Monday, November 10, 2014

Sexy Weekend Pics

um yeah. Also he has great hair.
Can we all just start by appreciating how ridiculously sexy my horse is right now? His weight is perfect, his hair is great, and yeah, totally loving my clip job.

Anyways. It's been a doozie of a week/weekend and I am not exactly in fighting shape here, so when S showed up to teach us on Saturday I sort of whimpered and whined and then she rode C-rage instead of me.

We meet again upside down neck
Given the shenanigans lately, I just wanted another perspective on what I was even supposed to be doing with one fit, good looking, arrogant thoroughbred.

S honed in on our problems right away. She also said Courage is a nice horse to sit on. I'm a sucker for compliments, so I'll take it.


The red circle on the picture is where Courage holds all his tension. He has a short neck and the moment he un-relaxes, that spot gets tense and blocks up all his energy.

Cool fall pic to make up for no lesson pics
And that is no bueno.

It happens in the walk and trot some, but a lot in the canter. Because S was in the saddle, I had her work on it and talk me through what I needed to do to take the next step forward.

The essence of it is that we need to do 3 things:
1) LOTS OF CANTER. He can't improve a gait he isn't working in.

2) Longer neck. Courage has a short neck, but that's not the problem. He needs to carry it a little lower and longer especially in the canter and build the muscles that allow him to be strong in that frame.

ogilvy doesn't match pad. it hurts me.
3) Ribcage control. To this point, when I've asked Courage to shorten his frame, he's compensated for himself by popping his ribs out one way or another. That isn't useful.

Oof. After watching S work Courage for a while (a long while), I hopped on and got a feel for what she was doing. My favorite thing she said was when we were talking about teaching a skill to a horse. She pointed out that at first we reward the horse for a correct response by walking and releasing pressure, but "horses don't get motor memory by not doing something". (It's a double negative, but the point stands.)

Which is to say, it's time to canter and canter and canter and build strength, stamina, and correct muscle memory.

He was REALLY in to selfies. Like more than me.
I crawled into the saddle on Sunday and was presently surprised by how willing Courage was to rehash the things from our lesson. It's not perfect by any means, but I could definitely see the progress both in my riding and his responses.

So here's to a new era of rolling forward in the canter with effective legs (me) and improved straightness (Courage).

And all the things.

I know I sound a little more incoherent than usual. It's probably because I'm so excited for our longtime friend and photographer Ellie buying a mare from my barn and starting her own blog! Go CHECK THEM OUT!!


  1. I'm digging the starry butt

  2. Chrome is getting an upside down neck too so I can empathize with you. :/ I'm glad the lesson was productive for you to watch. You'll get it back in no time. Also yes he is very sexy!!

  3. Sounds like a productive lesson. Good luck keeping it up! :)

  4. the neck can be such a useful tool in gauging bend and relaxation!

  5. sounds like lots of good stuff to work on! and very nice that your trainer likes him so much :)

  6. so so smex. Love the OTTB love. and clip job.

  7. I have a Haffie with a matchink upside-down neck...

  8. Loki had a similar issue even though he does not have a short neck. All last winter we worked on just cantering in the indoor and it really, really helped.

  9. Yay for trainer rides, compliments & homework. All sounds positive and achievable, keep up the fab work! ☺
    I glad you said E was starting a blog, I was hoping this would be the case - LOVE her photos!!!!

  10. "He can't improve a gait he isn't working in"
    So true. I guess I should canter more too...

  11. !
    Canter, the problem and the solution. ugh. :P


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