Saturday, March 2, 2013

Drop that Inside Rein

I had my lesson on Wednesday and had the time to ride again today.  Typically the first ride after a lesson I try to replicate the lesson to some extent to see how much my horse and I retained.

Wednesday's lesson spent a lot of time using the outside rein to get flexibility, bend and length of the neck while letting the inside rein be passive, even loose.   I tried it again today and the results were sporadic and it proved to be more difficult without my instructor's guidance.

The basic concept is this (and I apologize to my instructor if I am getting this wrong... I am working through this one in my head and I may not have it all correct yet.  Can I put a disclaimer here that the writings here are the opinions of the writer only and do not necessary reflect the guidance of my instructor?!)....    You keep a connection on the outside rein and the inside remains loose.  With the outside rein you ask for the lowering of the poll by opening the rein while continuing to keep the connection.  During my lesson it worked great.   Open the hand... lowered poll... lovely flexion on the inside of the neck.... just right.

Today not so much.  

When I opened the rein Golly bent his neck to the outside rather than lowering the poll.  The outside rein became loose.   I thought I maybe needed to push him into the rein so gave him a kick to do so.   I got some connection then and the poll lowered so it partially worked.  What was missing was the inside bend and flexibility of the neck.  I wanted to use my inside rein to get it but I know during my lesson I didn't need the inside rein so wanted to figure this out.   I gave him a tickle on the inside back leg and there it was!

Golly cleaning the pony's stall
Great... so I knew I needed to open the outside rein while keeping the connection by keeping the impulsion pushing into the rein but I also needed to make sure the inside hing leg was the one doing most of the pushing.  That works great if you have a whip on the inside to give the tickle but what happens when you switch directions?  For today I just switched the whip to the other side but during a test that will be a bit awkward looking.   Hopefully after a bit more practice at this, it won't require the tickle each time.

Honestly I am not even sure I have the cues correct on this so I'm looking forward to my next lesson so we can practice this a bit more with some guidance.

One fun thing happened during our ride that has nothing to do with inside rein or flexion.   A great song came on my iphone while I was riding and I started literally dancing in the saddle.  Golly flicked a few ears back trying to figure out what the heck THIS new cue was.  Then he moved from walk to trotting to the beat.   Wasn't what I was planning but I thought it was a great response!   What a fun it is to play with my friend Golly!

After our ride, I let Golly loose and he wandered around the barn checking out his barn mates' stalls to see what they had left behind.  He's such a funny boy -- he could run out the door and down the road if he wanted to but he prefers to hang out in the barn with me while I clean up.  More like a dog than a horse.

By the way, for those of you that read this blog on a regular basis I had no anxiety at all today when I rode.   Even when he shied and trotted off at the sound of some boogey man in the woods, I just sat the trot and moved on.  The confidence is coming back.

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