coming along nicely

Ever have one of those days? The day when you don't have a spectacular ride, but it all just seems to come together and you and the horse just click.  Yesterday was one of those for me and the Kat man.

Saturday went well enough, but yesterday it was all so much better.  He hasn't been driven all week since we were waiting for the ground to dry up from irrigation.  So hubby long lined him a little before we brought in the cart. He had him doing all sorts of intricate things, counter flexing, bending and I gotta say he looked great. But then when it came time to drive we had a small problem.

Heading into the first corner I asked for a turn. Simple enough, right?  Well Kat got a little confused. He thought I was asking for a counter flex going into the corner. Luckily we weren't  too far in or too committed to the turn yet.  Still enough room to make the turn, but bordering on not enough, so I asked for a stop.  I gave him a few seconds, patted his butt and let him relax. When I asked him to move on, let him go forward a few steps then tugged the rein for the turn again he responded with confusion again.  He still thought I wanted the counter flex bending to the inside, while turning to the outside. This time the fence was too close. So I asked for the stop, patted his butt and got out. At this point it was far safer for both of us to simply lead him out of the corner than to push it, ask again and chance a wreck.  It was just a little too much, too soon for the little guy.

Once back in the cart, we were moving forward again. I asked for him to start doing a few turns, guiding him a bit with the whip this time. He did a lot better, we did a lot of trotting and finished on a good note.

Yesterday we skipped the long lines and after lunging went strait to the cart. Lots of trotting, lots of circles, bigger circles, smaller circles, but something just wasn't quite right. Going to the left, his nose tipped in a smidgen, just right. Going to the right, if I asked him to tip his nose in, he did, but we also got a bit of a turn too. Tug the left rein to straighten him out on the rail- his nose went out too.

So that made me think. 
If I were riding, how would I fix this?
Now without your legs.
Or being able to raise, drop or spread your hands.
Or use your seat/weight.

So hubby tells me to do some circles at the walk. Get it right at the walk, then ask for the trot. Slow and right beats fast and wrong. Which we did and while we did, he was able to catch this-

Don't worry, he muted the camera so you can watch it at work and won't hear a thing. Which also kinda stinks because I can't go back and see what I need to do while I hear him telling me... (kind of like a mini clinic) and neither can anyone else. 

Basically it was a lot of circles and little tugs on one rein. Softening work just like if I were riding him. Sit up straight, don't lean, don't drop your shoulder, drive from behind, contact, but also let him work on a loose rein. Change rein and direction, same thing for this side... 

Which led to the question as to which hand should hold the whip? In some levels and types of competition, you are required to have a whip in hand at all times. Which one though? I have been carrying it in my right hand as the whip socket is on the right side of the cart, riding one handed the reins are in the left hand, sorta makes sense that way... I forgot to look or watch at the driving show. So today my quest for knowledge will include the ADS rulebook and a few emails to those in the know.  Hopefully I will have it right before the first show.   Which is in two weeks. 

And this morning we come out to soaked pastures again. Apparently the cover to the one port came off and we accidentally got irrigated.  Next weekend we were planning to head over to the horse park anyways. A way to drive him somewhere other than home, before expecting anything great and while we still have time to make some corrections if need be.  It helps that that is where the show is.  I will try to take some of my 'show clothes' and hope for pictures. Then we can see what works and what won't.


fernvalley01 said...

Looking good , fast learner that Kat! I bet he was anticipating a little and that is maybe what got him a bit messed up on the corner. Looks like you have it coming together nicely

phaedra96 said...

It just takes so much time and patience and rinse, lather, repeat. He looks like he is going well; he is such a pretty mover. I cannot wait to see how he does in the show ring.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Fern- he really is a fast learning pony. Picks things up quick and then gives you more than you ask for. Kind of part of the issue wih the corner. Situations like that though, it is always safer to get out of the cart. Especially since he is still so new to it all.

Phaedra- We are taking him to the showgrounds this weekend to work him there. He is going steady, but needs to do it in other places as well and it will be great practice for him. He moved nicely before, but what you are seeing here is his movement as it has improved. He trots on the lunge line now with a lot of lift and freedom in his shoulders. I can only imagine him getting even better still as we progress.

Rising Rainbow said...

Glad to hear Kat is coming along. Can't believe it's only two weeks until you show. It's definitely a good think he's such a quick learner with that kind of schedule.

Hope your training session at the park goes well.