Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Filling in the Blanks

Since my post on Monday was supposed to be about the great day I had on Saturday, I figured I'd actually post about that before getting around to my foot.
My day started out at the lesson barn where I taught two lessons, rode two horses, then taught two more lessons.  A few of my kids have recently started to "move up" in their riding skills and it's been an absolute blast to see them working on new things.  Whether it's trotting off the lunge line for the first time, their first canter, or their first fence I've been loving watching how happy they are to make progress. 
Speaking of progress, a few weeks (months, eek!) ago I wrote about Pit Pat, one of the lesson horses I've been working with to get her "over fences ready" for some of my students.  It's safe to say she's gone above and beyond and is now packing a few of my kiddos over little fences :)
Pit Pat and my little sister this weekend
After the first two lessons I had very productive rides on Montana and Calvin.  Montana WORKED on Saturday because I felt like seeing how far I could push him.  I am constantly waiting for this horse to say he's had enough, to show me his limits, and to shut down but I'm repeatedly blown away by just how game he is.  While he may not always know what I'm asking him when I put the pressure on he always rises to the occassion instead of getting mad.  This horse seriously holds no grudges and is becoming a blast to ride. 

So handsome, and starting to fill out.
We trotted and cantered pretty much nonstop with my main goals to be straight and to start differentiating between trotting and cantering.  Up until this point there didn't seem to be a difference to Montana, so when we would ask him for anything faster than a walk we would just kind of go with whatever he offered us.  We were simply concerned with installing the go button.  Now that he has that down I'd like to see him responding to trot versus canter cues.  He did pretty well with this, and I think by the end of summer the goal of having him solid W/T/C in both directions with straightness is very reachable.
I rode Calvin after Montana and while he started out not so hot I actually ended with a very nice ride.  He was wiggling at the mounting block and instead of turning him back around I ended up mounting with him facing the fence.  The mounting block was directly to his left, so I couldn't turn him that way, and we had very little room to our right before hitting the corner.  I asked him to turn right, knowing he could make the turn even though it was tight, and I think the poor guy got a little claustraphobic/stuck.  He responded by crowhopping down the longside (nice work not picking up your reins before getting on, self) but once I grabbed my reins and got his head up he stopped.  And then just halted and trembled because he was pretty sure he was in trouble.  I patted him, assured him he was fine, and carried on.
For the first time I got him to stretch out the slightest bit at the trot, especially to the left.  He's still very worried about any slack in my reins and doesn't know what to do with his head/neck if it's not curled in a false frame.  There was one point though where I had an entire 20m circle of relaxed, swinging trot that was absolutely gorgeous.  Loving this quirky guy way too much.


  1. Love Montana. He is such a nice horse so far. Sounds like you're doing a lot with them and I bet they are thankful!

  2. That last pic is great. Glad you're enjoying him.

  3. Sounds like everyone is progressing nicely!