Friday, August 7, 2009

Leather Stretches

Remember that I've been having issues getting Junior to stop quickly? And that we've been continuing to have issues with getting him to respond to adjustments during the lope? We found part of the problem last night. I've noticed that the curb strap seems loose after watching Myler's A Whole Bit Better video. The curb strap is traditionally adjusted to be two fingers away from the jaw. Mine was more like four. KAT had adjusted the strap for me when I bought it so I wasn't sure, but this just couldn't be right. It wasn't. It wasn't even making contact. The strap I have is leather with a flat chain middle and the leather must've really stretched. Once we adjusted it, there was a big difference in his response time to my cues, and he's doing SO well with staying in-frame and on-task when we stop. The lesson went well, but he's been feeling odd at the right lead the last few rides. He doesn't frame nearly as well as to the left and he swaps lead and breaks rythym a lot. Not sure what to think about that. That lead used to be his good lead.

We finished the lesson and during the cool down I dropped the reins and just used my legs to steer him around the arena, including some tight turns that aimed us to and over a groundpole. He did super good but at one point he was finished with the game and refused to turn right. I stopped him and made him turn on the haunches to the right to make him work harder for ignoring my initial cue. If I learned anything from that weird guy who taught the gym-class riding lessons for the U of Minn. it was "Ask, tell, make."

Anyway. My busy work is done for the summer (thank heavens) so I'm back to being on my own schedule for the rest of the summer. I've got a list of things I need to do for work before classes start, but I can do those things when I choose, and I've signed up for a show on September 20th. I'll be a little busy with the first week of classes the week before it, but I've got over a month to get lots of good training in. This will be a one-day show where we trailer in early in the morning, show, and head home after we're done. We do have stalls so we don't have to spend a day tied to a trailer. At this point I'm considering only showing western classes. My reasoning is two-fold. First of all, with having to trailer in early in the morning (not sure how early, but I'm guessing it's before dawn) will make me very, very tired and "tired me" is "cranky anxious me" which isn't much fun. So if I wait to show until the afternoon I won't be as stressed, can eat something and relax and be more awake by the time my classes come. Second, I still haven't found the right bit for English. We need less pinch but we also need independent side movement so I can help him life his shoulders when he goes astray. I'm pretty sure I know what we need, but I don't want to drop $50 on a bit and then be wrong. Plus we haven't ridden English since the last show (other than some posting trot in western tack) and we're just not practiced enough in it. Yes, I could remedy that a bit, but I keep thinking it would be a much less stressful final show of the season if I just stick to one discipline. Then we'll have a good 7 or 8 months to train for next season. It's a ways off, I'll reserve judgement until we get closer.


  1. Sounds like you have a good plan developed. And if your not really comfortable showing english and think it might stress you out, do what's going to be best for you and your horse. I have my Medal Finals Sept 20th so we'll both be showing at the same time!

  2. Isn't it funny how a small piece of leather can make such a difference!? I wish you lots of luck with your show plans and I hope that it goes well!!

  3. as for not keeping the lead etc... i would seriously have the vet out .. he may have hurt a muscle and or could have something wrong with his joints/ back . THIS I WOULD NOT WAIT ON !! i would also suggest strongly you get a equine chiropractor for JR. just to make sure hes not" out" joint wise. but in the meantime...i WOULD NOT FORCE HIM !!! you may be making whatever is wrong..WORSE!! but PLS PLS GET A COMPLETE CHKUP ON HIM FIRST !!! good luck ;];];];]