Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saddle up!

I always planned Indy would spend time with my instructor, Trisha Wren, as I love the results she gets from horses. I will take Indy to one of the 4-day Peggy Cummings clinics in December & wanted her to be ready for that.

I would have liked Indy to head up for schooling with Trisha in, say, March, or April, or May. Given that she just wasn't READY to be ridden that soon (I didn't get on her until July and only had two very short rides then) & I hadn't done all that much groundwork due to her Top Secret status, the 'plan' was a *tad* unachievable...

I floated her up for a one-day Intensive clinic with Trisha at the end of August, following her one night at home to see whether she and Scarlett would get on together. I was the only one to brave the weather. It meant I had Trisha all to myself & we could go at Indy's speed.

The more we do, the more holes show up from her backing/starting/general education before she arrived here. The CR work (groundwork in particular) helps get her through those holes.
She is very different from side to side; I wonder if she had a significant amount more handling on one side (or, none at all on the other). Asking from her 'good' side is often met with heaviness, whereas on the 'bad' side there is just no reaction. She simply does not get that I want her to DO something on that side.

Playing around with groundwork showed us she needs to spend more time out on one line at the moment, as it seems to help her take responsibility for herself, the contact, her rythym and her stride. She became much steadier in her contact when she was just that little bit further away from the handler. It also directly - and positively - affected her connection with a handler back at her side.

Picking up two lines is a LOT of input at this stage, as is too much rotation or asking for a particular thing for even half a stride too long. She really drops back into first gear... If I am lucky I can pre-empt the 'stall' and keep her moving. Her tendency to stall involves PLANTING her feet and swinging her hindquarters out ('facing up').

After groundwork, we took her to the yard for a rest. Trisha was going to do a first Equine Touch session (Indy is one of her case studies). As she gathered the info for her forms, I brushed and tacked Indy up so she was ready to ride.

Trisha led Indy to the arena & I carried my mounting block. Scarlett doesn't react so I forgot that I'd never dumped it on the ground near Indy... oops!!! She jumped a mile. We spent the next few minutes asking her to step closer, finally resorting to a handful of oats on top which helped her realise the Big Scary Mounting Block wouldn't eat her  ;)

I rode for 15 or 20 mins. Go, Stop, Left and Right. She volunteered a trot twice. The secont time we accidentally went over some trotting poles... without faceplanting! I figured that was enough for a big day out in a strange place and it was a good note to end on.

After the Equine Touch session was finished, I floated her back to Cobham Drive. She travelled quite well though was a little hot and sweaty at the end of the 45-minute trip.

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