|Posing for peppermints. It's the only way.|
Interestingly, about half way up the first hill, Cuna just arched his neck and pranced right on up. If he was a normal, bendy horse, I would have said he connected through his topline, went onto the bit, and carried himself. Since this is Cuna, I just say pranced. It was a fun feeling while it lasted.
That brings us to today. I wanted to get him out and just do some nice, forward, long and low type work to make sure he was comfortable and not just standing around getting stiff. Of course, what I think of when I think "long and low" and what Cuna think of are not the same thing.
|Shamelessly kypped off google - not me|
Do not ask me why I envisioned my ride going like this.
Anyways. I spent a good long time walking and trying to move Cuna off my legs. He was ok, but a little quick. In keeping with the general dressage-ish principles I know, I put my leg on and picked up a little contact before asking for a trot.
As per his normal, Cuna stuck his nose straight out in the air and trotted off.
Well, ok. I put a loop in the rein, thinking we would have this nice, powerful, forward stride.
Cuna fell on his forehand and got quicker and quicker, nose still out in the air.
This was obviously going nowhere productive. Also, the old guy clearly feels fine. I ditched the magical dressage picture in my head and focused on riding the horse under me. I noticed that he got quicker and fell towards the gate, the bulged out near the gate, then got behind my leg and slowed as we went away from it. Maybe we can't be magic, but we can have a consistent tempo. I used my posting to regulate his stride, and gave him a kick when he backed off.
Then I picked up a little more contact. We did figure eights in one end of the arena. The individual loops were small enough that I had to really concentrate to keep him straight down center line, then bend(ish) around the circles while staying off my inside leg and on that even tempo.
After a few loops, I noticed that Cuna was staying balanced and connected. Instead of sticking his nose out like a pony, he came on to the bit a little bit and pushed off his hind end. Yes, I had about 60 pounds in my hands, but that's par for the course with us.
It wasn't the magical dressage ride I wanted, but it was the best sustained dressage work I have ever seen out of him.