Bit of a breakthrough today

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Bit of a breakthrough today

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        09-17-2011, 09:55 PM
    Bit of a breakthrough today

    My horse and I both had a sort of "aha" moment today. Phoenix is an incredibly lazy horse pretty much all of the time, it's not that he doesn't like to work or puts up any kind of fight he's just got this resigned "if you must" attitude about him.

    Well today I opened the big arena doors and that seemed to put the wind up his butt slightly so he was more forward than normal. He was trotting round, his pace was pretty steady, not really rushing but also not the pokey fool he usually is and all of a sudden he got really light and springy and he just felt great. I've been trying for a while to get him more forward so he can use his back end better and get under himself more, and I guess I had just the right amount of pressure on the reins and he had just the right amount of impulsion and it all came together.

    The great thing is not only did it come together but it stayed together, he felt more balanced at the walk and when I asked for a trot transition he didn't fling his head up and rush into it, he sprang into it like a graceful gazelle!

    This great leap in his work today did unfortunately make his other flaws stand out more. For instance when he's tracking clockwise around the arena he can stay pretty well balanced through the corner and through 20m circles but when we change the rein he flexes his neck to the outside and cuts the corners and does egg shapes instead of circles. Albeit today he was springy and forward while doing those egg shapes.

    So what can I do better in my riding (i know i'm probably causing this shoulder dropping and outside flexion) to help him flex better and not drop his shoulder? Can anyone recommend exercises we could do to supple him up more on both sides equally? He's been feeling a little stiff on his left side, I do carrot stretches with him.
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        09-20-2011, 09:57 PM
    Don't let him put his head to the outside anytime when your riding. Especially not in corners. Use a stronger inside leg to really make him bend and a strong outside leg to maintain the bend and pace. Squeeze your inside rein to make him turn his head to where he is going. If he doesn't respond to that pull your inside hand toward your hip and slightly up for a stride then release and do it again until you are done with the circle or corner. As for the shoulder dropping, have you tried putting slightly more weight into your outside leg than your inside leg? This sometimes helps horses' balance around their corners. Then for exercises, did you ever try serpentine's with him? This way he has to bend both ways and serpentine's you can adjust easily. I hope this helps! :)
        09-20-2011, 10:54 PM
    If he is balanced tracking clockwise ( to your right) then his left side is ok to be stretched, but tracking to your left, it required him to stretch his right side, so that must be the side that resists stretching, and makes it hard for him to step under with the hind, which is key to keeping the inside shoulder from falling in.

    Do excersizes that make him step crossed under himslef , you know, the insdie rear leg crossing in front of the other rear leg. Maybe turn on the forehand.
    Spiral out and in, at the walk . At the walk you will be better able to correct him if he needs help to stay off the inside shoulder.

    If you can do shoulder in, tracking left.

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