Friday, January 2, 2009

Patterns? With HIM? Okay!

We had an average ride today. Some really akward moments, especially when asking him to lope off and at one spot on one of the long walls (this seems to be a "thing" for him at the same spot). We worked on getting him to drop his head and STAY there and after a while he was REALLY flat and relaxed. I took a video yesterday but am having issues with uploading it to imovie. The video showed that his head was behind the vertical so I tried to combat that today with giving one strong clear signal to lower his head and once he does to give him all the rein I can so he stretches forward and doesn't stay so arched. It was exagerated on the video, too because his mane is ridiculously sticky-uppie. Another month or so and it will be long enough to DO something about. I roached it last on September 18th and I could ALMOST get it into bands today, but not quite.

The best part of the ride was right at the end. I had him one-handed and I was working on neck-reining. He was responding REALLY well to my leg (KAT must've worked on that with him) so I thought I'd just try a simple pattern. There were some jumps set up and I used one as sort of a cone. I did a jogged circle to the right, and then a loped circle to the left. He was pretty awesome! Not show ready, of course, but he did what I asked him to do WHEN I asked him to do it. He was slow and relaxed. His frame was a little higher, but I think (am I wrong?) it's a little more acceptable for that in a Horsemanship class. It was such a simple manuever, one that I've done a zillion times on other horses, but considering all of our previous attempts at that kind of pattern work he was super. I did a jog right, jog left, lope left series, too and he was even better. I halted him and gave him TONS of pats, rubs, scratches and "good boy!"s. I was VERY proud of him. I tried to finish up by walking out, but he KNOWS when we're "done" and he starts to head towards the gate. He wasn't very warm so I took him outside and rode down the fenceline about a hundred yards. It was about 45 degrees but it was much cooler in the wind. Maybe I'll set up some cones tomorrow like the pattern we did in that lesson and see how it goes! As always, I'll keep you posted!

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