I schooled at Catalpa Corner today with some students and had a great time. When I got home, I decided it was time to jump Auggie over a coop, in case we decide to hunt this year. He did really well. I put the video camera on a tripod and let it roll. Here’s a short clip:
Seriously good day. He was just fantastic with Megan and they both had fun.
On Saturday morning we did the grid that I had set up for the clinic. It was 4 rails on the ground set 8′ apart, 8′ to a cross rail, 9′ to a pole on the ground, 9′ to an ascending oxer. He did very well with it.
Today I was working on him using his right hind leg through turns on the forehand to the left and right, and leg yielding. He is a star at leg yielding to the right, and very tight to the left. i just kept sending him over his topline and he got better and better, though the left is going to need time and reps to become solid.
Auggie was fidgety during grooming, but when I got on him he was really solid. In fact, so much so that I got off and adjusted some jumps so that we could jump a bit. While I was adjusting them, he decided to walk away, went out of the arena, into the field, stepped on his reins and broke the dees on his bitless bridle.
After he allowed himself to be caught, I put a snaffle bridle on him. He went surprisingly well in it and we did a little jumping, which went well. Then out for a hack when he was really quite good, but likes to throw his body around rather than allowing it to be influenced by his rider. That will be our next topic of discussion… Very good day.
I will flesh this post out later, but suffice to say that really being true to the idea that the rider is to put the leg on first and go to the hand second has made a huge difference for the black horse!
Auggie helps me demonstrate the sheer idiocy of trying to take a picture of a black horse on a sunny day when there is snow on the ground.
Missed a few rides in here, so an update. Auggie had a very small amount of blood on his nathe bit about 2 weeks ago, which of course was alarming and it made me remember that his vet had said, after his dental exam and float in December, that in about 3 months he should have a recheck. So I had her out to work on him and she said he was a little uneven, but not too bad. Regardless of all that I started riding him in a Micklem bitless bridle, using the bitless option. I had a little pause when I considered the brilliance of riding a horse who came in third in a grades stakes race in a bitless bridle, but I let that thought go, another leave on the river of unnecessary worry. So, yes, just leather on his head. He LOVED it. He was much softer over his topline and took a bigger step in his trot and canter. He also jumped in a much rounder manner. There are miles to go, but this was a very good step.
So today, I put him in the bitless bridle and went for a hack with Magee and Charlie. Auggie had been kind of a basket case on a recent ride with Magee and Eddie when he had a bit in, but he was much improved today. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues and whether/when it will work to transition him back to a bridle. The only reason that would be necessary would be for dressage. He can compete all other phases of eventing or foxhunt without a bit, no worries. We’ll see what the horse says.
Today, after warmup, we worked a little more in lengthened canter. I asked him to lengthen down the long side and shorten on the short sides. The first time I asked him to go, I got nearly no response. The second time, he went forward and lengthened a bit. The third time, he did a very hesitant buck as if he was afraid of being chastised for lengthening his canter. I still sent him forward and he went. He also came back very nicely.
After that we did some jumping. He grows more confident all the time.
We had a fairly thorough warm up, working on accepting rein contact in transitions, starting with walk halts. He is getting better and better. Then we moved on to jumping the in and out, starting out with cross rail to small vertical, then moving on to vertical to vertical and finally vertical to vertical at about 2’3″, turn and to the skinny, which he jumped really well, stayed straight and calm.
It occurred to me during this process that in canter, we need to work on lengthenings and collection. He needs help getting comfortable coming forward into contact in canter. Another bit of flatwork to address. Fun. Good day.
Today we worked on lateral work and transitions. He is concerned about the leg and sometimes over-reacts, so I am just going back to basics to help him understand what is required, which will help him be more confident and relax. Some nice work today.