Thursday, December 15, 2011

Its All About Pressure

It goes without saying that horses must yield from pressure from the leg, the hand, the stick and so forth. Without there is no respect from the horse, if they fall in or push down that respect is not maintained from their abuse or lack of respect for the pressure.

Today's lesson with my young man was all about pressure. We started the day off with me walking on the circle backwards, going staight down the centre, stopping, walking forward again and swapping reins. Dart is carrying himself well and finds it amusing to play with the rope while we are walking around. If anything, I now believe in the wonders of karmic re-incarnation. I had a pony, Tiger, who Dart is the perfect duplicate of. Not only in countenance but personality and act - what's left is to see if they are parallels under saddle as well - if so then I shall be a very happy camper! I digress..

After I continued my circle work backwards I started moving forward, with the stick behind me, touching his side to keep him marching at the walk. This exercise was much harder to maintain with him than walking backwards. When you are looking at the horse there is more control.

Mark took the keys from me after that and began lunging on a small lead with him, making him yield to the pressure, move from it. Trotting on the circle, if he stopped there was a follow up tap on the belly or flank to move forward, resistance to the pressure in turn made the pressure increase - tap behind the shoulder, tap with a small whip crack. It is interesting to watch the reaction of a young horse as they come to understand, what and why and how things are happening. The cogs turn slowly, the tongue licks the lips and an understanding is come to. Sigh. It begins again. Changing of the rein, moving the horse away from the pressure, lifting the weight off the shoulder and the head. The horse must carry itself. As I sat watching Mark move him around, encountering bouts of resistance and complete distraction from Dart I couldn't help but notice how all the exercises we were doing tied into the training scale.

Once moving from the pressure, he established a rhythm that consequently led to his relaxation and acceptance of the pressure/rein. I can go on but I think the point is made - everything correlates.

The man who will never walk away.. 
In the afternoon I got Rion out and played with him on the lunge - getting some energy out as he bounded into the sky when I asked for the canter; nothing out of the ordinary for him really. He settled later though and we had a good session playing with a square made out of poles to walk, trot and canter through. As usual he was a good boy once he came back to earth and relaxed, stretching out on the lunge. I had to get something from inside the house but it is a good feeling to be able to stop my horse, say 'stand' come back 5 minutes later and know he hasn't moved a muscle.

All in all today was a successful day; hopefully I can wake up early enough to take Rion for a gallop, after expending that energy on the lunge again before Mark comes for Dart.

Until then, cheerio :)


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