Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Bouncy Morning

Spring has sprung in more than one way here in Wisconsin. We just got our traditional March blizzard, which, believe it or not, is a symbol of warmer weather a'coming, nature's got all the crappy weather out of her system, and now we move on to warmer temps and sunny days.

In the other sense of the word "spring", today was a day for Crest. The first since last Sunday, when I got my video critiques back from Linda. According to that, Crest, biomechanically is, well, kind of a wreck. He could possibly be out through his hips and stifles, but for sure, he's bowed out to the right in his ribs, making it hard for him to take a right lead without dropping his shoulder or cross firing, go sideways to the left, and creates misery when riding for both of us. As far as my problems go, I'm mainly just terrible at reading my horse and his extremeness. My energy level is often too great for his Left-brain extroversion, (wow, you don't hear THAT very often!) and I change game plan too quickly. The reason this is a problem is because Crest is also a fairly extreme Right-Brain Extrovert, and he needs just enough repetition to make him feel confident in himself and that he's performing the task correctly. Anyway, all that aside, I'll get to solutions and results later on, let me just focus on the session.

Went out and Crest met me at the gate. This is not unusual behavior for him, he'll take any attention he can get. I haltered him up and I could tell just by looking that, oh boy, this was going to be an energetic session. Set out with a loosely oriented plan around possibly riding, and with that in mind, set out into our play area. Well the first thing I noticed is that Crest was erm..bouncy. I sent him out onto the circle, and for 10 minutes straight, it was pure exuberance, canter-bounce-canter-bounce, etc. He actually looked great, it was a nice change from the Right-Brain stuff he's been into lately, and I let him do what he wanted. Got his brain focused on something other than goofiness finally (Cantering around barrels in a figure 8 pattern, with an added little buck when he changed directions-LOL). Did some sideways work, he really likes to look at me while he's doing his thing, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sideways, as Linda said, gotta send his nose better. Will keep progressing on that.

After about 20 minutes, he looked ridable, so I hopped on. Recall the title of this entry: "A Bouncy Afternoon". Well, that's how it was to ride. He was nice and calm straight out into the walk, nice even, medium pace, no braciness, no big impulsion stuff. We just walked around, and then I asked him to trot. Since I found out about his ribs being bowed out, I've been sitting over to the right a little, in the "relative center" of his back, and it's been doing really well, and today I really felt a change in his trot. While he's always been tough to sit (Big bouncy gaits), I really feel a freedom in his stride today, like he was moving as well as he does without a rider, which is great for him in his body, but sucks for me as a rider, because I have to sit through that much more BOING BOING BOING! it all went well, worked on some techniques that were suggested for a LBE/RBE impulsive horse, basically a series of wide, arching 180's along the fence. It adds the elements of the straight lines for the Left-brain, and the circles for the Right-Brain, and adds a sense of calm for any tension. He seriously felt wonderful. Ended on an interesting note, the girls (Princess, and the barn owner's two mares) were feeling rambunctious, and Crest really wanted to go play with them, so we did a nice trot circle, and unhaltered, he took off running and snorting and farting, Oy, Extroverts. We seem to have a lot of them around here.

On a side note: Can't wait to feel his movement and progress when I get my fluidity saddle!
Savvy out.

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