Two horses, two different approaches
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, December 9, 2007 10:32 PM
Two Arabs I told you about. By now I have ridden them for 5 weeks, twice a week. The progress that I'm getting is quite different for each horse and
the way I ride these two horses is different too.
The mare is learning very quickly. The more she goes forward the better she is. As long as she is forward it is not hard to tell her what to do.
I stay very quiet with my hands and only sometimes encourage her to soften the jaw. That is enough for her to stretch into the bit and round her topline.
After that she can do leg-yields, nice circles, as long as she is forward. This is something I pay constant attention with her and I don't wait or hesitate.
I remind her over and over again to stay in front of the leg. She stays much more in focus and spooks less and less. One of her big issues is she leans into the right shoulder
and she will canter on the right lead only if she is allowed to lean onto the right shoulder. When she is going straight she picks up left canter.
I think I know why. For her going straight feels like leaning into the left shoulder, so naturally she picks up left canter, even if she goes right.
I let her lean right to pick up right canter and then straighten her in the canter riding big circles. The plan is to straighten her gradually for the canter
depart so over time she will feel comfortable picking up right canter from the correct balance.
The gelding is much more difficult case. Right now work with him is more rehabilitative or therapeutic then athletic. He is on medication and
massage. Riding consists of inviting him to relax and stretch. He is starting to go down with his neck and sometimes looks like a sniffing dog.
I do not keep him down or hold him down, I ask him to stretch again and again. He is very crooked. And I have to straighten him to some extend
before he can stretch. He pushes his shoulders to the left and his neck to the right, he likes to push his haunches to the right too. He feels
like folded paper. I have to unfold him literally piece by piece, send him forward and only then he feels comfortable enough to relax and stretch
his neck. Lunge line didn't help because without rider who can correct his posture he does not stretch into side reins. Most of the work consists
of forward walk and trot, big circles, smooth changes of direction with emphasis on straightness and relaxation.