Taking it slow (and 2 video clips)

MyveryownJac, a.k.a. Dandy, has been back to work for about 2 weeks now, following a 2 week break. In one week he’ll have another 6 day pause in his training, and it is likely than from early September, I might have to go back to a dayjob and have way less time to spend on him. Dandy02Aug16-01The first sessions back into our training routine were lacking some forward, and we had some rowdy little fights a bunch of times, as I was trying to get him to give me his peak performance again, but he was in a “low” cycle, and that pressure from me resulted in some resistance, and even “testing” on his part. He offered to buck a bunch of times, and when I made it impossible to do that, I felt his thought switching to rearing instead. He never actually pull his frontfeet off the ground, but any sensitive rider who knows his horse very well will understand about feeling them arranging their body to do such or such thing. Since wrestling with my horse is neither very safe, nor the idea I have of good horsemanship, I decide to step back in my training and go back to achieving more basic things perfectly, which is the shortest route to mastery.

Dandy01Aug16-01Re-establish flawless forward was the first step. I noticed that he was way more forward without the saddle than with it, at what point the sweet and implacable logic of my coach Daniel Dauphin was to advise me to saddle him up from the get go, whether I’m about to do groundwork or ride. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t have those brilliant ideas myself…

Dandy04Aug16-01Then I’ve spent a lot of time just walking all over the arena, before I’d even ask for a trot. That resulted in a much smoother transition into that trot, when I finally ask for it. The morale of that story ? Don’t rush it. Allow your horse to warm up mentally as well as physically, and reward every single sign of relaxation he’ll offer, be it stretching his neck of sighing or blowing through his nose (I sure get a ton of this).

Dandy03Aug16-01Dandy in his temporary new home. Much smaller kind of pasture but with a much larger shed, and he can come and go as he pleases. I miss the big pasture, though, where he’d be hidden in the tall grass and come at a gallop when I whistled for him. Good times.

I promised video clips in the header, here they are. Please forget the impossible and much forbidden vertical format, my 13 yr old niece was filming. The first one is our little tarp routine, that is now really quite conquered, as you’ll see HERE. He doesn’t give a damn about the whole thing. The second one is a longer clip that shows the day he was lacking forward the most, but I still practiced steering and moving the shoulder over at the lope. Daniel advised me against that much counter cantering and lead changes (not flying, mind you, he goes back to the trot for a stride or two, than pick up the correct lead, and all of this on his own, I don’t specify anything). At some point in THIS CLIP, he got a little antsy about my request to yield his shoulder and did some hopping with his rearend, but it was really mild and you can hear me laugh about it as I go.

Dandy06Aug16-01For the record, today was the 6 month anniversary of the first time we ever met. I bought him (yet) another pad to celebrate 😉

Dandy06Aug16-02Awww.. takes my breath away, every time


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