Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Door Unlocked

As we are covered in a light snow, it is a good time to think back to the lovely warm weekend. Beyond a stroll on DaVinci, no riding happened at my barn. We had a cloud sit on us for almost a week, then finally open leaving the ground too wet to ride. My only option left was Comrade. Not that I am complaining.
Saturday was a late ride, made later by a completely muddy pony. I hopped on bareback and began to play. Almost immediately I could feel a difference from Mom's training ride. Comrade was into the outside rein going to the right, instead of falling onto his inside shoulder. This made his lateral work almost easy, when I got all my parts in order. I was able to spiral in on a circle and then push him out smoothly. Not something that can happen if he is falling in, so I was really happy. Comrade certainly did his homework in his time off. I told Mom that night that his right side felt so good it made his left side seem like the bad side now. She unlocked some door in him and we can move forward. Plus we have the key if the door gets locked again. For Comrade that key is lateral work while maintaining straightness.
Sunday was very warm, so I decided to jump Comrade in the arena. He is not blanketed and has no clip which means I have to be careful on the warm days. Peggy was my ground crew and jump designer. When we got to the arena, Comrade was so excited to see what she had set up. As I warmed him up and settled him down, I made a few changes. Then I asked him to go over a really small vertical. Dodo boy about tripped over it, he gave it no respect. I asked for more the next time and he at least took it in stride. Then we played over a baby box oxer. This jump made Comrade think, so he gave a nice round jump. Once he started being more responsive I had him connect the small vertical to another vertical at the canter. He could have been a hunter pony the line was so smooth. And I will say we had the added difficulty of dodging 3 dogs running around. During a walk break, I had Peggy make the baby box oxer into an "X" and put up the 2nd vertical. One bad thing, Comrade was not picking up the right lead over the fences and would cross canter when I asked. No bucking at least, but still not good. I worked him over the new jumps and got the better responses I hoped for. Comrade planted and pushed rounding over the jumps instead of being the lazy pony hitting poles. We also found our right lead over the fences, FINALLY. At that point it was time for the final jump, a bigger oxer. I trotted him up and he gave me the best jump of the day. No hesitation. No drifting. All done :)
Our little jumps with Shadow representing the dogs. Left: Final oxer, Middle 2nd vertical, Back Right small vertical, Front Right baby box oxer turned "X"
Monday was my bonus day since I had the holiday off. I had thought to go play in the woods, but my stroll on DaVinci made me later. So back to the arena. Comrade was working well except that he decided to be a bit lazy. Since the jumps we still up, I put him over a few which woke him up. Then I did some canter work. The way the jumps were arranged made me keep him straight better. He surprised me by picking up the right lead when we were going left. That never happens. I let him carry it until he realized it was a bit too difficult, then asked for the correct lead. I know his canter needs work, but he has come so far since the four beat barely moving gait he gave me when I started riding him. We worked on corners and asking him to bend while stepping under with okay results. Then a simple change to work the right lead. It took me half the arena before it hit me. Comrade was not cutting corners. We were staying on the rail easily. I know it sounds like small fries, but he has never not cut corners at the right lead canter. I enjoyed right lead for the first time. I called to Peggy "Did you see that? He did not cut in at all!!" Mom unlocked a really beneficial door. I only worked a little longer since that made my whole day.
Owning, caring for and training horses can take a village. Each person helps make a stronger foundation. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to ride a horse like Comrade and have the chance to help him grow while I learn too. Since money is tight, having my Mom to help with his training is priceless. Comrade is an amazing horse because he not only retains knowledge, but he thinks about what we ask and normally comes back with a better understanding ready to move on. With limited ride time that trait is an asset.
So now I can reminisce and hope there won't be too much snow to ride this weekend.


  1. I totally agree about it taking a village. Sometimes we just get stuck and there are things that it helps to have another's perspective with. Cobs and their homework, so studious! :)

  2. I completely agree that it can take a lot of people as they might know things that we don't know. I love how happy and excited you are that you did well it's really inspiring :)