Today was the day we got up and took what we had been learning on the ground and started to ride it, a whole different challenge in and of itself. I spent seven hours in the saddle, my longest time to date since I started riding again, 3 hours in the morning and hours break and 4 hours in the afternoon.
Caleb was as willing in the morning as he was when we finished.. such a good boy..
I am kind of overwhelmed in the department of what to work on and train on, but the big three is
1) one rein stop, I can see the value in this, my folks trained me to use what they are calling disinagre the hip to slow down the horse while working or riding or if they get fresh, its a way to settle them, give their mind something to focus on.. but the challenge at the clinic is to turn that into a safe stop, my muscle memory tells me to do it but in a slightly different way.. because this is to come as a side to side break, it is needing to reteach MY head that its not a double two handed straight back breaks that I can in fact use each rein as a different break, (now in class its all about softness etc) but lets get hard line on this for a moment, I see the other good points but I look at it as, I can have one break on the horse or I can three. Well, lift your hands up and say! YES!! I will take the three.. LOL
2) Backing, Ok, I will own it, If I put the pressure on and ask my horse to back, I get it around what I need it to do and I am like.. good job and I ride.. Now I found I had a little AH! moment in the saddle, in ground work I ask for soft light backing, I ask for quick reponse’s, I teach and look for willingness to do it lighty but in the saddle as long as they do it, when I need it, I am like good..
Not sure why I never made the connect, what I am doing “wrong” in my way of asking that my light soft willing backup on the ground, turns into a heavy harder, head in the air backup in the saddle. Again was taught a way to retrain to do it from side to side and I can see myself doing a lot of practise on it, because it increase’s softeness and flex, something that Caleb needs but I know in my heart that what I really want is a soft willing two rein back, now working on the single rein will help get me there so it will be come part of regular back training (and I always do a number of back asks in training on each ride just to keep that gear greased)
When I got that softness yesterday in the saddle it was just this moment of joy for me, Caleb was willing, he was honest and I could see him, say.. ah, so much better ma.. Perfect, for that by itself, It paid for the clinic! This is point is something that I will not just work on for the rest of our riding life together but its something that is going to be a positive thing for both of us.
3)the side pass, now I had the most trouble with this.. I mean O my goodness, I didn’t get it, If I am struggling to get it, how much of a more struggle to teach the horse something that you can’t figure out yourself.. but I did get three steps -movements that felt right in the many tries. This was a good lesson in remembering to break it up.. I would just stop and move forward, trot around, do a little backing, anything to keep it fresh for him, and then come back and try again, he was giving his best, I was the one that needed that time to go over it again and again in my head and watch kim teach it to another three of the group while I listened again and then practised the hand and body moves while the horse did other things.
Since I started riding again, I have had a few folks tell me that this is off or that is off, or I do this wrong, I sit wrong, I have my tack wrong.. and I have had one tough little bulldog who always cheer’s me on.. Ride safe, Ride your way, if you and the horse work well together, them ride.. (you know who you are dear)..
The biggest thing I learned at the clinic, I went into it with it in mind, Just like when you are out on the trails, ride your own ride.. that is what I learned at the clinic as well.. Ride your own ride.. each person and horse is at a different point at the moment in time.. yes learn from watching other teams because at some point your horse will do the very same thing.
I went in to increase my bond with my horse, I went to learn how to ride better, and the goal was meet! I have no doubt at all, the skills learned will make me a better rider and a better teacher for my horse!
Now, as I always say, its about the hour’s in the saddle!