Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Simple Changes

Sunday it was 32 degrees and snowing... today it was sunny and 65!

Lilly seemed anxious to come in out of the pasture, so I took it as a sign that she wanted to work just as badly as I did. After I put her in the cross ties, I noticed all the black and brown hair everywhere. At least someone's horse is shedding, even if it isn't mine. Lilly holds on to her goat hair with everything she's got!

After getting her all saddled up, we headed out to the arena. The gate was already open, but I still hopped on and closed it from Lilly's back. At one point I had to stop and get her settled because her brain was in overdrive and she wanted to run the show, but once we got past that, she did excellent.

I haven't ridden her in the shank bit for quite some time now. Because of all the cantering and exercises we've been doing, I didn't feel like it was a good idea. Alex calls it the Ferrari and says it's only to be used on the weekends. I've been calling it the Mercedes because I will never be able to afford a Ferrari... I have been really pleased with how soft she's become in the snaffle since we started all this canter work. She's always been pretty soft, but even now I just pick up on the reins and she'll drop her head. Just the slightest touch of the reins gets the desired response I need. No shanks necessary! I wish I didn't have to switch over to the shanks to show. I think she's offended by that bit...

Today I wanted to work mostly on loping and lead changes. We still did our warm-up exercises, worked on some trot stops, and did some jogging around the arena, but once we were warmed up, it was time to lope. When I work her on figure eights, I always modify them a bit. I've made a really technical drawing in a really fancy drawing program to show you how we do our circles.

Behold!  The arena!
So obviously the brown color is the arena, and the two blue lines are ground poles. Actually, one of them is an actual jump, but you get the idea. So I start from the middle of the ground poles and lope to the right (let's say), but instead of coming back into the center of my eight, swapping leads and going to the left, I take her back to the right again and lope a lap around the outside of the arena. Then when we come back into the center, I'll switch directions and do the same thing to the left. To keep it even more interesting, sometimes when I'm on the long side of the arena, I'll have her stop, do a rollback, and head back in the other direction. Sometimes we stop in the middle of the ground poles, back up, or pivot around, and then lope off in the other direction.

I have to keep her guessing so she never knows what's coming next. This seems to be working out REALLY well, because despiste the number of circles we loped and the number of times she had to change her leads, she never once anticipated the lope! She never got fired up or excited either, she just loped around like a seasoned pro. :)

The simple changes are really coming along and I did try some flying changes by changing the bend and asking with my leg in the middle of the eight, but she never quite got it. I could see the wheels turning, and a couple times she changed behind, but she never quite got the idea. She's so smart and tries so hard to please, that I'm sure it won't be long.

She was really sweaty when we were done, but we had a great ride and she seemed quite proud of herself. I was proud of her too!

The Lilly stamp of approval!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, she IS a seasoned pro! Good job, you two.