Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lessons From A Green Horse

 Well, sadly the big red horse wasn't sound for my Saturday lesson. Luckily, he did pop a huge hole open in his heel bulb and was leaving a soggy and pus-tinged footprint with every step. Gross, and a good sign. I’m hoping he’ll be sound enough for a quick ride tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
So, this pretty girl was on deck!
Tori was more than ready to take over for Pig, and I was looking forward to getting Nancy’s opinion on her.  That opinion? She’s awesome. Nancy loved Tori’s naturally collected build, telling me her only weakness appears to be her short/thick neck. Luckily, her neck is tied in really well. If I can keep her supple, she’ll have no problems.
Crappy conformation photo, but the best I have. She's a powerhouse of a little thing!
Nancy also kept going on about the little mare’s brain. She is a smart cookie. I have been starting to work on leg yields, and with Nancy’s help we managed to get those going pretty solidly. I’m looking forward to getting her shoulders more open and really getting down to business with that lateral work!

So, what did I learn? Calves on. Hips loose.

Tori is a forward ride. Upward transitions happen on the seat, but she doesn't yet have much of a half halt understanding. Downward transitions are also a little funky still, with her often tossing her head up and away from any rein pressure and scooting onto her forehand. To help me actually sit through the transitions and show Tori how to calmly step under and stop, Nancy had me focus on keeping my calves on the mare. With my lower leg securely on and back, my hips could relax and unlock. Then, I was able to follow Tori’s movement and stay with her instead of bracing against her movement. Her transitions immediately improved.

Of course, staying loose in the hips is something I always fight. So, this little hint is something I’ll be thinking a lot about!

Nancy also had me lower my hands with every transition. Tori is solid in the contact, and Nancy wanted her to realize the contact isn't going to pressure her in a transition. When I am off balance, I’ll raise my hands. So this challenged me to give her a better ride.

I’m really enjoying this little mare, and am happy to have her to ride while my Guinness is out of commission!

18 comments:

  1. She is so adorable. Love her little face.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a nice lesson =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It was! Totally different from my lessons on Guinness, but it will certainly make me a better rider. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love getting a spin on other horses, Pig's heel sounds gross but glad it popped!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So gross. I was completely enthralled.

      Delete
  5. nice insights! glad she's showing so much promise - your work on her is paying off :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. She sounds really great! I'm glad that you had a good lesson!

    ReplyDelete
  7. "To help me actually sit through the transitions and show Tori how to calmly step under and stop, Nancy had me focus on keeping my calves on the mare. With my lower leg securely on and back, my hips could relax and unlock. Then, I was able to follow Tori’s movement and stay with her instead of bracing against her movement. Her transitions immediately improved."
    That is something i shall have to try to work on with Miss Nancy (when i get back into the saddle - hopefully this evening) as I think that may be my issue with halting her. I knew reading your blog would help me get a few light bulb moments of my own! *hugs*
    Thanks!

    The one lesson i managed to take this month got me the same comment about my lowering my hands - you explained it much better than i could have, especially as i forgot about that tidbit when recapping my lesson LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oops just realised the two Nancys in my comment above could get confusing lol! Does that make reading my blog weird for you? ;)

      Delete
    2. Haha, your Nancy's name does sometimes stand out to me. Luckily, I've been able to keep them separate, so far! :)

      Hope the tip helps! I know it's been a big breakthrough for little miss OTTB and me!

      Delete
  8. Just wanted to say that I am still here reading, but I am just the worst commenter ever! I hope your boy's abscess has healed by now and that you can get back to riding HIM. having a back up is always a great thing, but the real deal is always so much better. :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He HAS healed! Thank goodness! And back to working just a solidly as he was. :) I'm lucky that a lot of things I learn from the substitute translate to him very well. They are honestly very similar rides, except the mare is nicer in contact. :)

      Delete
  9. So glad that Guiness is getting better! :) And sounds like a good lesson, well moving hips are always a good thing :D

    ReplyDelete