Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Real Dressage Horse

For all of you who have been following, you should know that RC has a love/hate relationship with what I'm trying to accomplish this summer, and as such, I have a love/hate relationship with RC (but mostly love). Yesterday RC was definitely hating it. We worked on canter pirouettes to get him to sit on his rump through his canter/walk transitions. Turns out, transitions are MUCH easier then pirouettes, as RC found out. He was doing everything his little mind could come up with to avoid sitting and actually (gasp!) using his butt, which mostly consisted of throwing his head. Once he figured out (and I actually did it) that every time he started to be fussy with his face, he had to go forward yet back. Not forward AND beck, forward YET back. Which means that he had all of the power and energy of a medium, but was sitting like a collected canter (no wonder RC hates me). So that was yesterday. I was expecting an angry Mr. Chompers to emerge today. Especially since I didn't work him first. Since MD was at the vet with Ami (she has a good feeling about this time...), I pulled Diva's mane then RC's mane then I rode RC. I was just warming up when MD pulled in, so RC and I didn't get to avoid a lesson. RC was Mr. Fabulous today! I have no idea where it came from, but he was like "you want me to sit, ok" and "you want a trot and canter half pass, ok". Now there is the work ethic that has been missing. I guess the answer is to really work him hard and ask for the advanced stuff one day, then he's more then happy to be a first level horse the next day. RC's good attitude prompted MD to tell me that "Now you have a first level horse" with the potential to show second THIS YEAR and maybe third next year! Obviously, I won't show him in second level this year since I'm trying to qualify at training and first but it's still cool to hear that RC is making so much progress from someone who isn't emotionally invested in the brat. After RC's wonder-ride, I took him for a little ride down the road. Because it seemed like it would be fun, I ran him down the racehorse track for a little while, maybe a quarter or half mile. it was so much fun! And he loved it, which I did not expect. He didn't set any land speed records, but he wasn't doing a little tiny canter either. I may have to do that again... Unbeknownst to me, I had a tail during my trail ride. Tempi followed me out this morning. Usually she turns around at the end of the driveway so imagine my surprise when I turned around and there was a little sand colored poodle meerkating about 100 yards back. I'm not sure what's worse, that I didn't know that my poodle was following me, or that RC only got a 100 yard lead while cantering out... Anyway, her tongue was nearly dragging the ground, and she laid down, belly up when I approached her. I felt bad so I dismounted and picked her up. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to mount a horse while holding a poodle? It's a good thing that RC is quiet and Tempi was dead tired... She sat like a little person in front of me, taking stock of the whole situation during the ride. I wish I had a picture of it.... After RC, I rode Diva for MD's sales video. I had her all fixed up: mane pulled, tail brushed out and conditioned, coat polished, white polos, the works. Evidently MD isn't as picky as Lyndon about turnout in sales videos, because she was actually surprised at how I had Diva prepared. Anyway, the video is attached (hopefully) so feel free to check it out. It's not MD's official video, I just played around with a few things on my computer. I hope you like it! After Diva, it was the cremello. She's starting to turn a corner. The progress is slooooooow but still there. She isn't trying to kill me anymore, so I'm counting it as a plus. She's letting my lay over the addle and awkwardly steer her and ask her to walk-whoa-walk-whoa without throwing a fit, so MD asked me to sit up on her without walking (since that's when she blew up last time). Evidently she can handle the weight, but looking back and seeing a person up above her really freaks her out. She's no Deli, but she's getting closer.... Then it was Deli. When i went out after lunch, I was actually worried that it was going to rain, since Deli doesn't do well in the rain (she has big ears that she doesn't like to get wet), but all it did was rumble. So the ride was all good to go. And she was very good. She had a major spook-jump-buck while I was lunging her and a mastoodle ran out from under the horse trailer, but other then that, I think that she didn't want to use up any more energy then necessary in this weather. Under saddle, she has developed a slight balking habit, which is usually corrected with a slap on the neck or shoulder. If I tap her butt, she wants to buck, so there is no sense in doing that. Yesterday the balking was so bad tha I got off her to lunge her again, so that she didn't get to stop working just because she was balky. Then MD saw what I was doing and stood in the center of the circle while I worked Deli holding a lunge whip and moving towards Deli every time she wanted to balk. Today, balking was much less of an issue. It's still there (which is why I bought a wonderful crop with my birthday money, I cant wait until it gets here!), but she is less likely to prop and buck then she is to give in and go forward. After cantering her both directions, I let her finish for the day. Even if she is being bratty, she is much further along then RC was at two (sorry Mom). She is even starting to drop her head to the contact and can trot in a straight line and change directions through a circle. Not bad for a two year old, huh? In other news... Deli and RC were both wormed today... MD was amazed that RC would be begging for peppermints with his moth full of wormer. That horse couldnt care less what you feed him, he just swallows it whole anyway.