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?