Wednesday, 1 February 2012

One step forward, two steps back... and one sideways?!

So we rode in a clinic on the weekend, and although it was at a slower pace than I'd like, we actually got quite a bit out of it.  It turned out being the ride that we really needed at that time.  It was given by Mel Hyland, a as-tough-as-they-come cowboy, rodeo champion.  The scene, at least from my perspective, was rather funny.  Here are all these recreational or rodeo riders, saddling up with huge western saddles on their stock horses, and here I am in my field boots, with my dainty arabian warmblood with our little ankle booties on.  It was neat to see that Mel taught the exact same thing as what I've learned in the past.  It is all about feel and contact, and keeping that darn outside aid constant, using the inside aid to guide and soften.  He helped me find the 'sweet spot' on Celtic, which was great, especially when he can see the visual change.  Kind of cool to be working on contact and dressage with a cowboy coaching me. 

So after the clinic, I've decided to ride more often (yay trailer!) and just spend more time with my horse.  It seems now that when she sees me coming it's all about work, and lately that's been what it is.  I've talked with my BO and now I'm out every night even if it's for a scritch and a cookie.  Yesterday, we went to the arena to put some of what we learned into practise.  The ride was ok, but this girl just does NOT want to go into contact in a walk, or when asked to march forward into contact, she turns into a twinkle toes.  We did some halt-walk-trot transitions on the circle, and she settled down to have some lovely strides.  I think next week I'm going to add in some poles to give her something to focus on, to help her get into 'work-mode'. 

Now here's the fun part.  Loading in the trailer has never been a problem.  Generally she'll talk tentative steps up to the trailer, sniff, then up she goes.  When we were loading up to go home, she was having nothing to do with getting onto that trailer.  She did her usual slink up to it, sniff, then put both front feet up.  She went to lift her hind, and then she went backwards.  Luckily not quickly, but still not good.  After about 10 minutes of going up, her going backwards, and us going very quickly in circles, I grabbed the trusty lunge whip out of the truck.  Tap tap tap on her bum, and away she went happy as you please in the trailer.  Once we got home, we did a repeat performance, getting in and out with tap tap tapping of the lunge, and the last two times just holding the lunge.  I was satisfied, but oye!  We have a catching issue, and now a possible loading issue... yay for lunge whips and cookies! 

I simply cannot wait for it to be warmer and the sun to stay up longer. 

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