+ TVhorsetalk: No More Excuses...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No More Excuses...

             With lots of help, I moved the arena (Still a verrrry loose use of the term, arena.)  Now I have no excuses for failing to progress from cruising at the trot to stick to the fence at the trot and on up to cruising and stick-to-the-fence at the canter, all riding exercises on Clinton Anderson's Riding with Confidence-1. The ground is a bit unlevel in some spots so we’ll walk it several times to get used to it.

Next Day:

Max and I took our first ride in the new “arena” location this morning.  It’s not quite as level as the other arena was, but Max seemed more relaxed.  (Therefore, so was I.)  We walked the perimeter first and then trotted it.  We rested in the only scary place left and he didn’t bat an eye.  So I can’t do anymore whining about the “spook” element of the arena.  Maybe I’ll be able to make some progress in the saddle at last…

Next Day:

Max is pivoting on his right hind foot when we yield forequarters to the right!  Woo-hoo!  We’ve worked on it just a few minutes, most days for a couple of months, and he can finally do it to the right!  Good Boy!
To the left…not so much…  We’ll keep working on the left.
Love the new location of the arena.  We had a relaxed ride today.  We mainly trotted. 
We also did yielding hindquarters at the standstill.  He’s a little sticky, but with a reminder (a tap on the hip) right at the beginning he gets it.  I seem to be getting more coordinated with the teaching of this skill, and the timing of it, the more we practice. 
At first, I had to really slow down and think about each individual step.  I had to think through each step as I did it:  draw his head around, correctly place my foot, release my foot when he moved correctly, wait for him to “give” and release immediately.  It’s becoming a smoother movement now.  The smoother I get with it, the smoother he seems to move.  We’ll keep working on it.
And get this.  I cantered about three times today.  One was a really long time!  I was so impressed with myself for letting him go with it that I forgot to count how many strides I hung in there for.  I was really trying to get the feel of it.  I’m trying to build up to a few strides more each day.  I didn’t have much control, but I was so wrapped up with the fact that I was cantering, I didn’t think a lot about it.  Max stopped anyway.  Good Boy!  LOL!
His canter is still a little too fast for me to be totally relaxed with it.  But I think we’re making strides (no pun intended) with that, too, on the ground.
I’m going to have to re-watch the cruising and stick-to-the-fence episodes on the Riding with Confidence-1 Series.  Not really to learn the method of teaching it so much as to use the episodes to build up my confidence. 
It helps me to review the lesson and remember things that Clinton Anderson says in the lesson like, “Any time you get uncomfortable, do a one rein stop.”  I really need to get that embedded in my head for when I can finally take on cruising at the canter. 
And we’ve worked more on the ground lately than we have in the saddle, so I may have to relax, slow down and just review trotting with Max in the “new” arena, then work up to the canter. 

Uh-oh, was that just an excuse???

Have a good ride,

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