10 days till Show Time !!!
Which means Rosie and I are doing some SERIOUS training. With a 5 day break, and my husband being the last to ride her, she had a rude awakening today. It was 90 F outside, light breeze and mid humidity so was ok for trot work with lots of walking.
Today she was VERY wiggly and tried a couple of times to walk off while I was grooming and tacking up. I'm working on ground tying with her. So from the get go it was all about establishing myself as Boss Lead Mare.
I choose to NOT bridle her where I tacked her, instead we worked on leading nicely. I'm still using a chain under her chin, but NEVER have tension on it unless absolutely necessary. She can very easily drag me where ever she wants to go. So while she is in this stage of still pushing her limits with me when I least expect it I'm using the chain for safety.
Bridling is SO much nicer now that I've taught her to drop her head into the bridle. She even opens her mouth for the bit on her own. This always results in her getting a piece of a cookie as a reward. 100 % improvement from this time last year when she picked her head up while I was pulling the crown of the bridle over her ears, lifting me off my feet.
On to my ride. Mounting was exciting as my saddle slipped to the side. I had tightened but not enough apparently. So with the seat of the saddle on her side I jumped off. She just stood there while I shoved it back where it belonged and tightened one more notch! Good Rosie!
It was the remount that I had to get big and scary because she tried walking off while I was lifting my foot into the stirrup. A few good taps with the dressage whip moving her around where I wanted her to go and she stood stock still for me to mount up.
I started with a lot of walking, both collected and stretchy. Goal was forward marching type of walk, lifting up our feet. Not her normal plow horse plod. Also straight halts and straight lines walking the diagonals. I also wanted her moving off my leg, more bending in our circles and corner. I don't wear spurs, but today I felt like I needed them. She was like a concrete wall against my inside leg.
Now the trot work. Remember a few posts back I mentioned she has developed this habit of dropping her head, clenching her jaw, and blowing through my hands and trotting off. Not out of control like bolt, but just WAY fast and there is no way you can do a pulling war with a Percheron!
Today... whew! The very first time she tried it today no way she could be tired because it was the first trot we did. We start out nice, next thing I know she's dropping her head and popping me up off balance and away we go.
Rosie's first Light Bulb Moment: So first time was an immediate application of the horsey "emergency brake" aka one rein stop. Just glued my seat, relaxed my legs and pulled her around to the left. Right back into a trot from halt with a reminder tap with the Dressage whip that I want it NOW. Three steps halt.. NOW! Ask for trot again.. then halt after 5 steps. I'm still not collecting at all, just contact, or so I thought. Did this until I was up to 10 steps with out her imitating a pacer, gave her a nice walk break (still demanding an active marching walk). Next trot I asked for I was pleased as it was rhythmic and floaty, that trot of her's I LOVE.
Jeni's first light bulb moment. I need to keep my reins shorter. The more contact, and forward I pushed her the better she was. I also tried shoulder in's to slow her down on the long side. It WORKED!
Then on to the dreaded 20 meter circle. I honestly have no idea what a 20 meter circle should look like in size. I know you need to hit both E and B at the rail and the horse should be bent slightly around the leg like you are pushing them out. I'm sure those first few circles were HORRID! Inside leg was pushing against a concrete wall, it was more egg shaped then circle...
Next light bulb moment for me... clench my jaw and Rosie clenches hers. Well DUH I know this! I often end my rides with a head ache because I do clench my jaw almost all the time. So.. I started singing.. Can't clench your teeth if you're singing now can you?
AND GUESS WHAT?
Rosie relaxed into the trot, her back came up (so much I thought she was going to buck), her head went down and vertical and she self carried herself!!! I was thrilled and shocked! So shocked it had to be a mistake right?
After walking the serpentine pattern end to end and post to post straight pushing her around with the inside leg I tried it again. I believe we trotted perfect 20 meter circles both directions completely collected and her carrying herself.
Rosie's next Light Bulb Moment. If I shove my muzzle against the hose when mom is spraying me with it, I spray her and she laughs and hugs me!