Saturday, January 31, 2009
Also broke my camera, boo hoo, Patrick may be able to save it but I don't think so. Guess I'll be buying a new one.
Gorgeous, glad to be alive day today and Lydia had a great *balade* (hack) at the riding club.
Today was just such a delightful day, especially for January and I had great expectations. A period in the school and then off down the track for a wander. Never have too great expectations would be my advice but look for the little things that may offer themselves; there are no such things as non-learning days. Was it Beudant that said *Ask for much, be content with little, and reward often* ? Well today was a Beudant day, lol
So, into the school, so far so good. Preparation work and then get on, he's very tense and not in a Moralejo way, more spooky and nervous which is not really him.
Took me a good half an hour in walk to slow it all down and relax him, although he did settle it was still not quite right. Lots of lateral work and halt, rein back. Then I worked on something new for Moo, reverse/counter shoulder-in on the long side, just before the corner ride into a reverse turn about the haunches (effectively a leg yield around a small circle). Then changing direction and moving into a reverse pirouette, moving away from the opposite leg (like a moving turn on the forehand with counter bend). Wow, I could feel all four legs and it was incredible. I shall do lots more of these patterns I think and may need to find some way of *mapping* them on paper so I don't forget them.
Just about to finish and he shot up his own backside and I seemed to be sitting on a horse about a metre long!! Finally the reason, Thierry my farmer neighbour was running round the fields on his four track checking his fences and I hadn't spotted him...of course Moo had, decided to leave the pootle down the track for a more chilled day. The problems of living somewhere with literally zero passing traffic, just cows and farmers and being able to see for miles and miles and...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Off to judo where Lydia received her yellow belt, dead chuffed for her and it really helps her sleeping on a wednesday night....wow they whack them out at judo, lol.
No connection last night, every time I got on line it timed me straight out, server I think but then despite my technical background I'm no boffin on these matters.
Today it was gorgeous again, put out early and then off to Perigueux to get the new windows. By the time we got back, picked up from school etc it was 5.00pm....just enough time for a lunge. Which was actually really good because I was discussing straightness/strong/hollow in the car with Patrick and it was interesting in my newly levelled school to see how straight he was.
So on the left rein he throws the 1/4's in by about 5cm (hollow side) and on the stiff (right rein) he loads the inside shoulder by a similar amount. Interestingly after some spirals, walk/trot/canter transitions the *throw* was much less, down to about 1cm or so. Just shows how much the lunging stretches/loosens them.
Really wanted to ride but I promised myself I will only ride when I have proper time.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Chapiro always pops over the wall to Cacahuète's waterer, he has his own but I guess it's just because he can. Chapiro makes me smile and the more I'm getting to know him the better I like him.
Just rode Moo in the school and he went really well. This was following two days of lunging and I think that certainly helps as we now work on trot/canter transitions as well as all the other stuff and that seems to be helping his balance. It's very easy to see on the lunge how he finds correct left bend difficult and on the right rein to see how tight it is but how much more correct the bend is (much firmer and into the outside). I never use side reins and I think this helps highlight the problems.
Riding today the walk was instantly more balanced and positive without rushing. Worked on renvers into shoulder-in to help that outside contact on the left rein and counter shoulder-in to travers...little leg yield to stretch and of course halt/rein back etc
Trot was really better balanced and I could comfortably rise to it without the feeling it would escape from me. Even managed to put my leg on for some corner work and he stayed quite calm. Trot/walk transitions were reasonably OK but we need to work on them becoming *the norm* so that he doesn't get so excited, yee ha!!!
I'm really enjoying this work, if you hadn't noticed.
To be perfectly honest Claire I'm not certain which flexions I showed you with Fidge as he had a slightly different problem to Moo in that he would lean on the bit rather than back off it. I'm fairly sure I would have shown you the ones above.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
His mum, Moraleja sadly died after giving birth to a later foal, I believe they called him Moralejo too.
This is Moralejo's full brother (Levante) and wouldn't you know it!! Makes me realise how much weight we still have to loose, lol. He stands at stud in the UK http://www.pferdestud.com/levante.htm and was bred by Richard Lust (now breeding in Spain).
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Even more impressive then that Chapiro managed to be a real darling in the barn, working at liberty and even halting on a circle from voice and body language, he's a cute cookie!!
I am so happy to find that Moo is crooked. Ah yes, happy I said, hehe.... The thing is that up until now he has always been so locked in his jaw, poll and particularly his neck that proper bend was impossible and so he seemed fairly straight,lol. Well yesterday and today we worked on our halt transitions, halt from the fingers vibrating and then letting the reins go, absolutely zero in the hand , the rein laying on his wither. After a couple of goes he let himself stretch down and happily mouthed and swallowed...brilliant. Then he has to wait for the upwards transition, first breathing the leg away from his side and then applying the leg to ask forwards. First few times he was away on the leg coming off but after being corrected he got the whole idea and went off on the leg touching.
So then on to shoulder-in and the left rein is hard because he wants to give the correct bend but then throws his quarters out and this makes him curl back against the hand again....yuck. So, engage brain, use counter shoulder-in on the right rein to train the left shoulder-in. I also found that asking more angle to open the shoulder really freed his front end and then reduce the angle to engage that left hind that wants to throw itself out of works way.
Lots more but I need to ride it again to be able to put it into words but things are definitely happening :-)
Oh and an aside, we have found Lydia a super new riding club, good equitation and very well run...she seems very happy.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
More rain and a day out playing with other folks horses so it was in-hand in the barn for Moo and Chapiro before heading off to the Charente.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Soooo, today it was back to flexions indoors, having changed to a fulmered snaffle (haven't used one for I can't remember how long) in an attempt to see if I could encourage him to be more wet in his mouth. He is far less *worried* by the in-hand bit lifting and today was the first time he had actually relaxed and swallowed ,which is the intention.
I spent longer raising the bit and relaxing out his neck and jaw. Then I got on and did the same thing mounted. then we went on to ridden lateral work and he's now really clicked with the renvers and travers. Interspersed half pass with leg yield so that he didn't get too tight. It's excellent that he is today calmer in my hand and not throwing his head about, so much so that to end he took a great stretch down into the rein.
On a completely different front, I'm having so much fun cooking Indian food from my Christmas pressie book. It's the best book I've had on the subject and it's already got me experimenting on my own. Puts me in mind of training horses, there is a recipe but it's so very personal to each horse that there could never be a big enough book to cover every eventuality.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The hands are the two intricate, prehensile, multi-fingered body parts normally located at the end of each arm of a human or other primate. They are the chief organs for physically manipulating the environment, using anywhere from the roughest motor skills (wielding a club) to the finest (threading a needle), and since the fingertips contain some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the human body, they are also the richest source of tactile feedback so that sense of touch is intimately associated with human hands. Like other paired organs (eyes, ears, legs), each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere, and thus handedness, or preferred hand choice for single-handed activities such as writing with a pen, reflects a significant individual trait.
No big surprise then that we feel the need to engage our hands when riding before any other part of our body. It is a huge part of my current path towards perfection.....of course I won't ever be perfect but just aiming for it seems to make the effort worthwhile.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I'm hoping that Di may give me a few words to say about this afternoon but basically we nattered (lots) and played pones with Moralejo. It was really good to see someone else on him and to see the corrections I've been making actually work for someone else too. He looks incredibly *up* and proud and carries his back well throughout all the higher hand work and I think Di found him rather nice to ride as he is so responsive. We had some great walk work, still not consistent enough but getting there and Di experienced his tension in the trot but luckily, like I've said before, he really isn't scary just full of raw energy. Like she said, you can learn such a lot from a horse like him. Here's hoping then :-)
We finished the afternoon with a cup of tea , sorry it was French tea Di :-( and some cakes that Di treated us to. In all a fab day and I'm all keen to continue so that the next time Di comes over we have improved some more. Hopefully we can continue being *eyes on the ground* for each other and I can repay the favour with Di's mare Anky.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A *thank you* to Claire for reminding me of the reverse pirouette last night, basically the same as the giravolta but with outside bend as I'd been meaning to try this with the giravolta, opposites always seeming to work. Thanks due to Vicky too (or maybe Mike) as their work at the weekend inspired me to move on to more lateral work in the walk whilst I patiently wait for the trot to come right.
Anything new always *freaks* Moo but at least I now have some *mantras* in place to relax him again (turning with no reins, halting and rein back from the voice and clicker). We have worked on travers /half pass before but it always got him so tight that all the benefits were outweighed by the tensions in his head/ neck. Today after a couple of leg yields along the fence I asked for a couple of steps with the bend changed to travers and after a couple of attempts he was really getting it. I remember an exercise that I used to ride with an old trainer, Inger, where to start the half pass work we rode along the diagonal with the bend for half pass but not in the travers position. Then after a couple of diagonals ridden this way start to put in some steps of travers to add to the bend...this gives a half pass that always thinks and looks forwards instead of a leg yield with the bend changed (oh yes I've seen it trained that way too, eek)
Trot work we used the lifted hand again if he started to lean on my hand and if I keep the trot tempo slow then he can cope with about two large circles before getting too fizzy....slowly, slowly I MUST not be impatient with this, it will come (I hope).
Went back to finish in walk and tried the reverse pirouette, oooh hard work for him and I will work on this in-hand as well but at least he didn't chuck his toys out.
So good and bad as always...some snatching at the bit which hurts my back so I have to find a way round that but he is so flexible that lateral work with him is a joy. Must do some work with the Midget tomorrow.
Final thanks to Mandeigh for joining us on here and in honour a 'pic of Fidge in a montage that Patrick did for an exam about 6 years ago.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I started with some in-hand jaw relaxation, leg stretches etc and then moved on to lunge. After less than ten minutes I was getting a nice soft stretchy trot AND bingo the boy has caught on to the click and double click. I use a soothing *good* to let him know he's on the right track, a click to tell him *yes, spot on* (but keep it up and don't stop for the treat yet) and then the double click for *OK brilliant, stop for your treat*. It works well on the lunge when you don't want them to keep stopping for the treat.
On to the ridden work. Straight away I could tell he was relaxed, no tension in his brain and the walk work was very positive. By that I mean he was able to contain the walk, not rush (well only a little) and we worked on giravolta, leg yield, shoulder-in etc. I found it really helpful to use the counter shoulder in as it helps him to balance better having the fence there and so we moved from counter to true and interspersed this with small circles. His rein back is so much better too as he doesn't lean on my hands and takes really distinct steps now.
Trot work followed and that's where the brain really clicked in; I found if I carried my hands higher but with only a light contact I could raise my hands quickly into the corners of his mouth and get him to take his balance back and off my hands every time he curled back behind my hand. It meant that I could actually put my leg on and ride him forwards....a first!! It probably does look bizare but the trot I got was much better balanced and free from tension, of course my ultimate intention is to return my hands to a lower position once he *gets it*. I only did a short trot session as I think he needs to go slowly (me too) with this work and I'm so happy with our progress that I don't want to wreck it by being impatient.
Off now to give him a nice lunge and some massage.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Well it was a mixed day yesterday but it ended well. It was the most gorgeous sunny day and got to about 8 degrees which felt tropical by comparison to the last few days. I was so excited to ride outdoors and finally try out some of the successes of the last week. I was so lucky to have Lydia take some vid on the camera, not very good quality but bless her she managed to get us in shot all the time. This at least gives me a moment in time to compare with later. I want to see a big improvement in his grass/hay belly as we continue his new work regime, I'm strapping his bum and neck so I'm already seeing a big improvement there, the belly will improve with work, I hope!!
Having had a good lunge session the day before I decided to lunge before riding. Got a really nice stretchy trot after just a few minutes so decided to get on.
You will see from below that he was a good boy for mounting but you will also see his typical head roll/twist after I'm on and he does this unmounted and even hanging around in the field...just another Moo *thang*.
Sorry the vids don't run sequentially....I'm not that clever yet!!
So after mounting he was HORRIBLE, boo, cry.....he felt like he wasn't settled, eyes on stalks (unusual for him) and I almost got straight off because I was so disappointed. However, I'm not about to give up that easily so I just focused on the work, turning from seat, halts without hands, giravolta and suddenly he came to me. Light and listening and managed the BEST leg yield he's ever offered me. In for a penny.... forwards to trot, OK on the left but awful on the right. Changed reins, transitions, little sitting and then back to walk. OMG what had happened? This final walk work was incredibly light and relaxed, didn't want to get off but as the sun had dropped down the sky it was getting cold. At least we finished with a smile on our faces.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Next door's donk in the cold this morning.
Yesterday I was determined not to ride in the barn but the ground was solid and the temperature never got above -4 so I did some in-hand work instead, just to give us a break. Moo was a really good boy, worked at liberty and in the cavesson. He really seems to concentrate well on this work and will now work free on a circle, change rein etc. In-hand we worked on the giravolta, shoulder-in, counter s-in and leg yield and I was pretty pleased with the quality he offered...he's much more up off his shoulders now.
Finished by working on his spanish walk, now moving it on after the jambette so it's raise leg, walk two, raise leg (same leg each time) walk two and it's helping him get a better height with his foreleg. Finished in the centre with jambette but he still struggles not to stamp his foot, slowly slowly I think and lots of patience needed on my part.
Today I rode again in the barn as it is bl**dy freezing, every day I think it can't get colder but it does. Good mounting but full of the *jiggles* just like riding a coiled spring. However, he did settle enough for me to work out a way to help him from curling back on his left rein!! Just ride him a little into the outside rein, not outside bend, more straight but not inside bend either. Then I could keep a light inside rein but be ready to raise it if he dropped back behind me. Can't wait to try this in the trot work.
Just warming up now with coffee and sandwich before braving the elements again to do the yard.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
He tends to get excited at most things and so I've always been content that he stands stillish and as I don't need to use a mounting block I have let him get away with wandering off as I through my leg over. Today seemed the perfect day to start his remedial work. Hooray for CT!! Hand on reins, stand still click/move no click; foot in stirrup, stand still click/move no click and finally swing leg over.....so lots of clicks and treats and then about 10 mounts/dismounts while he stood still in an icy school with the wind up his bum, what a good boy. Hope he remembers tomorrow.
Worked the midget in the barn, leading, halting, walking on, backing up etc...stood really still tied up on the yard for his groom, perhaps he's *getting* it at last.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Today was back to icey cold, nice and sunny but a stiff, cold breeze brrr. Moralejo was the culprit with the beans!! Started on the lunge as I find it really helps to get his back/neck loose and he was going well until he spotted the others in the bottom field! There followed a squeal, a buck, a rear, a rocking horse impression and then all four feet off the ground and p*ss off. He does this horrible canter where he paddles along with both back legs going at the same time as fast as he can, looks like a hare at a dog track and just as fast. I promise you that not many folks would want to sit on him after seeing his displays but he saves it all for the lunge, truly!!
After warming himself up and fully digesting his beans we had some lovely ridden work, the walk/halt/reinback/walk is working it's magic and using a click for the halt is making it really direct. I just need to time a vibration in the rein to keep him light in the jaw through the transitions, at the moment I'm riding one handed to guard my rein hand from coming backwards during the transition; my other hand acts as a *stay* to make sure I'm not cheating.
The trot was better today, riding constant changes of direction from the seat and thighs. Very sweaty horse when we finished, the downside of not rugging or clipping. Just done late hay and he's nice and dry so perhaps it's better to leave nature do her thing.
Hello Di, another eagle eyed friend.