I rode again yesterday, and stuck to my “kicking my fears in the butt” plan. It was hotter than the day before, and while I didn’t realize it until I picked up the trot, I was so tired and could hardly post. This proves that Kalin seriously needs to get in better shape – what even? Riding hard two days a week apparently kills me. But I still rode for an hour, and managed to push the tiredness back a bit and I felt like I rode kind of properly. I wasn’t sore…just…tired?
No cantering yet, although we did come closer. He was more willing to go a bit faster and I swear I had him so close to doing it, and I seem to have found a fear of cantering him towards the gate? Maybe because I’m afraid of him being gate sour? Who knows. Even though I haven’t cantered him in the arena yet, I’m still happy with our progress because,
- I’ve asked for it, just chicken out if he doesn’t do it quick enough. Before, I wouldn’t dare letting him go faster than a slow trot. I think I’m going to get my mother to hop on him, ask him for the canter, and then hop on after her to see if he’s a bit more willing to do it.
- I’ve worked on his extended trot again, something I’ve been afraid to do for months. While it doesn’t really look it in photos, his trot gets really, really fast (literally faster than most canters I’m used to, since I’ve mostly ridden WP horses.) and he’s really, really strong and it kind of pops me out of the saddle if I’m not prepared.
Not only have I overcome a few small fears, he’s actually been really well behaved, and I’ve been proud of his own progress. My main goal collection wise has been getting his nose in – he’s got a lower head now, that’s great, but I needed him to lift it up a bit more, and use his neck and put his nose in. The bosal work really helped with that, and I’m going to continue riding in it in the arena off and on because of this, he’s starting tucking his nose in and his headset is looking 100% better in my opinion. Not just at the trot, but his walk is looking lovely.
We started out at the walk for two laps both ways, as usual,
I most certainly see (and feel) a huge difference in his walk. It’s something I’ve neglected because it’s…it’s the walk, and I figured it didn’t really matter much? But I’ve learned that collection matters, in the walk, in the trot, and in the canter. If he’s collecting and using his body correctly at the walk, he’s going to be more prepared to do it at the trot, then at the canter.It’s all about getting him to use his body correctly 100% of the time. He’s not going to be able to achieve great collection at the trot if he can’t at the walk, just like he won’t be collected at the canter if he can’t collect at the trot. Getting him to use his back more and raise himself up.
We picked up the trot pretty quickly, asked for a jog to start with and made him go a few laps both ways at the jog – while my main goal for riding right now is overcoming my fear of speed, and the best way to overcome is to do it, I don’t want him to get used to running at the same time of the ride and get too amped up or not want to work on walking or jogging calmly. Once again, pretty good headset at the jog.
We made a few laps, I asked for a walk break, walked a lap, then picked up the extended trot and pushed him pretty much as extended and fast as I could get him to go without actually moving off into the canter. Pushed him forward and added leg to keep him going, but really, he didn’t need much leg. Once he got going, he seemed a lot less tired and was happy to be working. He was really good at going forward but not just throwing his head up and forgetting about collection. While his headset isn’t as nice at a faster speed, it’s still far better than it used to be! He had a really nice floaty trot yesterday.
I need to stop leaning so forward with my chest, funny because my old bad habit was leaning so far back. I worked to correct that and I think I went a little overboard on not leaning back, haha. Also need to work on keeping more independent hands, not letting them rest on the saddle.
Like I said, rode for about an hour. I kept switching gaits and speeds, asked him to go from extended trot to walk, or jog to woah, and so on. He was good about switching when I asked and much better about stopping as soon as I asked as opposed to walking forward towards the gate when I said woah. Also worked on backing, which he did great with, and got a little sidepass out of him.
Once I dismounted, I untacked in the cross ties and gave him another hose down. Really happy with him for not spooking over it every time! Farrier will be out here in less than an hour, Red gets the day off since it’s farrier day + it’s insanely humid and hot out today. I’ll probably be riding again either very very very early tomorrow or late in the evening when it cools off more. Maybe a trail ride? We’ll see how my nerves are. 😉