Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loopty Loo

Peggy thought I was crazy this weekend when I tacked up Comrade for a ride. The wind was blowing and it was one of the colder days we have had, but I was determined. At least I put a saddle on, so I did not totally lose my mind. Before starting I pulled his tail, stretching his back and sides. I also massaged his lower back and butt since he has had some tight muscles from muddy days.
Once in the ring, Peggy did not last long before she left me. I set to loosening Comrade's parts, shoulder in, haunches in, leg yield in random patterns. I was really happy with his responsiveness and willingness to work. He was still a bit heavy in the front end. Time to get creative.
First thing I did was raise my hands. I tend to ride with them lower than I should, so what seems high is only slightly above normal. By doing this, Comrade will lift his front end. I have used this with Dottie and it works great. I kept my contact consistent, letting him find the connection.
Next, we went Loopty Loo all around the arena.
My bad Loopty Loo drawing

Straight a stride or two, then 10m circle and repeat around the arena. Comrade had to bend, step under with his hind end and lift with his front end. I got a few Cob grunts protesting the challenge. He did not need to go the whole circuit of the arena before he softened nicely and carried himself to the left. I was glad to see that because going to the left was where I saw the soreness from muddy ground. Trying to keep that same softness, I reversed and did the exercise to the right. This direction, his tough side, took more circles before he maintained and carried himself. Comrade is always better when he figures out a lesson on his own which is what this was. When we traveled large, he felt so good. Much lighter in my hands and pushing from the hind end. His neck had that lovely side to side flop action. We ended with a stroll out on trail where he surprised me with a fabulous jump over the big log. I think someone wants a jump school.
Best of all, my Mom got on him today and felt he was so much better flexibility and straightness wise. Peggy and I got to see all our hard work show when he gave Mom a great ride.

And I have no idea why the kid's song Here We Go Loopty Loo got stuck to this exercise in my mind, but the lyrics are not too far off.

First three verses, enjoy!
Here we go loopty loo
Here we go loopty li
Here we go loopty loo
All on a Saturday night

Here we go way down low
Here we go way up high
Here we go way down low
We really know how to fly

Here we go round and round
Here we go fast and slow
Here we go round and round
Oh what a great way to go