Friday, November 12, 2010

Progress feels slow, and it is

My last lesson went fairly well -- and of course you're going to see the "best bits."
What you didn't see/hear is the 10 or 15 minutes prior where Riley was pretty much setting his own course. Here you see some decent work at at the end of the session, but he's getting tired and a little dive-y.

What led up to this...
Riley was very forward, but also "head in the air" as we turned toward the barn. I knew things were going pear-shaped when Riley suddenly veered in the opposite direction I intended to go. I can't even say it was disobedience -- Riley must have felt there was no one at the helm.

My trainer described how I was allowing Riley to lean (usually on the outside rein) -- I needed to have better control of the shoulders. I had to position him to be poised "in the direction of your choice" at any given time. We did an exercise to establish control (mine). The trainer would say things like "prepare to circle left.... [pause pause]... and then don't." Also counterbending exercises. It helped.

But I wish I could progress faster.


  1. I know exactly how you feel...

    Anyway, just wondering, but how is Harv these days? Is he retired now that you're working with Riley so much?

  2. i love your trainer! so happy and positive. I need one of those. I respond well to positive reinforcement!

  3. Well, of course I captured the happy/positive moments :-), but she is an upbeat sort of trainer. She can be blunt and she definitely lays it on the line when I'm messing up, but everything is about my riding, and Riley's way of going -- not her mood or emotional state.

  4. Riding a green horse is always a challenge, especially when it's a clever green horse. Riley is proving to be a smart, fast learner...of both the good and and potentially naughty.

    You are just going to have to be smarter than he is. Don't worry, you'll figure it out. The "prep" and "don't do it" exercise sounds like a good one to keep him from anticipating and responding before you really ask.

    He looks good at this point, so it will all come together--and probably a lot sooner than you expect.

  5. I've started an awful lot of horses, and it sure is a lot like herding cats at times. It comes together and gets better!

  6. Oh yeah! Progress is slow!! I have to learn to leg yield and teach my horse to do it correctly (I think she's done it before but I can't get it out of her!) before June and I know it sounds like a lot of time but AH! I need to progress faster than that. Anyway I think you look like a pretty good rider to me!!!

  7. Hey Spazfilly, Harv is great, and I'm riding him more than Riley, 2-3 times a week. What we do depends on how he feels, but he's good for walk-trot-canter every time I ride. Some days he's my young guy, some day he's my old codger. But he likes being ridden, I think.

  8. You are way too Eeyore, but luckily your trainer is a bit Tigger, in the very best sense of Tiggerness. :)

    You've been riding him how long? And he's moving himself in a very acceptable first level carriage for the most part? Just let him figure out how to carry his head while keeping him that engaged, and you'll be great!

    My horse is still figuring out my cues after 8 months - Riley has your trainer most of the time and you some of the time. That has to be even more confusing! As you ride him more and build your partnership together, you'll find all of a sudden everything you've been working on gets much, much easier. But you're doing wonderfully, and need to remember that!

  9. That's the way it is with babies--little bit of maturity and a lot of baby. I had to remind myself that many times when my kids were growing up.

  10. I do not have a baby, but my guy was running barrels and galloping trails before I got him, only for me to find that he had not been taught any kind of cue for "canter". I was basically starting from the beginning, but with baggage! Old habits (horse and human) are difficult to break, so the progress is slow for certain things, but this makes our accomplishments so satisfying!

    At least with a young guy, you and your trainer are establishing an excellent foundation. The learning curve should deliver faster progress down the rode and you look great!

  11. Ri looks handsome whatever he's up to. :) glad to hear you're still riding Harv. They sure don't like to retire do they?!


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