From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Riding updates!

Jet and I have been working hard while dodging raindrops and the heat. We have taken a few lessons lately with my Aunt and there has been lots of improvement.

The first thing she picked up on was that he is constantly bending to the left. He braces and balances on my left rein. He uses it to hold himself up in both directions. So how are we fixing it? I'm basically riding without it. I have more contact with my right rein so I can send energy from my left leg and catch in in his right jaw. Now, I can feel him moving much straighter in both directions! Instead of holding the left rein when I turn him, I apply pressure on it, then give, then more pressure if needed, and then give again. I keep the contact with my right rein and leg therefore keeping his neck and head centered.

We then did an exercise where I changed my diagonal several times down the long side of the area we were working in. At first we did the exercise going left.,I could easily tell that I was on the incorrect diagonal. Why? He was bending to the left so it when I changed my diagonal as if I was going to the right, it felt weird. He isn't straight going to the right but since we were going left, it just made everything feel so off balance. As we kept doing the exercise and worked on getting him straight, I felt that both diagonals felt correct. Why? We were moving straight! 

Next, we noticed that he anticipates things. For example: when we are going to turn. The solution? Change things up. Turn earlier, turn later, surprise him, keep him waiting, etc. Basically getting his attention on me. He would start bending to the left before we would turn going left so we brought him slightly to the right before asking him to go around the corner. It worked really well.

He got a massage this past lesson and the masseuse noted that his left side was tight and his right hind leg was weak. Everything made sense. He isn't engaging his hind right since I had been blocking him in his left jaw. His left side is tight because he is always contracting it when he bends to the left and doesn't extend it since he has a hard time bending to the right. We are working on loosening his left side and now we have his hind right getting engaged. I am pushing him forward, asking him to come underneath himself with my right leg. I constantly have to keep asking him or he gives up. But he is improving!

On a different note, I pulled him mane today! I will have pics soon! And for those of you that do not know, I have a little Hackney pony named Biscuit. This little rescue has spent his recent days doing nothing. I have tried lunging him before but all he would do is swing his haunches around and keep his head facing me at all times. I tried several times but I gave up. Well I have been determined to fix this and I have! He now lunges w/t/c and over ground poles! It is extremely cute. Maybe I will have someone video it for me soon! 

That's it for now!