I oozed out of bed at an inhumane hour to go and turn the boys out. Not before I had a small fit at my bike because I couldn't fit the mud guards I bought. Nor could I adjust the saddle. The former being important so that I didn't get soaked knickers yet again, the latter so that my knees weren't so sore from my current saddle position.
Anyway, the rain ceased by the time I set off. A nice cycle to the yard, except for the wind!
Two very keen ponies were duly turned out and of course the usual handbag-swinging ensued. They actually connected hooves this time, I think it was an accident because the remainder of their encounters were more measured. Save Quadi presenting his backside to Fin when he really was getting up his nose!
I am a little achey today because in addition to cycling there and back, I poo-picked three big barrowfulls out of their field. I could still have gotten another couple out but my back and knees limited my progress. And I mucked out three stables, which I always enjoy but I guess it's still a novelty!
Kate was on hand to help me with my lunging. First I warmed him up on both reins, making sure we had a few transitions to get him switched on. The he was hooked into the Pessoa. Onto the intermediate settings because I didn't think the baby settings were having much of an effect on him. It was set up even on both sides but we soon saw that, whilst he had adecquate outside rein to bend, the inside rein was too baggy and having no effect, so that was shortened an inch. I guess the idea is trying to replicate what a rider would be doing if on board.
I worked him on his good rein first, his left. Primarily getting him walking actively and asking for inside bend. And much verbal praise when he got it right. We managed a 20m circle with correct bend, relaxation and forward activity. So we stepped up into trot, again asking for the same thing. When we got the same three again, I asked him to come down. I now know that he couldn't come forward from trot to walk because he was resisting and unbalanced. So he found it much easier to come to walk once I knew how to prepare him for it.
On both reins in warm up he found it hard in downward transitions, but even on his bad rein, the right rein, on the Pessoa he was instantly soft, relaxed and working in a great frame, holding himself up. I was amazed at how he improved as he warmed up. So I just worked on our transitions. The last couple he really got his backside under him and what lovely transitions they were :)
Much praise and kisses from me, and a herb treat sweetie!
But we weren't quite finished. We tacked him up, which he seemed perfectly happy with, for Kate to have a sit on. He was also happy to be mounted and waited for girths to be checked and so on. As soon as he stepped off he threw his head up and dropped his back, hind legs trailing. Kate halted immediately and showed him there would be no fight from her. Instead, he was asked to come back to earth and shown, via the magic of a soft seat, a better way of going. He needed baby rein aids (wide and exaggerated) but that's ok. The reward for us was that when he did let go, his head settled beautifully and he was soft and rhythmical. He still threw his head up a couple of times but I think that was to be expected. In this case I think muscle memory is an exceptionally large factor. And he still looks dipped behind the saddle, although he was using his body correctly. Lots of work ahead but the great news is he CAN do it, and seems willing and happy to work.
Kate was due to work him this evening but sadly bad weather interrupted play. I was supposed to go to the gym this evening, instead I came home and ate pizza :S
I don't know how to add video to my blog, so here are the video links from Sunday's efforts:
Please excuse the circle in one of the vids, he is supposed to be on a 20m circle but I think Kate was trying to persuade him not to bog off with his head up at a trot. The aim of the day was to wear a person without constant hollowing :)
I feel better for having a friend here to help, to point out the wood amongst the trees!