Wednesday, August 3, 2016

8/2 Lesson

Lesson Tuesday night was great. Penn brought his looky to lesson, which is nice. Sometimes when I'm having a problem it doesn't surface in lesson.

Since we only had a half hour, it was a lot of work straight through (I accidentally scheduled the farrier on lesson night, which meant he was of course 40 min early and got there as I was walking out to lesson- he assured me it was fine, he had some paperwork to do). We got to lesson outside, since that's where I'm a bit nervous with his lookyness.

Child's play in comparison to this lesson.

Trainer started by having me trot him on a circle (which was fine), then move off to doing some leg yields from the quarterline to the wall... and Penn promptly started being looky and spooky. The routine went through the following progression:

  • In trot to the left, Leg yield quarterline to wall.
  • Leg yield quarterline to wall (or at least a few steps) then half pass in.
  • 10-12m circle in the second corner of the short side, half pass across the diagonal. When the half pass gets iffy, change to leg yield, still going across the same diagonal, to make him finish it. We usually only got to the centerline of this arena (it's way wider than a standard dressage ring ad his half pass has almost zero sideways cover since it's not true half pass), repeat the circle and half pass leg yield the other direction. (everything to the right was away away from trainer, everything to the left was coming towards her). Repeat many, many times. (this is where he decided to spook at everything... cats, poles, arena dirt pile from the drag, Trainer sitting on the mounting block, a horse being turned out, someone walking through the field. He is notably worse to the left since I have a more difficult time getting bend left. there were some 10m circles near the dirt pile that involved thumping of the inside leg)
  • 10-12m circle to shoulder in left down the long wall (towards trainer). Careful not to ask for too steep an angle. 3 tracks is not much angle for Penn.
  • Up centerline, shoulder in left on centerline, change to shoulder in right halfway. Turn right, shoulder in right down the long wall (towards trainer). Turn up centerline (away from trainer), swap shoulder ins, turn left. Repeat several times.
  • After the turn back to the long wall, pick up the canter and canter in shoulder fore down the long wall back towards trainer. Trot before turning up centerline. Lengthen trot down centerline. Repeat to the other direction. Change the transitions on centerline to collected trot to lengthen to collected. Repeat.
  • Keep the canter, turn up centerline in canter. Trot on the straight line, pick up the new lead on the straight line, turn the new direction, lengthen canter down the long wall, collect, turn down centerline. Repeat.
  • Do the above again, except change centerline to trot, then walk, then pick up the new lead from walk. Repeat each direction.
  • Stretchy trot on a big circle to finish.
That pretty much took up a half hour, esp the part with the battling over the spooking. We were both dripping in sweat!

I am horrible and have ZERO new media of us working. Eventually I will have new media!

Overall, she got after me about keeping my hands down when he spooks, and to use it to my advantage to get more collection. When he's looking, he's not inverting and staring, he's mostly just lifting and bulging the shoulder and turning his head the wrong way. She warned me not take the bait he was offering- aka pull the inside rein to reestablish looking in the correct direction. Big half halts and a ton of seat and leg to remind him (less hand than I've been doing, oops), and use that new lift to my advantage.

She really liked his work, looking and spooking aside. She said, "When he's focused, he is such a HUGE mover." She thinks a lot of the looking came from riding him inside too much combined with him being super fit (ok so maybe I won't be adding trot sets to our routine). Mikey used to do it too if he worked all the time inside. He basically got bored going in circles and looking at the same 4 walls, so he'd come up with off task things to do. I've been riding Penn inside a ton since our meltdown at the end of June- I felt more comfortable dealing with him where I had 4 walls, and then it became blazing hot out so I just wanted to stay out of the sun. No more of that, I was told to ride outside all the time, and if it was truly a scorcher, ride 15min inside and then 15min outside. Do a ton of transitions on simple patterns to keep his focus.

She also said that after the show season is done, give him a month off to just be a pet, not a show horse or a horse in training. I think he's earned that. I was going to give him some chill time anyway, he's been working so hard for the last year that I'm sure he could use a break.

She asked if I had pictures from when I first got him, I said yes, she said just wait til you compare now and then! I'll do something for FB of course, but I'm so excited for the one year mark on here where I can do a real compare/contrast. Penn is going back to the same show he went to last August, so I'll use those two shows to compare instead of his actual purchase date etc.

Tonight, obstacle trail practice! SO STOKED!


  1. I'm exhausted just from reading all that! It's always nice when they bring their problems to the lesson.

    1. It was exhausting to ride! It gave me some good ideas though. I hate it when a problem won't surface in lesson, especially since I only see trainer every other week!

  2. I need to get outside more too. Good motivation to get out there tomorrow again!

    1. I have to keep telling myself that evening darkness and winter will be along soon, so I had better go enjoy the sunshine and daylight in the outdoor! Soon we'll be stuck inside even if it's nice out!

  3. I love the idea of horses getting little vacations after all their solid work :) also can't wait to see the one year comparisons!!!

    1. Penn earned his vacation for sure! I can't wait either, I haven't gotten to see this new Penn that we've developed in the last month!