Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

We were in the Doom Bubble again today. Usually it's just our lessoner friend in with us, but someone scheduled a beginner lesson at the same time today. As a result, Izzy and I had to stay on the same end with our friend to avoid mowing over the beginner. We had to do a lot of lengthening and shortening since the lesson horse moves quite slowly. I've noticed that Izzy seems to tighten her body, then drag down on the bit, and completely ignore my body. In large part, I think that's due to me getting stiff, which isn't exactly helped by the cold. She gets better if I change the bend every couple strides, but it's still not great. We couldn't do many spirals today because there were other people around.

Oh well. We worked really hard. When Katie rode Izzy, she said that she knew the aids, but commented that our half halt/brakes weren't that good. I feel like I finally have Izzy going pretty well forward, so now we need to learn to slow down. We did a lot of big trot to shorter trot transitions, but it would take me a whole short side to get her to slow down. Ugh. Definitely need more work there. I'm thinking we may take some time to do what Frizzle is doing with Salem. Still, it's a pretty new concept for her because so much of our time has been spent going forward. I'm really looking for more quality downward transitions, both in and between gaits. She has a tendency to lose all her forward energy in a transition instead of going forward and down... if that makes any sense.

Cathy's out of town this weekend, but I'm hoping we can get on the lesson schedule next week sometimes. Beyond that, do you have any exercises that will help with softening us up?


  1. Ah, yes, I know the feeling well. I always think of riding my downwards transitions forward, as if we are still going rather than stopping...if that make any sense. Hesitations...trot, a stride of walk, then trot again immediately help all of that a lot.

    Sounds as you both have conquered the worst of the bubble of doom! Way to go!

  2. That's the one nice thing about riding with beginners, you get lots of practice with transitions. *lol*

    Losing momentum in the downward transitions is an extremely common problem, we've all gone through it at some point. It's one of those hurdles every rider has to clear. I try to remember to ride the downward transition just as much as I would an upward transition. You're still driving the horse forward into the contact, the only thing that should change is the horse's gait. Big trot to short trot transitions are a great way to ease into transitions between gaits. Once you've got those down, the exercise Jean suggested is great.

    And don't forget the most important concept: It's always the rider's fault!


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