Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tuning the Ferrari

The weather finally warmed above twenty to get back to it again.

Actually the weather went from quite literally from zero to 50 in a day and everything (and for the most part everyone) is on the melt down.

Getting on Sinari is always the highlight of the day, but occasionally the Ferrari does need tuning. I'm huge fan of small forward and half halting aides. I love forward horses that are just naturally hotter.

I don't blame the girl for being a little dull, when we work on something new, occasionally we do it at the sacrifice of something else (only to be re-incorporated later).

But lately I noted how much leg I had to use to get her into the trot when we first started. The canter work was the same way. What I could do with a bit of driving seat and upper thigh now took my lower leg and heel.

We went back to the basics yesterday. My favorite of these exersises is the kick sled. Premise is that the horse should go forward on its own from a light aid, and continious stay there until the half halt.

So it goes:
Application of the aid, go, go, go, go, slow down, aid, go, go, go, go, rise, wash repete.

But to get to the kick sled there needs to be a response to the aids.

So I apply the light aid, no response.

Apply the whip. Go forward, immediately reward. Rinse and repete, both ways.

Same with the half halt. If she didn't immediately respond, she was halted, backed up and sent forward again.

Combining this with stay straight and even under me, while staying soft in the neck, it was a very productive session and in the end, she was lighter, through and much more respectful to not only the driving aids but to the lateral ones as well.

The message was very clear, respond to the whisper and not to the shout and you cannot negotiate your way out of what I ask.

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