Around and Around.

I had another lesson with Katy last night Sunday.  These are so informative and beneficial that I'm going to try to be a better blogger and/or rider and do something to retain the information (aka.... empty promises).

I got to the lesson about ten minutes late because someone was a total grumpy shit about getting into my trailer.  The same trailer he's ridden in once a week for a few months now.  I blame it on last week, when the mats were wet and he slid a little bit.

(Which poses the question - is that one of the reasons that people put shavings in their trailers?)

Anyways, after mounting, we went to her play pasture and started working on a large (40m?) circle.  The name of the game is immediately getting him off my leg and into the contact.  I can't stress enough how badly I need new video of this guy undersaddle, because he is not the same horse.  After warming up at the walk and trot, Katy had me doing some trot pole exercises.

Initially, it was just a clover through a flat box:
Except after one time through, she would yell the direction and I would reroute him from the center of the box.  Having a trainer with a bit of ADD actually helps.

After going through the box a few times, she raised one end of every pole, so if you were trotting on a straight line, the first pole would up on the right and the second pole would be up on the left, etc.  And then she added two poles at a diagonal from one end, like so:

With dark blue indicating which edge was raised.
Then she added a new pattern - top to bottom, track left, loop around top to diagonal on right, roll back to diagonal on left.  It was a hot mess, but it got better every time we did it.  She actually told me to stop worrying about bending (!) so much and just focus on keeping his neck between the reins.  

All in all, it was super informative.  I'm just smitten with this horse and super impressed with his progress.  She told me that I couldn't back him until we got to second level*, and then joked that it would be like next month.

*western horses are backed a lot, I guess?  so when I halt him, his inclination is to give me a few steps back.  

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  1. OMG, yes I need to see new video and also this exercise is awesome. I have a very small arena and I ride alone all the time, but this is a perfect exercise to do something a little more interesting for both of us! I have a feeling it's much harder than it looks. Scout gets quite excited about single trot poles so it just be fun:)

  2. I want to see new video too!! :) You guys sound like you are chipping right along! This exercise sounds deceptively difficult. I want to try.

  3. Can't wait to see a new video! And yes, western horses get backed up a lot - I never understood why in dressage they waited so long to do it!

  4. That pole exercise looks interesting. And I put shavings in to stop the mats from being slippery

  5. A lot of horses on the breed circuit back a lot because of patterns that require it, and to help them get slower and over their hocks (at least, that’s how it was told to me). Hunters do similar movements with a very different philosophy so... there’s that hah