Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Had To Write A Post Today

To commemorate one of the best rides I've ever had on my horse. It was short and unremarkable for the first half...we rode in the outdoor arena, in the lovely sunshine, but Miles was not especially forward and I forgot my whip. I decided, you know what? He's not "forward" like a dressage horse should be, but he was listening and had a steady rhythm that was easy for me to post to. He was listening and supple and I thought, "F&#k it". Everything felt so great I refused to push him. We weren't plodding along, make no mistake, and he was working, but not like I know he can. I know, I know dressage sacrilege. Though I do ride in a close contact saddle:)

So began our canter work. To the left? Oh my lovely, lovely boy. I swear he has the canter I dream about. Just gorgeous.

To the right...the first couple attempts we got the wrong lead. Nothing new there. Instead of getting frustrated, or just letting it go, I simply brought us back to a walk and thought, "We WILL get this lead. We just will." So, I worked him at the walk (where I DID push him forward) and concentrated on our connection, and making sure I was sitting straight and assisting him as much as possible. Picking up the trot, I didn't need to ask for forward...suddenly it was there, and he wanted to do what I asked, I swear he did. Our issues in the past, and today, stem from me either asking him when we are not connected and straight, or (since the clinic) he doesn't pick up the canter immediately when I ask for it and ends up on the wrong lead. My timing, I think, is fairly on point, so when I felt him moving straight or slightly bent to the inside, I gave him a STRONG aid, while trying to lift my inside hip at the same time.

Holy shit, it worked. Not once, or twice. FOUR times!!!

This was a HUGE, huge breakthrough for us. I wonder now if he thought I always wanted the left lead no matter what, lolz:) I mean, it's not the first time we've gotten the right lead, but certainly the first time I felt we got it "on purpose" so many times in a row.

The best thing about today was we didn't need spurs, or a whip, or anything else. I never once got frustrated and Miles never got stressed out or worried. We listened to each other and finally figured it out, together. I love this horse so, so much.


  1. Congrats on an awesome ride!

  2. Good Boy Miles!! :)
    Ok, so since we are working on this-did you put your weight on outside and lifted hip on inside when asking for correct lead going to the right?
    What did you do w/ your reins? Did you tip his head towards outside? :)

  3. Whew...I'll try to explain it, but it's hard:) Mostly cause I still don't know what I'm doing, haha:)

    So, I've *heard* it said that you should lift your inside hip to make it easier for the horse to strike off with his inside hind and therefor the correct lead. So I tried to just sort of get my seat out of his way on the inside (like, lifting a butt check:). I try to visualize "lifting" him into the canter with my seat. I didn't want to put more weight in my outside stirrup-it's very subtle but I think it does make a difference. Though god knows I had enough times to practice doing it wrong!

    I didn't do anything with the reins, and his head isn't tipped to the outside. The best I can describe it is he was either traveling very straight, or slightly bent if we were in a corner. The key, for us yesterday anyway, was timing. I had to know just when to cue him (and make sure he was on the aids before anything), and he had to respond and strike off immediately. The problem we were having is either my timing was off, he wasn't connected, or he would wait a stride and strike off on the wrong lead.

    Hope that helps! Strike all this if we fail fantastically at this our next ride:)

  4. I can't wait to try the right lead "butt lift" and see if that helps.
    Thanks for this post! And congratulations on a joyful ride!

  5. Its always such a great feeling when they get what we are asking them to do. Congratulations on a great ride!