This post was started, then saved and started again several times,because ,I lost my train of thought, or something else took my attention and finally because I just could not finish it to my liking. Still don't know if I can do that , but here we go ...
As you know I have been riding my two young horse Cat (FV Catch A Dream) and Andee AV Docs Baby) a few times a week since they returned from training . As typical youngsters they are good girls , but with only 30 days training we have some ways to go . They are still learning balance and rhythm and we/I are learning it with them .
Andee is super soft and responsive but at times when she is trying to be evasive , she will tuck her head right to her chest and try to get "behind the bit" I have found opening my hands and picking her up a bit seems to help. But there is something else...
Now Cat on the other hand is a "Show me" kind of girl, makes you work for her a little bit but the end is the same , getting her to respond to the bit and work engaging her hind and front end her challenge. That little girl has such a big motor , she is perfectly comfortable driving from behind and letting the front end be carried on momentum. Maybe not the total end of the world for some , but I gotta tell it makes her trot interesting ! Kind of like freewheeling downhill on a bike with no brakes!
Both these horses will improve with time and miles, but a way I can help them improve ,is to improve me . I have developed a bad habit or 10 over the years , and just lately seem to be looking down a lot more than I used to. Well you all know when driving ,if you are not looking far enough ahead of the vehicle you tend to overcorrect and wobble all over right? Well I compare the same thing to horses, looking up and where you are going helps to , I don't know, plan your route?And physically prepare for where you are going, making your direction changes ,less aggressive and more subtle ,more a case of supporting with the outside rein and smaller adjustment with the inside,more like neck reining . Like heading down a straight stretch of road with your vehicle ,looking ahead and making subtle adjustments as you go , same with the horse ,you get a nice straight line along the rail or through the middle, looking and moving forward with only subtle corrections to the course. Go Lightly posted a long time ago about this and one qute, among many that hit home was
"Anyway, whatever's happening, you have to ride it. Practice trusting yourself. Follow your instincts. ALWAYS stay ready, for anything, from the balance of your seat. Balance will save you, before strength."
I would likely be wiser to just link to her blog and that post to explain , but I will continue to give this a shot
Also I went to visit my niece yesterday and had a lesson in long lining . Yes I have driven a horse before but long lining , or ground driving in this way was not something i was familiar with. I had the pleasure of working with Arse's full brother Eirhart, another truly lovely horse , and he was sweet and accommodating my oh so subtle direction lol. I was quite careful to start ,ever mindful of how much more leverage you have when driving as opposed to riding , and I certainly did not want to jam him in the mouth!
So there I am walking along with this ginormous gentle giant teaching me how to ask for things. He is a good teacher,and as I got used to the positioning and the lines (trying not to hang myself ) I first felt like a bumbling idiot, then as I got a handle on it , I started to see something ,I was head up looking ahead and planning my course , as we went straight up the centre I was simply balancing him and then as I changed directions , because I was looking forward as well as moving forward , it became a simple smooth turn. One of those "AHA !! its all coming back to me now moments!" I remember when I first learned to drive Sunshine, and my little cart we tacked down the road like a renegade sailboat ,then I learned to ... Look where I was going and bam! straight as an arrow!
So while Cat and Andee travel straight I find as we start to correct we can create that same renegade sailboat look if we don't keep eyes up and forward, that too will help Cat as the eyes up and forward keeps me better balanced and more able to pick her up and balance herself at the trot.
Sometimes we need to learn something new to remember something we already knew !!!
Hope that ramble made a little sense
Stay safe my friends