Rein length is important. Yes, I should be able to half halt on my long rein and ride a proper transition from trot to walk. That doesn't work when your horse is ignoring you. I shortened my reins, not to where I'd normally hold the rein for 3rd level work, but slightly longer. Shorter reins let me carry my hands more forward, so when he inverts to avoid me, I can add leg to push him into the bridle a bit easier and get a faster result.
I also sat the trot to fix his transitions. My posting trot isn't as strong as it should be- the sit part doesn't get the contact that my sitting trot does. A different instructor had told me that's the problem with my posting trot... but I just don't get how you can get in and out of that deep sitting seat in time to keep up with the posting, and do it without smashing down on the horse's back. But that's apparently why I find it hard to influence Mikey in posting trot. I haven't sat the trot since his surgery because I didn't want to stress him. Sitting the trot also helps me get my inside leg available to nail him when he's bulging or distracted.
Anyway, after some insisting on my part, Mikey became super through, soft, light, connected and pliable. And strong- he felt very solid behind. I kept sitting the trot since he was giving me somewhere to sit. He really filled out his neck the whole way from poll to withers, I was very excited to see that. I did several more transitions before moving on to canter.
His canter was awesome- none of the almost through moments. I started with my super connected trot and asked for canter, which started super connected and then stayed that way. I barely had to remind him to stay connected, just a small half halt every now and then. I mixed in some simple changes through trot which stayed better connected for the left to right change. I had to take more time to rebalance in trot for the right to left.
I was thrilled with his work at that point and pulled him up and went to walk him back home to the barn. A tree chose that moment to fall down and my relaxed horse was gone, but I was able to convince him to walk back into the woods without too much fuss and go back to the barn. The farm owner was there getting ready to hop on a horse and go for a short trail ride, so we joined her.
So I'm super happy that this get back to work period is really paying off with filling in the holes in Mikey's training. I hope we get to use them in public! Anyway, I'd really like some video of him now so I can compare it with video from our last show.
|Stretching out, nose to the sand, after a good work.|