Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Training Wheels Come Off


When I first started riding Courage, I was just so thrilled that he was quiet and easy that I didn't get too worked up about his way of going. Then he got his first trainer ride.We decided that he needed to go in a martingale for the foreseeable future. It wasn't a long term solution, but his default was a giraffe impression and he had no concept of giving to the bit. 
So for the past six weeks, we've worked hard on contact. I tend to be lackadaisical about it, but I really do want him to grow a topline, so I'm trying to be better. 
And he looks cute doing it
We've progressed in leaps and bounds--he's actually started to offer some really nice stretch and figure out what I'm looking for. He's also learning to move off my leg and go (sort of) straight. 

Demonstrating a very nice stretch
That said, every time redheadlins watched me ride, she'd tell me to take more contact before releasing--basically, I wasn't giving Courage enough of a difference to understand what the question was. I thought that was weird. It certainly felt different to me. 

And then she hit upon the problem--I like really light contact and I was getting it from the martingale. When I thought I was just holding a little bit, he didn't feel a thing. Oops. 

So today, we took a big step forward. I took the martingale off the breastcollar. It accomplished it's purpose--C-rage no longer carries his head among the clouds and I have the security of knowing that I don't need it's additional leverage to handle him. 

The whole feel was completely different. Don't get me wrong--the martingale served a very useful purpose and I may very well pull it out again if I feel the need, but we've taken another step forward. I had the most purposeful and interesting ride today--I made some progress I am really excited to build on. We even started working on cleaning up our walk/trot transitions, which are something of a hot mess. 

I was going to do more, but our favorite trainer was around and some fun baby jumps were set up and THERE ARE PICTURES, but I need to get them from someone else's phone. Sheesh. Are all baby horses this much fun? 

16 comments:

  1. I don't think all baby horses are that fun...but the good ones are!

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  2. Yes, the good ones are this fun!! :) Me and you have the best babies- duh! I actually watched a video last night on youtube about horses and how they use their backs. It was really interesting. It correlated to this post perfectly because it talked about how when horses go around with their heads straight up they are evading using their back muscles. They have to pull up with their back to lower their head and we as riders have to encourage that. Its not until they lower their head that their movement is what is actually suppose to be. It showed how differently the legs move at the trot with the different usages of their back. Very interesting. Great job with Courage! He is definitely getting there & that's all due to your good work!

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    1. Would love to watch this video, please share.

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  3. I was wondering when you were going to lose the martingale. ;) Sorry, that's just the Dressage Queen in me talking, I need to tell her to shut up!

    But, really, with a young or green horse and especially with a TB, the first thing you need to worry about is engaging the hind end. The head and neck will come later, as you build strength over the back. They cannot really give to the bit until they've learned to drive with the hind end. And TBs are very, very good at faking it!

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    1. But i also can't get him to drive from behind until he loosens his back, which can't do with his head braced straight up in the air. Catch 22.

      Hopefully, we're making strides now.

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  4. You can always ride with the martingale on/off so y'all don't learn to rely on it constantly but it's there when you predict you may need it.

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  5. aww fun what a great step forward!

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  6. Yay! Have you tried draw reins? I have found a couple rides in them help.

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  7. NO!!! Baby horses are NOT all this fun! Some are evil little hellions..... You got SUPER DUPER LUCKY!! I'm so excited for you, Courage is such an awesome match for you! Can't wait to see the jumping pictures! :D

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  8. Hahaha, I think they are! It's all about keeping the expectations realistic. Sounds like Courage is getting the idea, they get so sexy looking when their neck beefcakes out!!!

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  9. Thanks for your nice comment about the enthusiasm! :) I have a problem with contact too- I really like a light feel, and my trainer is constantly telling me to take more of a feel (uh, like today in our lesson- "take a stronger feel in your outside rein, he's looking for you and you're not there!") so I feel you there... glad you got to take off the training wheels! he looks great :)

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  10. I agree with Ashley, GOOD babies are super fun! The good ones are kinda even fun when they're naughty/being spunky. I like a contact and often wonder if some would think my horse is a little too heavy. He doesnt pull or anything (unless he's being testy), but you have something in your hands to work with for sure!

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  11. Speaking as someone who has ridden about twenty million of them in the last couple of weeks: NO THEY ARE NOT ALL FUN! I'm glad you got a good one. :D

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  12. Courage is definitely the fun sort of baby horses :) Yay for progress and I can't wait to see the pictures.

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