Elsa starts to relax in canter

I brought Elsa in and tacked her up.  She was perfectly polite.  I got on and she was relaxed in walk nearly immediately.  Then on to some pretty nice trot work, mostly relaxed and when not, easily correctable.  In canter she had some moments of being balanced over her feet.  The key is  helping her relax over her topline, as we have discussed.

She did very well today.  If you have been riding her lately, you are doing correct work and she is a good horse.  If you haven’t been riding her, she is a good horse.  🙂

Harley pitches a glorious fit

So I brought him in and groomed him and put the side reins on.  I took him out to the arena and stopped to shut the gate.  When I asked him to move again he gave a small rear.  I turned to look at him and suggested he get over himself.  He started to back up.  I released all pressure.  He was about 5 feet away from me when he decided to start trotting and then cantering around the arena.  I shut the arena door and went to a corner to watch.

And there were fireworks to watch.  I believe what I witnessed was a tantrum.  He cantered and bucked and straight-legged bronced, and did all manner of hysterics.  I let it run its course.  It actually took about 5 minutes which is a pretty long time.

When he stopped, I went up to him and petted him and attached the lunge line and put him to his usual work.  He eventually came around to lovely politeness.

lunging

He stood very nicely in the cross ties and as I was grooming him it occurred to me that he hasn’t been ridden in 8 days.  I thought I might lunge him first.

That was a pretty good idea because he was pretty exuberant on the lunge line.  It ended up being a lunge lesson in proper behavior.  He came around beautifully and was quite the gentleman at the end.

He is quite the character, by the way.  He really likes interaction and loves to have his face rubbed1

Forward

I rode him during a lesson with Kelly.  I did a lot of walk work and he was coming over his back nicely.  Trot started to swing as well, but he is still somewhat stuck in canter.  Some nice improvement.

Wheeeeee!

Taz is proud of himself at the end of the ride.

Tag is proud of himself at the end of the ride.

So I brought him in and tacked up and he stood very nicely.  The rope halter may have had something to do with it or it could be that I gave his face a nice brushing and massage.  He liked the massage a lot.  I rode him in my Micklem bridle with the french link snaffle.  Some horses have trouble stretching to a slow twist because they can’t trust it, so I decided to take that out of the equation.

I took him out into the arena and he seemed a little light on his toes.  We went forward to continue with the walk work we did yesterday and he was doing pretty well until he was so far behind my leg that I booted him one (no spurs on) and he took off across the arena in a strong canter.  We got that straightened out and then went back to the walk work, which started to come through nicely, then on to trot.

He was not really about coming forward, let alone through, in the trot.  It took quite a while to get it and he wanted to canter rather than really trot forward.  He also wanted to take his attention elsewhere for any reason.  He put in a good shy at the east gate and when not shying at it, wanted to turn toward it as we went by.  Same with the north gate.  The south gate, where his friends are, never produced a shy.  This is classic “coming off the aids” and is not terribly desirable. By the end of the session he got it and we were both quite pleased.

I put him in his stall to rest and enjoy a flake of hay and cool out while I rode Elsa.  He actually rolled in the stall without any major difficulty.  Not idea, but amazing!

I brought him out of the stall and brushed the sawdust off him and required him to stand still with his neck down without being tied in the aisle while I put his blanket on.  This was a bit of a stretch for him, but he was mostly successful.  Good job, Tag!

Leg yield

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Elsa creates some shadow art

I got on and she stood very nicely, which was lovely.  In walk, she came over her topline and soft in the bridle almost immediately.  Trot took a little longer, but it came through, so we moved on to trot leg yield in which it was (predictably) difficult for her to stay on elastic contact, with the leg aids that have to happen.  She did improve quite a bit thought.

We worked on trot to canter transitions and I was placing my legs lightly on her to ask for the bend without asking for the canter, which she at first was pretty not about.  But after a few tries, she allowed the leg to rest on her and responded to it appropriately for the bend and then, when cued, into several quite acceptable canter departs.

After our session I let her loose, supervised, in the arena.  She trotted about a bit and then had a luxurious roll in the sand.

Getting on board

Harley had moments of getting on the clue bus today.  I brought him in and tacked him up and he was very good.  When we started lunging he was very fast on the side of the circle away from the door and then slowed down going past it, where his buddies were.  We discussed keeping the same tempo all the way around and he came to the conclusion that that was probably a good idea.

On the canter work, he had a few moments of naughty, especially to the left as usual.  His work to the right is mostly quite acceptable.  He is coming along!

Day one of the adventure

I brought him in and put him in the cross ties and he was unsettled.  Harley was in his stall cooling  out after his ride, so Tag was not alone.  I worked with him on lowering his neck and relaxing in the cross ties and he was doing well.  When I was putting the saddle on, I reached up to ask him to drop his neck again and he apparently had had enough of it so he decided to pull back.  I had been lazy and used Elsa’s halter to bring hm in, so it was Elsa’s halter he broke when he pulled back.  I will replace the halter because I should have had his on.  At any rate, I re-cross tied him and worked with him to lower his neck and he did.

He was required to walk with his neck down to the arena which he did pretty well.  So I got on and did some walk work asking him to flex laterally until he flexed longitudinally (came over his toppline) and kept his attention on me rather than casting his attention about looking for scary things.  Then I asked him to come forward from behind in to a big walk, which he eventually did.  This was actually a very good start.

More relaxation

I brought her in and tacked her up and went to work.  She relaxed much more quickly in walk today.  We worked more on softer downward transitions, relaxed leg yield and keeping relaxation in canter for longer periods.  She made good progress in all of them.

Fewer tantrums

I tacked him up and put on the side reins.  He was much better on the lunge today, though still had a few minor episodes.  He finished much better than he started, which is the goal.  He’s getting on board.