Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Discipline and planning

Pic.: Moulting horses - the joys! 

The weakest link throughout my ridden work is lack of schooling plan. I can discipline my riders well and work them progressively and towards goals I set in my head for them and their horses but when I school myself I don't seem to be planning as well as I would like. Which is bad as I know I don't get the results I would want. It's even worse to know that when I do plan and discipline myself throughout the schooling session I have the best of rides.
This considering I decided to never again school randomly and to really think what I am doing until it becomes a second nature.
And surprise, surprise - had the best rides for ages on both horses I schooled this morning.
One of them was on a 5 year old, super young horse, green as grass but such a pleasure to work with. Sadly for sale and will probably be snapped up quickly. 
I walked him round for good 10 minutes just thinking what shapes to ride to get him better etc So the rule No.1 is - no longitudinal flexion means no lateral flexion. This in mind I put him on a figure of eight and encouraged him to trot very slowly in as best a rhythm as possible and to stretch forward and out while staying active. At first he was rather unsettled in the contact but then got the message and started taking the rein down and forwards. 
Once I was happy with that I started bending him around my inside leg but really using the outside more to make sure he wasn't just yielding or drifting. Again at first he was quite resistant and just moved away from my leg instead of around it but I persevered in walk and then in trot and after very short time he started feeling much more supple on the outside, took a very nice contact on the outside rein and his rhythm improved too. 
Then I rode him as I used to ride Hamlet as per Anna Ross-D. instructions: asking for bend on circles and half-circles or serpentines and immediately follow that with transitions. This is apparently to put together exercises that improve longitudinal (this is a funny word by the way  - quite a mouthful for me to say it!!!)  flexion and balance - transitions - with lateral gymnastics. So as an example, I would ride a half-circle left in walk, then ask for trot right upon reaching the wall. 
It worked super with this horse and I was pleased I didn't just go 'round and round in circles' as I tend to do too many times! Still plenty to improve on that though. 
So, no more wasting time on random work.

I finished the day taking my afternoon group out for a hack and they rode very well! 



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