Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Circles and right turns

In a surprise move, one of my best friends Kelsey was able to come out to the barn today and watch me ride!  She is an art major and equestrian, and therefore the perfect person to have with me on days like today.  Her mom trains and sells horses from their home in Millbrook, NY.  Kelsey hasn't been riding since coming to Elon, but is going to hopefully bring her horse down in the spring!  Anyway, she loved the pony and was able to video/photograph my ride in addition to reminding me to maintain my equitation and give me advice from the ground.

Today was an over fences day, with a focus of riding straight and not pulling left.  An exaggeration of the crest release from my left hand, lots of encouragement from that left spur, and a right turn just after the fence helped to encourage her to ride straight. 

We schooling a single fence, left side set at 3'3 and the right side set at 2'3 so that for her to dive left over the fence, she would be forced to put in a much greater jumping effort.  If she listened to my aids however, she could jump a 2'3 or 2'6 fence.  Eventually she began to understand.  I think I will leave this fence set up and continue to school over a couple times a day.  

The pony's issues with going left may be the result of incorrect riding and a heavy pull on her right side.  The left bound behavior only shows itself over fences that are bigger than what she is used to.  At 2'6 she rides straight, but at 3' she goes left.  At this point in her training she rides off the leg and body.  She can be ridden on a loose rein, and still maintain adjustability in her strides.  The next step will be maintaining that rhythm over fences and eventually, maybe riding low fences on a loose rein with the same control that is maintained on the flat.  

On Sunday I have a prospective buyer coming out to see her.  I will maintain her program for the rest of the week, and then give her monday off.  I think I will school her again saturday, tomorrow will be a light flat, friday a hard flat, and then saturday school her, and sunday show her to the potential customer.  

As she develops more muscle and schools her dressage movements more, she begins to feel more and more capable of succeeding with more advanced movements and more technical coursework. 

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