I really try to address the issue of contact as soon as I feel the horse is ready because I believe that the horse needs to learn to come over the back in order to muscle correctly and they have to relax the back, neck and jaw to go forward properly.
I had just put a few relaxed rides on Bushy but today I started to teach him that contact meant to soften the neck while still going forward. At first he was perplexed and did some of this
He was really thinking though and I was gentle but persistent that I would keep the contact when he went to the giraffe mode. As soon as he softened then I would soften.
It is just amazing how different they feel when the back relaxes just a little bit and then when you really get them to drop the neck and stretch you can almost add another foot onto the stride.
I also worked his left side which is his stiffer side getting him to relax and bend but that was still hard and will be a work in progress. We did get a left lead which was excellent.
A new little video of him from today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNWqzDOCb3Q
Isn’t that a drastic difference in just one week?
I also rode Mort two days in a row. He is coming back from straining his stifle. He feels much better but will need to build himself up a bit more. I can feel the ouch in the canter still. Look at how much he has filled out! He is such a lovely horse. I am so happy to be back on him. One of my favorites to ride as he just has such a great feel about him.
I am hoping to get on Letterman tonight. He cut his knee and has some swelling but it has healed up and he is past the ouchy stage. The boys play very hard! Keeping them sound during bug season is quite difficult.