Thursday, November 29, 2012

Light work and a pending clinic ...

LR rode the Muffin on Sunday and has been working on unlocking his left side.  It's weird; normally he's super soft on that left side and much more stiff to the right, but it seems his body has switched things up.  I actually followed through and clipped him on Monday, yay!  So in 4 years I did a 'chaser clip in Feb of '09, a full body clip in Oct '10, a full body clip in Feb of '12, and now here in November an actual trace clip.  I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but I messed up and went too low down on the hind legs.  On the fronts, I followed the natural line of his muscles but that line wasn't as well defined on the hinds and I got a little clip crazy.  Oh well!

It did it's job beautifully because it was a balmy 60 degrees and SUNNY today, and I asked the boy to give me some good work.  I warmed up with a very light medium contact at the walk, and did a lot of circles both directions, concentrating more than usual on using my legs and seat to bend him.  I kept my hands 5-6" apart, elbows bent, and shoulders back.  I called upon an old Practical Horseman article with Anne Kursinski where she talks about "have a conversation with your horse", "tickle" him with the spur, squeeze the fingers, and see where the horse is.  I could literally feel his jaw soften, his body stretch and bend, and his topline relax.  I shortened my reins a little more for the trot transition, and moved up to the trot.

He felt very good; I circled, did a shallow serpentine, trotted over low 9' bounce cavs, and worked on maintaining absolute straightness.  The BO at MSF where I'm taking Tiki tomorrow to ride with Paul says he's fanatical about riders not looking down.  Fortunately, that's not one of my (many and varied) bad habits, but I did practice a lot of trot/walk/trot/halt/trot/etc., and kept my eyes up and forward the whole time.  I dropped my stirrups and sat the trot for a few laps, working on shoulder-in, straight, haunches-in, circle.  I did that a few times and asked Tiki to relax during the h-i because he got a little tense and scooted some.  After that felt smooth and relaxed, I picked my stirrups back up and cantered.  He felt MUCH better than last week, where he resembled a hairy, red freight train;)  Today he felt soft and quiet; in fact, he was almost too quiet!  At times, the canter was very nearly a tranter so I "tickled" him with my spur and he picked it up a little.  I did a counter canter, a few late and tense lead changes, and cantered through the 9' cav poles.  I cantered up the quarter line, and trying to turn before he sped up, I turned into the rail, stepped out, and got a clean change both directions so I quit there.

Excited about tomorrow, hoping for some useful and productive input.  Yay for beautiful weather!!

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