Saturday, June 28, 2008

Leg yields, circles and cantering, oh my!

Ok so I think that this is going to be the theme of my next few lessons. I actually enjoy doing alot of flatwork which I know most people seem to detest, favoring the much more exciting jumping.

Flatwork in my opinion really forces you to work hard, concentrate, and learn to communicate more effectively with your partner. All things I need to work on. It seems like lately leg yields are something we fit into my lessons almost every time. Sophie is a draft cross and a very hefty girl who requires a lot of leg to keep her from spiraling into the middle of the ring so we've really been working on that.

So we did some leg yields in both directions in this Wednesday evening group lesson, attemepted to lengthen and shorten our strides (emphasis on attempted), circled around some barrels that were up for a fun show (without using reins, which is very hard) and did some canter work. In a group lesson I can defenitly see the herd mentality come out as Sophie eagerly canters up to any horse in front of her (much different than in a private where I'm pushing on her on).

I worked on getting the correct lead, sitting back and transitioning down more smoothly.

The things I need to continue working on are getting my legs in the correct position when posting the trot (toes out, bending at the knees, squeezing) and getting on the correct diagnol immediately. I find I disregard this and have been now told that "I am way too good of a rider to not be checking and getting on the correct diagnol immediatly". So from now on this is going to be on the top of my list of things to be on guard for as it designed to not only help me as a rider but to correctly balance my horse.

In addition I've been "training" Sophie to more quickly give me her hooves when I pick them out. Grapes are my new best friend and so now when she quickly picks up her hoof she gets a grape and praise for that. I went through a period where she would not want to pick up her front right hoof for me and it was quite frustrating. For the last couple of weeks that I've been doing my grape method she is more quickly responding to my cue to pick up her leg. I figured I'd continue rewarding her with treats for a couple of more weeks and then start to only give them to her once in a while. I'll let you know how it goes.

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