Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reaching New Heights

Today was a full day so I am breaking it into a couple posts.
Some of you may remember Swayze, a friends horse I introduced last year. His owner asked Mom for a lesson today to work through some issues. She had already warmed him up when we arrived. For once I had my helmet in the car, so I offered to get on him and see what I felt.
It was a little of a pressure situation because his owner thinks I can ride anything well. I wish, but that is far from the truth. I mountain climbed onto his 17h+ back and then blessed the narrow TB fashion. He was almost as narrow as Roscoe :) My leg went much further then it does on Dottie. And we only had to wrap the leathers twice.
Swayze was a little stiff in the hind end, especially the right stifle. Plus he wanted to always bend left. Bring on bendy lines, bell curves and counter bends. His walk improved and he started to soften. I asked him to work corners and step under. He thought that was too hard and picked up a trot. I won't lie I tensed. Then I circled, breathed and realized he was not going anywhere. Shoulders back, half halt with outside rein, sit and walk. He gave me a few more moments like that and even picked up a canter. That boy was able to canter a very small circle. Nice canter, but he was not ready to carry it.
Then we put him on a circle to work on rhythm using a half halt. Now half halts are an awesome tool and are very adjustable. With Swayze, I had to pull out the HEAVY half halt to respond to the heaviness he gave me. If he gave me 12lbs, I used a 12lb half halt. The biggest thing I had to remember was to half halt and RELEASE. We counted to 4 and half halted on 1. Swayze started to need a smaller half halt as he began to maintain the rhythm. As we changed to his good side, I was even able to soften my inside rein.
I did not ride long so he would not be too tired for his owner. Mom worked with her on the same exercise. She had to focus on carrying her hands and the release portion, but when it all came together she found a great rhythm.
She videoed my ride and vice versus her ride. Watching the videos, helped Mom see where to take the next lesson. Here is a short clip of my ride, Swayze Ride. I have to say Comrade has helped me enormously with riding heavy, quick horses and my reactions.
Here is a picture of Swayze and his owner. They have come so far and are working hard to improve.
Raise the hands and move her leg back and it would be even better.
He was a fun ride and a challenging one. I forgot he was so tall while I was on him, but quickly remembered as I slipped off him. That was one long slide :)

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way when I ride our 18hh TB. When you're on him (and he's being good) he doesn't feel big at all... until you slide off!