Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breaking it Down

I think that MTG and Show Sheen dont mix well together...Yesterday I pulled Milo out of the pasture and proceeded to the barn. I had braided his tail on Friday: show sheened to remove knots and tangles, than braided, and added MTG to his dock where he had been rubbing a bit. Oh man, was his tail ever tangled yesterday, and matted too! I cant think of any reason why it was like that except maybe a bad product combination. And Milo is not one that fusses with his tail when its braided. And it was all stuck together, not just tangled. I didnt think to take a picture until I was about done detangling it. Today I need to wash it because I didnt even finish fixing it all yesterday and I dont think anything but a good wash and detangle will help.

Moving on, I just wanted to say that when I got to Milo it was so sweet, he was so excited to see me - running up to the gate, and following me until I haltered him. But I did take notice too, and decided a good longe would be in order before getting on - it was a good idea. He did a little blow up on the longeline, but after getting it out of his system he was fine.

I had the good fortune to be able to ride in the outdoor arena too. It had been groomed before the rains over the weekend, and while the outdoor usually is a bit too deep, the rain packed it down just about perfectly. We rode for about half the ride with Heather and Milo's girlfriend Missy. I had Heather watch our turnarounds as I cant see when riding which foot he's pivoting on and I want to be able to start feeling the difference. He was pivoting on the outside. What I found ended up working to get him pivoting on the inside was asking for the turn a bit differently.

Now to train for the turnaround I spriraled down into it than would step out after a few steps. Repeated over some time, and Milo seems to know the footwork. But the problem is pivoting on the outside (wrong) foot. When I would ask, I would lay my outside leg on him, bring my outside rein onto his neck, and since still in the snaffle (if needed) I would use direct rein pressure to the inside to encourage a little more shoulder lift. So generally, his head and neck would be bent to the inside a bit. But after realizing he was turning on the wrong foot, something needed changed to get him balanced over the inside. I ended up changing the cue a bit -still lay my outside leg on him, but instead of direct rein on the inside, I would lift a bit with even pressure on both, and have his nose tipped slightly to the outside. Voila! He pivoted on the inside! Only for a few steps than he would want to switch to the outside. But I was trying to be quick on rewarding (and feeling) the correct inside. I know that the form may be a little flawed by doing this, but Id rather be balance on the correct foot and keep his front footwork correct, if that means his nose is tipped out a bit than so be it.

We did some trot work, than moved into the lope. He picked up the right beautifully, and literally felt like he was floating across the arena. He was so balanced and round it felt great. He just works so well in the outdoor. But I think part of it is that I like to ride in the outdoor versus the indoor, and I think that he picks up on that.

We loped the other direction and tried to prepare for some lead changes. (Mental note: needs to listen to my right [outside] leg more for turning at the lope). We did some clean simple changes, than when asking for the flying, it never worked. I think I may need to think about this a while and try and figure out what is going on. He seems to understand the cue for a change to the left, but to the right, he doesnt seem to understand - or more, he seems to know what Im asking but doesnt know how to do it in his body. When I ask for the change to the right, he only speeds up a stride or two, than I have to bring him down and ask again for the change at simple. Its puzzling.

I also worked a bit on our speed ups for the reining pattern. He gladly speeds up, but pins his ears flat back and tries to hollow how his back. I think this happens from working on the drill team, where Im asking him to go faster, but cant pay attention or ask for roundness. I think this is just another thing that needs more time.

Finally, our stops. He just isnt sitting down like he usually does. I havent pushed the issue too hard because a) I dont want to hurt his hocks b) we are only going to be showing on a beginning reining pattern, so I think some lenience on perfection with maneuvers will be made. Any suggestions, my reining cow horse friends?

And for some fun, I was feeling a little creative after the ride yesterday with my camera. Here are some photos I snapped. Enjoy.

What can I say? I like my equipment :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love that last photo!!! It is soo funny!!
Anyway, I have no idea how to help you, sorry.