Monday, August 10, 2009

Simple Changes At Last!

Well, sort of.......I'm not going to say they were good simple changes, because they weren't. But they were the closest to real simple changes that I've gotten. So I'm going to take it.

To be completely honest, I'm beginning to think it's me. I really don't think it's a problem with Spider's balance or his strength. I'm pretty sure I'm just lame. Okay, maybe "lame" is a little harsh. But I definitely think the problem is with my aids. I think my timing is off, I'm just not asking for the canter-walk transition at the right time.

This was never a problem on my schoolmaster, I could always nail these transitions. Hell, I had him out the other day, and at 23 he still does tempis like a champ. And that's just it......Spider isn't a schoolmaster. He doesn't know what I want from him. So I need to exaggerate it.

But, I digress.....I believe I was talking about my last ride. We did our warm-up, then moved on to leg-yields. As I discussed previously, I've now made them an important part of our routine. It was hotter than hell, so I honestly didn't expect much. Actually, since it was so hot, we were working mostly on the walk. I asked for a little bit of collected canter, just to change things up a bit. And I loved what I got. It wasn't hurried (probably due to the heat), but it still had a lot of forward energy. So, I figured "What the hell? Let's go for broke!" I collected the right lead canter, then I collected it some more, then I asked for the walk. He melted into a perfect canter walk transition. Then I changed the bend and asked for the left lead canter. Success! I felt like a million bucks!

Unfortunately, our next several tries didn't go as well. There were some simple changes, but there was also a lot of ugliness. On the bright side, I now know that Spider can do canter-halt and halt-canter transitions. I think that on this particular day, the heat helped us. He wasn't behind my leg, but he didn't have much energy. So the transitions were in the bag. I just hope I can re-create that feeling on a nicer day.


  1. Now that I have found you, I will put you on my daily read list. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

    Sounds as if you and I are working on a lot of the same things with our horses. Tucker too is a work in progress. We sort of have the simple changes. I find the important thing is to do a good half halt on the outside rein into the downward. But I do know what you mean about the timing. It's something you seem to have to just "feel."

    A trainer I worked with is big about riding the rhythm with your seat. So another aid would be to very obviously ride the walk in the downward, so your body stops cantering. Sounds simple, but a lot of times we think the wrong thing with out bodies and miscommunicate with our other aids because of that.

    Lucky that Spider has jumper changes already. I am thinking of having a jumper rider teach Tucker the concept, and then I'll make them dressage changes. This is mostly because Tucker is just naturally a bucker and the flying changes will encourage that. I'm getting too old myself to deal with that part. *sigh*

    You're better than I am riding in the heat. Just take it easy and don't over do.

  2. Shannon, I just caught up on your blogs. We do have a lot in common. Tucker is now 9 years old, but his training has been erratic due to all kinds of issues. Included were ulcers, a stifle lameness, and more recently some sore hocks. I am holding off on the injections in favor of Adequan. I too need to ride more, but the heat has really gotten to me.

    Dr. Oliver Elbert worked on my horses years ago when I boarded up his way. That is a long haul for him to go down to you!

    If you would like, here is my email and we can chat a bit more privately.

  3. Hi Jean, thanks for stopping by my blog! And thanks for the great suggestions! I (usually) remember to do a nice strong half-halt on the outside rein before asking for the transition, but he likes to blow through it. I'm definitely going to try that "riding the rythm". I know all about doing the wrong thing with my body and micommunicating the aids. It's pretty much the story of my life!


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