The Road to First Level
I have been absent from HF for a lot of the summer and beginning of fall due to life just being hectic, from 4 job interviews, working as a groom for region 6 championships, my last move, my father passing away as wells a couple of good friends passing away un expectedly:-( Then I somehow survived and walked away from loosing control of my car and putting it into a tree at 45mph and have been recovering from that.... So a lot has been going on!! Busy to say the least!
Thankfully Oliver has kept me sane through all of it. He's been my rock through this emotional roller coaster and driven me to just keep on keepin on!!
We are currently schooling training level in our warm ups like it is nothing and making the workout all about incorporating first level work into our ride.
The last two weeks of lessons have proven my hard work and determination.
In lesson 1, two weeks ago now we introduced a fabulous new canter/trot exercise that he took to 10x better then we expected. I worked with him just a couple times with him on it, really figured out how to control the haunches while keeping the shoulders free and coming around with out him falling out or on the FH.
Yesterday's lesson was just a great confirming ride. We did the canter/trot exercise and improved it even more. My hopes with this exercise and working it for a couple more weeks is that transitions in and out of canter will be there, not tense or rushed...our canter will be much more balanced.
We also asked for more shoulder in, and I was able to find the way my body needs to be to free him up, not hold him back and cut his movement off!! Guess what we really had, felt, rode shoulder in!
We also drilled more steps of trot leg yield, what helped me was really again letting go of the inside rein, opening my outside slightly and swinging my leg not as far back with a poke poke with the spur, but with each two pokes I would half halt him and really try to not let him run off...it was also better geometry, center line to the letter and INTO the corner.
We are thinking lengthening, power, bold, active hind end on our trot diagonals. Again working on being dead on with the geometry, straight and riding him into the corners....but getting light dancing trot steps in the corners, really reining the trot in after pushing for so much impulsion.
I'm excited, things are going great, I want this winter to be the difference between showing first level and riding each movement to a T and owning each movement!! Thank goodness there is a lot of time!!
I'm hoping that in the next couple weeks I will have some clips of these things to share and open up for some critique.
I hoping the rain goes away for a bit today, it can come back when I clean pastures and go get stall bedding....:wink:
I'm posting two pictures from last week, after clipping him I can see his body much better. These first two photos will so to say be my "before" shots"
I cannot wait to see that transformation to the after "after"
Great first post in your journal. Looking forwards to reading more about your progress :D
10/25/13 Holy smokes, lets blow up why don't we!? Jeez O, really!!
Ooo someone thinks using there weaker hind leg means he can throw fits .... Big not okay fits :shock:
Hard to feel bad for the guy when you know it's just him trying to get me to fight him, to forget everything iv been working so hard on...such as let go with my hands, only use for contact and half halts...to open my chest more and keep my hip angle open with relaxed knees... Oh boy was he fighting just getting off my inside leg and into the outside rein.
We had a talking to.....leaping into the air and yanking the reins out of my hands to straight away hunch his back.... Big no no..... He worked himself into a sweat.
It was all I could do not to start ripping molars out just for my poor backs sake, and shoulders....and neck. Lol
But I just talked out loud, yelled, breathed did everything I could to not get into that fight....
Lots of inside leg, very very steady outside rein. Half halting big every other stride, big bumps with my inside leg....breathing, relaxing my inside rein but not giving it away, opening my hips and knees up more to free up his shoulders for 10 meter trot circles to make him get on that outside rein, off my inside and keeping his hind end active but coming around with my outside leg... So many 10 meters....so many half halts but you know what, we got it. He took a chill pill and decided maybe he would like to get on with the ride other then circle circle, change through a figure eight and back to the circle circle lol
He got really tense through my downward transitions from our fun canter exercise but I was able to stick to my guy, if the first 10 meter was not good enough no rush to go back out and canter, no. We would circle again, my legs quietly on him new outside rein there for him and inside relaxed....not given away again but not pulling him around at all either. Our transitions up where just that, up cause he was now sitting into the canter! A couple soft more rounds and they where not so bouncy and bit flowed in upward smooth way, really sitting really using his back and able to get two downward trot transitions without with even thinking of spazzing... This was both ways did we get two correct up and down transitions....he was very much done after that....only a 35 minute ride but felt much longer...
What a snot he can be when he decides the work is getting to hard and he'd rather be lazy and slack off...
I feel for me to stick to my gut, not get big and angry like I VERY much felt like doing was big for me....we got through our first really big battle on using that right inside hind...I think one reason he fought so much is because I have been really working on keeping my inside hand as quiet as I can without throwing the reins away and keeping a soft contact.....and my outside rein stay put and insist he sit with my inside leg....no more hmm im good or no not this circle look at the sky!! Or screw you let's just collapse on the forehand....
This is going to be a big hump in our training to get up and over but once we do I think things will be great!!
I am so pleased we got to end on a good note....he was a happy dopey eared slobbery mess when I got off....begging for cookies since he sucked it up and was a big boy!!
All I could hear all while he was pulling this baby evasive crap was my trainer....in my head....screaming don't let him just bully you!! Get him on that outside rein NOW....Do that 10 meter again, Get into those corners! Release the inside, relaxe your lower legs. Half halt!! :shock: I was so ready to be done when he was fighting, just because my body has not been jolted around that much since my car accident:-(
But today we got through it. Tomorrow we will see what we have...
Here are some amusing pictures of the snotty dork...
I am off for a hot shower and then ice on my back with a side of extra strength Tylenol so I can get right back to it tomorrow!
What I'm so warm and cute bundled up in my fleecy getting grass!
I'm sorry for throwing a fit.....it's hard to use my butt....really hard!
Please tell me I am good, I tried really hard after getting spanked and going on a million circles!
And this is how I found him for my lesson the other day, no no really it's Ollie not a walking mud cake.....okay maybe a walking mud cake with two ears and four legs....:wink:
10/27/13 Thank You for Finding your Brain!
Exactly as the title says!
It's been a hectic day and so glad I got on him tonight. He wanted to really go backto the last ride of being rude, evasive and defensive as all get out but I just talked to him in a very positive voice, cheering him on from in the saddle and correcting him verbally as well as physically (quickly, release and move on) a tap from the whip, thump from the leg and a "ahh No!" Allay once popped ip him back to reality each time...still was naughty but compared to Fridays nightmare of a ride much progress!! One step at a time!
I really warmed him up a lot at just the walk, lots of changes of direction, pushed for more within our shoulder in, he taught it alright but settled in with my positive talking and presistence....lots of persistence, :shock:
Right now we are doing fabulous clockwise at walk and trot...
Change rein and wow....he does not like getting on board with this whole chapter of SIT and ACTIVATE that right hind leg....really instigating me to fuss and try to pull molars out with that right rein....buy no I must stay on course, strong, fight the urge...:evil: **** it is so hard sometimes....getting so caught up in just 10 strides I can't see 15 strides ahead of me....something I'm really having to work on for myself, breathing weight down, circling on a 15-10 meter asking him to stay straight and keep the haunches following around and shoulders open and free....set up again for shoulder in....just circle always better then getting into it....just circle....maybe this is something I should rehearse before bed and when I get up like a prayer?! Haha
Our canter, wow today we hardly had to work on it, much more engaged to sit and trot much more balanced steps right away and off my inside leg, very much into my outside rein and switching inside to outside on our 10 meter trot to rebalance was quicker, smoother for me! Going into canter after our trot circle we didn't POP so much but more so eased into it much smoother, not slower or more trot steps but more connected...inside hind, belly up, shoulders free, arms breathing and following with poll soft and throat-latch open and even contact in both reins...able to look up around my circle, able to think ahead to my next movement....
At the end we got a great stretchy trot. Over his back into the hands evenly, shoulders, ribs and hips like play dough.
Very very pleased with today's ride!!
Riding again in the morning before work in the afternoon.
Here is a rather good picture of the boy after today's good workout!!
Bummed cause I was too sick to ride yesterday before work!!
But today I'll be out riding!!
Very exciting news....Beth-Ness is coming for a day of lessons on nov. 16th!!!
That gives me right around 3 weeks to get ready for that and really pin point what I want to work on!!
Eeee, so happy!
Stoked to be reading this new journal. Oliver is lovely! I particularly like the last picture you posted. He's so handsome!
10/29 more canter and a real lengthening across the diagonal!!
Such a good boy today!! Really kicked his right ribcage and activated that right hind today!! Progress...he wasn't happy but I need more and it needs to be more consistent in the contact... So I pushed...talk to him and drove him up into that bridle without using my inside rein!
He was fabulous at walk shoulder in, bumped him up to trot and played with shoulder in and shoulder fore, only asked fore 4-6 strides of shoulder in and back to shoulder fore, putting a 10 meter trot before I asked for the shoulder in so he would be a little better set up and confirmed on that outside rein.
In our canter work I decided to play around with the exercise to strengthen and build stanima while also keeping him on his toes. :wink:
I started out doing the exercise like I normally do but the second time after trotting our 10 meter I pushed him to stay in canter on the 20 meter circle two rounds instead of on, then when we did come down I sat so deep and got him to dance around the 10 meter on his hind legs and evenly in both hands off my inside leg...did the two canter circles again then two trot circles and pushed for three circles in the canter, he broke so I pushed him for a fourth and he stayed with me and came down much quicker and kept coming around!! Then back around for just one canter circle! He was like no mom I can keep going!! This fun!:D we did that the other way, was harder n the right lead of course but not as bad as I thought it was going to be!
We did out leg yields at the trot, not the most through we've gotten but not bad....
I worked hi, a solid 5-10 minutes on trot lengthenings across the diagonal, he broke into canter once so I really worked on timing my half halts with my bump of the spur and sitting the trot, big open trot rythem... He really came back in the corners well for me, did brace or putter out on him, powered through but stayed light and balanced!! A lot of fun!!:wink:
We have a lesson tomorrow :wink:
Very much looking forward to it!!
11/3/13 & 11/4/13 schooling rides
Well its been a hectic week for me and I have just not gotten the time to sit down and post a progress picture and write down a little of what we have done in our last two rides!
No riding today or tomorrow, today its gross and rainy and tomorrow I am working early and not getting off until late :-(
Ill start with Sundays ride:
We where stiff, and locked up in the jaw. I kept it short. drilled our canter exercise and worked on softening his jaw. Not a whole lot was done after a couple days off and I was just so tried from my new job. Kept it short and simple so I didn't get in a argument with my hands and his face haha
Yesterday, Monday's ride I worked him a bit harder, drilled our canter, worked the walk and trot leg yields and really focused on keeping the neck and shoulders straight, I tend to hold far to much with my inside mostly left hand and create a bend from his poll to inside shoulder and it just all falls apart as I am sure you can imagine:oops: So i had to breath more with my core while supporting him with my upper outside thigh and bump/half h-alt/bump with the inside to outside leg/rein.
He sure tattled on JUST how much I was using that left inside rein and not just supporting lightly...MY BAD...:oops:
I lessend my hold, had to shove my hand a inch or two up more for the first couple times to get my brain to tell my hand to let go of his inside jaw....
"why are you not pulling my head around anymore....what do you mean go straight....there's no resistance on that inside rein...no!! *Proceeds to grab bit and leap through the air plunging into the outside rein.....* WOW REally O?! No...just NO...Lets not be 4 years old...just go off that leg slowly and quietly....:think:
We eventually got it nice and smooth with more then 2 baby steps over into that outside rein....my body just messes us up all over the place after I FIX it....BAD ME! BAD!
Worked our canter exercise twice, now that we added a full lap around the arena if he is balcned (falls out of blance 1/2-3/4 of the arena and gets all lopsided as if we are going to switch in the back....Needs work haha:shock: A LOT. Still...:oops:
Sadly the weather is NOT on our side to go ride this week and I can only hope the arena isn't a sloppy mess by Friday morning.... ugh
Anywho, here is a progress report picture...from yesterday :wink:
Loving this journal... I love the way he looks extremely peed off in the last picture :)
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