Two of the horses that I had bought for resale have already found awesome new homes. Hope for Spring and Strike up the Jazz will both be heading into eventing as their new career. They both got amazing homes with really good riders who will appreciate their talent. I am so excited to watch their progress.
Corey has been coming along so nicely. I have started to canter fences on him and he is just such a good boy. He had a really nice trail ride this weekend and he makes a great substitute for Letterman who is still not allowed out on the rocks. I just love how smart he is and how quickly he figures everything out. Not to mention he is so darn sweet! I put Corey’s ad up on CANTER so pass it along to anybody who is looking- http://www.canterusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=48&Itemid=313
It has been hard to stay as consistent as I would like due to weather. We are under water at our farm and it keeps raining. I am lucky to have my stone dust sacrifice paddocks so the horses can at least move around some but I really can’t turn out in my fields because our clay soil makes for slick conditions and it is not worth them getting hurt.
I was able to get Letterman out to a lesson over the weekend and it was very educational. He had been doing really well before his time off but coming back I ran into some of the same issues that we had fixed before he got hurt. The main issue was that he wouldn’t move off the left leg at all which made him stiff, heavy and inverted. Kelly got on him and showed me some really educational ways to address the problem and we also talked about how Letterman is very smart and creative so he gets me off the topic. He jigs, throws his head up, threatens bad behavior and spooks at anything just to distract you from the topic at hand. She showed me that I need to be tougher and do a better job at staying on the topic. No matter what he does he has to move off that left leg. The leg works in a tapping type of fashion so that the leg isn’t stuck in one place encouraging him to lean against it. I was to exaggerate the left bend so that it almost encouraged him to pop out the right shoulder and off the left leg. The left rein was used in a sponging type of fashion and I was to keep my biceps on my side to encourage my arm to be soft. Look over my left shoulder so the hip comes back and the pelvis encourages him to bend left. The right rein was almost an opening rein to invite him to go out to the right with the shoulder so that we could push him off the left leg to the right.
He gets pretty darn mad about such a simple request but she stayed persistent yet soft with him. When he correctly moved off the leg she immediately quieted the aids as his reward. Every time he offered the right answer she rewarded. If he got very stuck/stiff she would use a small circle to help her with the positioning of his body and then try to return to a larger circle or a straight line when he stayed correct.
I was able to get on and feel it and then the next day I was able to replicate it. It always amazes me how one piece of the puzzle can make the horse feel completely different. He went from stiff, pulling and locked to soft, reaching and flexible in one ride. He is also so smart that I didn’t have to repeat much of it to him the next day. I am really disappointed with all the rain so that I haven’t been able to practice. I have also had too much going on to be able to get to the indoor.
The neat thing about the lesson was that I gave a lesson to the buyer of Hope for Spring the next day and we used the same tools to work on his right side and he absolutely went better than he ever had. It was so fun to watch him loosen up and he started to move off the right leg. He began to stretch, come over the back and it increased his already huge stride. We worked the same in the canter and was able to keep him from cutting the turns with that new understanding of moving off the right leg. Smart boy and much more agreeable than Letterman 🙂
Hopefully I can get Letterman and Corey out to the indoor.