Although it is not up yet, Hubby- Johnie Rotten was able to get some video of us driving over the weekend. We went to the horse park again yesterday and had, as he said, "What has been one of his best workouts to date." It was our first trip back over there since our incident/accident the last time and he did great. Lots of whinnying/whining on Kat's part, but other than that, he didn't get stupid or let his 'other brain' take over, thinking with his boy bits.
For Kat, it was hard to get a bit of the strong trot. The arena footing was a tad deep and needed to be worked. There were times I could feel the cart shift off one way or another when we were traveling straight down the rail. It had to be hard for him but it was kind of good in a way that he has to learn how to keep going even when the cart is doing some funky stuff.
In pleasure classes, the horses are to have 3 gears in the trot and walk. Collected walk, normal walk and extended walk, collected trot, normal working trot and extended or strong trot. We were working on all three and have been from day one. We are also working on him bending to the right and not dropping his hip to the inside when he turns. He is to remain upright and balanced, moving straight.
One thing that had made an impression at the last driving show in November, was the horse being shown by one of the local 'trainers'. When they asked for a strong trot- his horse was flat. He had nothing. It sort of looked like he pushed for more, but even still, there was nothing there to give. The horse had no extended gaits at all to speak of. Clearly he had not worked on this at home. An easy mistake a lot of people can make.
Something that I had read somewhere long ago and who knows where- was about extension and collection work. It related to riding but works for driving too. To get collection, you also have to ask for extension. (Wait a minute, what?) It went on to compare the horse to a rubber band. You can stretch it out and push for extension for only so long. The horse can't maintain it forever and the rubber band can't either. Both will break.
To make it easy for the horse, ask for extension for a bit, push the horse to move out. As they build the muscle tone and durability, they will be able to hold it longer, but just before they start to fade and can't do it much longer, let them come back down to a normal working gait. Let them slow down even more if need be and take a little break. Keep the momentum, maintain their balanced way of moving, but let them slow down. It will be easy for them to do and they will actually appreciate it, being able to 'take a breather', while still maintaining the gait.
For driving, hubby said to let him flatten out a bit when getting the collected trot. I didn't understand and asked what he meant. Let him flatten out? How? What do you mean?
Him- "Let him flatten out... put his head down and work that way."
Me- "Oh, you mean take more of a 'hunter frame' than a 'fancy carriage horse' frame?"
Him- "Yeah, I just couldn't think of the right words."
Me- "Got it!" Now it made sense. Let him relax like a rubber band... or take a hold of the reins and push him up into the bridle.
This horse above as compared to this horse below.
Both are moving correctly, but one is driving a lot more and is moving out a bit differently. Pushing if you will, for the stronger trot.
Same here- relaxed above and really moving out below.
I tried to find horses moving both ways (relaxed and pushing) in or around the same size, breed and coat color for comparison. Sometimes it stands out in pictures for some of us more visual people. We can see the difference and then know what we need to work towards.
*Love the turnout in these two photos. Hopefully I can come close to this. I think they are both very elegant. Nicely put together in colors that accent the horses well.*
And before I forget- the downward trot-to-walk transitions are coming along nicely. I needed to take a hold of both reins and slowly work him down to a walk while telling him to "Ease on down to a walk". As soon as he breaks into a walk, I release and let him go. It's working for him so we will go with that.