Thursday, September 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy birthday to me.  Sat on the Cruiser for the first time.  He was chill like I thought he would be.  I got on and off a few times, sat on him and scratched him a bit, and called it a day.  He has the most low key temperament, so I thought he would be fine, but you never know.  Super pleased with him.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Fall 2020 Goals

Really pretty much nothing has gone like I thought it would this year, but somehow everything is good, even better than good.  I didn’t make it to any horse shows for a variety of reasons including Covid 19, weather, and a slight lameness in Jet’s right stifle.  Jet is working well though at 2nd and I feel like I have learned a lot(including how to half-halt and sit up!) so I don’t feel like this was a wasted or stasis year at all.  Plus adding in the big dork baby has been fun and it’s been interesting to realize how many more tools I have in my toolbox of horse training and how much more I understand about motivation and behavior after online access to the TRT Method and the Dressage Naturally Video Classroom.  

My Fall goals are pretty simple for the Cruiser.  He’s about done everything but the under saddle portion of the TRT Method(best student ever!), hand walks quietly all over the property,  is pretty solid on free lunge voice commands w-t-c, and has had both saddle and bridle on a few times with no issues.  I’m starting to lay on him from the mounting block with the saddle on and trot him in hand with the stirrups swinging and banging.  I’d like to sit on him soon and get walk, halt, some steering, and maybe a few trots in before he gets the super cold season off except for a bit of ground work.

My YouTube videos are not embedding in my blog currently(does anyone know why?) so this slightly blurry screenshot will have to suffice, but Jet is sound after having his right stifle injected and a slow ramp back up to harder work.  God love him, he comes out every day trying his best to figure out what it is I want.  As you can see above I AM SITTING UP, his poll is high, and his hocks are engaged.  Progress has been made.  I feel like adding to the Centered Riding half-halt to matching energy has opened all sorts of doors in my riding.  All the lateral work is engaged, the halts are square and I am starting to feel the swing through his back more and more.  For Fall, I would  like to figure out better timing of the canter half-halt, improve our Mediums a bit, and video 2nd Test 1 before the cold weather sets in.  

I’m excited for the cooler Fall weather.  What are your goals for this, the best of seasons?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Playing with Different Half-Halts on a Square

I’ve been playing around with the different versions of the Centered Riding half-halts by riding a working walk 20 meter square and then adding in a half-halt before and after each corner.  Starting with the mildest version of a re-balancing, just exhaling and centering, for a couple of corners, then moving on to the “Center and Grow” half-halt, and then adding in either leg or shoulders down or both sequentially.  I have to tell you this has been a game changer.  How have I been riding this long and not really known the aids for a half-halt?

I don’t know if it’s because Jet is already relaxed, balanced, and with matching energy as per Dressage Naturally and that is why the HH’s work so well in all the different versions, but it is just amazing.  Or is it because I am finally sitting up that helps?  I rode him bareback yesterday inside and everything was so easy to sit and it was so instant to get an active stretch.  Today, in the Dressage court, I fooled around with the half-halts on the square after some working gaits to warm up, and then did 2-1 just to see where we are.  The trot work was excellent and the canter work was just ok, but I could feel myself struggling with the timing of the half-halts in the canter.  Jet was very good and quiet, but not as balanced as he could be.  Something to work on.  Maybe with more bareback walk canter walk transitions?

Anyway, I still haven’t really reconciled the Centered Riding “Center and Grow” half-halt with the Dressage Naturally “talk about the effect you want to have not the aids to use” system.  I feel like this sequence of aids makes everything so much easier.  The halts are better.  The transitions are crisper.  The working gaits are more through.  Collection is a thing now.  I did a half pass at the walk to finish the ride today and added mild half-halts during the half pass.  It was so good and felt so upright and I could distinctly feel the inside hind coming more under after every half-halt.  Best half pass ever, like magic.  Who knew?

What have you been taught about the half-halt and how has your understanding changed over time?  Really curious about other riders’ experiences.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Cruz and the TRT Method

Cruz has been on the farm almost a month.  He’s been doing lots of farm walks, free lunging working on voice commands/body language, and about 6 short sessions of the TRT Method.  Lots of 5-10 minute low key training lessons getting to know each other.  And I have to tell you, he is not like any other horse I have trained.  He is just SO mellow.  The first time I introduced the TRT tools he tried to eat them.  Seriously.  His impulse when something scares him is to go towards it and investigate.  Totally different than the other 3 horses I have done TRT with where the going towards spooky was one of the end goals of the training.

He is just so easy with everything.  If it scares him he goes towards it and wants to touch it.  The top photo is his second time with a saddle on.  First time we just went step by step and piece by piece and in 10 minutes got to trotting in hand with saddle and girth tightened.  Second time we added stirrups and standing on the mounting block adding weight on the saddle.  NBD.  Separately,  he has had the bit in his mouth 2 times and the second time the headstall over his ears.  Some mouthing and chewing but head down and again, NBD.  I’m hoping to continue on with all the ground stuff in September and get him walking and maybe trotting under saddle before winter sets in.  He’ll then get some time off to grow, except for some ground training.  So fun!