Monday, August 2, 2010

If I'm Confused...

I'm really sore from the trail riding yesterday.  Everything hurts even my hands and feet.  I didn't let that stop me though.   Off I went after work.

My first thought was to ride Rosie again and work on that seat work.  However, she quickly let me know that she's sore too so I changed to ground work only.

She was pretty good standing in the barn while I groomed quickly.  The BM was dropping hay from the loft so I wasn't demanding perfection, it was ok to look around but no moving feet.  Then off we went walking.   She really wasn't paying much attention to me and I'm not sure what all this calling out is about when I leave the barn with her.  But just to prove a point every-time she called out I made her hindquarter yield.

Once in the outdoor arena (I like being enclosed and it huge) I did some desensitizing with pool noodles, lead-line and carrot stick.   Then at one point I asked for a back.  I queued one way, when that didn't work I queued a different way.. then that didn't work I resorted to something completely different.

Then I stopped with a "Jen what in the heck are you doing??? She has no clue what you are asking, and neither do you!!"  Poor Rosie ... took me a while to figure out what I was doing was contributing to her inability to do what I want.  She really had no clue.

So I thought, what do I want to use to queue her to back up?  I picked it, I stuck with it.  I got her thinking...  I got her to lift a foot and put it backwards on her own!!   And again!  I got up to three steps off a good queue and was done.

The BM said that since I started working with Rosie every night on her ground manners she's become a much easier horse to lead in and out.  This made me smile.

Kate over at A year With Horses has been writing about a Mark Rashid clinic she audited her post today is about thinking ahead and the breathing through the transition.   Thinking ahead is easy for me, as I coming upon on spot of focus I'm already moving on to the next, what I forget to do is breath.  I actually hold my breath and grit my teeth.  So if you notice the ugly face in my header picture... I've been making a point in relaxing my jaw even if my mouth is flapping in the breeze and to breath evenly.

Tonight I took the breathing one step further and was teaching myself to breath through the transitions and not hold it while riding Bonnie.

I was on the buckle with my hands directly in front and just above the saddle.  I took them out of the equation completely and changed direction by stepping weight into that directions stirrup at a walk around pole bending poles and barrels.

I dropped my stirrups asked for trot by thinking about it then exhale.  Still using weight shift to change directions, shifting seat bones.  I'm still not asking Bonnie to really carry herself, but she's not strung out on the forehand either. Just not completely collected.  Adjust my seat so I'm center, and sitting on my back pockets, back straight, not hollow in the small, legs on and BAM she goes into collected frame hind quarters under me.  Keep in mind I still have no contact at all on the bridle.  Reins are flapping!  I LOVE IT.  Breath through downward transition to walk and give her huge pats!  Continued to do more of the same, I even took up contact on the bit just to the point of the flapping reins

I'm sure that tomorrow I will be really sore from riding today without stirrups!  I feel like I'm making real progress on my own training, as well as Rosie's.


  1. There is so much to remember when you're riding - and breathing is at the top of that list! Sounds like a day of real accomplishment, though!

  2. I also have to remember to breath. My first time in the warm up ring at a show with Rogo I had people calling from the rail telling me to breath :)
    Sounds like you're making great progress. I've been following Kate's posts too, and find them really useful.

  3. Also, your header picture is great! Nothing wrong with that.

  4. Thank you Carol, that's my Rosie =) She is so beautiful she makes me look good!

  5. Very cool stuff - it always gives me chills to see how well this stuff works in practice!

  6. Great post!!! I always love reading how much work your doing and how well it's paying off!! You rock!

  7. Sounds like a very rewarding ride!


Happy Trails!