Friday, October 9, 2009

the next steps

My plan was to develop my thoughts towards the next stage of training. That is the work that follows the basics, if you think of it in terms of competition levels then it's elementary/medium (sorry you overseas guys but the stuff like medium trot, half pass, shoulder-in simple/flying changes etc). This is when we expect to see the horse in true self carriage, able to perform lateral work with ease, with energy and in an unceasing rhythm. The engagement is upped and collection has started to be the focus of our training but only enough to perform the required tasks. This is the exciting point for me, so much promise and some good work already under the belt, and the horse...about 7-8 years old and strong enough to continue to even more collection when asked.
Whilst I will throw a few words in the direction of the uber advanced work in a later post, at the moment I think this is where bitless has lead me and will leave me (until Moo gets his knickers straight and we progress in rapidity ,lol) 
So we're a little off target (Moo being 13 now) and we have some higher level work in place because of our past lives but really we're working on the elementary work of basic collection.So I'll share our previous few days work to give an idea where all this bitless info has sent me!
Aside from hacking off down the fields or up through the village we spend on average 3 hours a week in the school. After my  first experience with the cordeo I was hugely impressed, this is for me the biggest test of your aids and determines whether your horse is 'in tune' with you.
So every session starts with some in-hand work in the cordeo, the biggest problem initially being how to influence the head and neck to achieve inside (or indeed outside) bend. The cordeo really doesn't give any idea of bend and so it has to be a vocal or visual cue and I've found a finger pointing to where I want the nose to be is the best method yet. Basically I ask for direction indicating (with a pointing finger) from a standstill via a walk on and then click/treat the desired behaviour. This is like magic!
Riding today I used the cordeo but with the bitless backup (like a second pair of reins) to stop in a hurry if necessary.
What was truly amazing was the fact that I could practice my hands on the cordeo without upsetting his mouth and at the same time I knew for sure he had nothing in the hand as long as I rode only off the cordeo. EVERYONE should ride like this at leastonce in a while. Off for beauty sleep now, xxx Trudi


Kate said...

The cordeo sounds very interesting - will follow what you are doing closely and perhaps give it a try ourselves at some point.

Anonymous said...

I, too, think the cordeo sounds an interesting exercise/challenge. I do a lot of inhand work with my neds, but not sure I would succeed with the cordeo. Our arena is surrounded by lovely grassy areas and you know what they say about 'grass being greener'.... !!

Sheila (in cooler/wetter/greener MK)

Danni said...

All your posts about the cordeo work have me itching to get home and try it as soon as my horse is sound!