Self Carriage and Lightness-Work 3-19-11

On Friday, I took the day off of work and our family (Buck, Pie and Lilly included) headed east about two hours to Woodbine, Texas. Woodbine is the home of a friend and exceptional horsewoman, Terri Fox.

Ive talked about Terri before, she comes out to my area for clinics throughout the year..a reining trainer, she focuses on creating riders, not just passengers, and I love it…reminds me alot of my dressage days years ago. πŸ™‚ Terri has helped us with all our horses, if we encounter a snag or are needing help..she is a phenomenal teacher. We enjoy going to her place to ride.

We rode at Terri’s for about 4-5 hours and had alot of fun. First, a great point, non Pie related..
my son Casey rode almost the WHOLE time!!!! And even when Lilly tried to tell him “no” to something, he rode her thru the snag and kept going. He is a brave kid and gets along so well with this mare.

Now, onto the star..;)
Pie did EXCEPTIONAL. I had to actually figure how many rides she’s had since I gentled her in August..no more then 70 is what I come up with. So while its been months, my schedule and weather has only put her at 70 rides…approx 2 months. So in realizing this, one also tends to realize just how green a horse truly is with just 70 rides..Pie makes up for alot of her green-ness with her “try”..but she is still green.

We warmed up and then worked on some lateral type movements..side passing, turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand..to get her loosened up. Then went into working on driving her into the bridle to allow her to relax, become light and round up under me. We have had fleeting moments of achieving this..but its something we have been working on. A reining horse cannot truly do the maneuvers RIGHT without working correctly. A horse on the forehand cant stop right..lead changes would never happen and speed changes in circles..not pretty on an unbalanced horse. 😦

This is Pie before we achieved self carriage and lightness…

notice how her head is up and her nose is out? she is not “using” herself..
What I did..get ready..NOTHING…:).. I was working to hard to achieve self carriage. Terri told me to sit IN the saddle..relax down into it..raise my hands a pinch and just wait.

Beginning of MY change..notice Pie is still the same..

Raised hands elevate the front of the horse..so when backing, spinning or even if a horse get sticky and brace-y in their stops..raised hands help these. and I know why we sit IN the saddle..Ive done it on her before, especially at the jog, to get her to SLLLOOOWWW down. Sitting deeper is also her cue at the lope to slow. Sitting deeper makes the horse ROUND their back up and CARRY you..and thus be working more correctly off the hind.

Here she is starting to relax abit..you can see her trying to figure out what she needs to do.

Now, don’t think my legs weren’t working..they were..by sitting DEEP in the saddle, I was able to wrap my legs around her barrel and use them to encourage her forward into the bridle.
Afew times she broke to a trot..which Terri said was fine..ment she was thinking and trying to figure it out. I simply loped her off and we did it again.
I’m pleased to say we ACHIEVED it! It was only about 7 strides, but that is awesome for a young horse who is just learning to use her muscles this way!

notice her reaching up under herself, the light contact I have on her mouth and how soft she is in her face?

I asked her to stop after this, as it IS hard work for her to do this..best stop she’s ever done..my cameraman unfortunately didn’t know I was going to stop, so he only got the beginning of it..but you can see she was very correct going into it..left slide marks too! πŸ™‚

Yes, I was quite proud..that was the EASIEST method and it worked well for her “personality” type..it was very non intrusive and let HER figure it out..which Ive found she likes better. πŸ™‚

Paul, my husband, also took this picture. He said it was a photo of weirdness..a child on a horse (notice the stinker standing in his stirrups too?) and an adult on a pony..ignored him..pony power rocks!

All in all, a great day, much achieved and tired horses..which is a great thing. Pie also got to meet one of Terri’s students who just loved her. I brought her stool, so she showed some of her tricks (although I felt she really wasn’t in the zone..maybe alittle tired from her under saddle work) and got her picture taken. This pony has more friends then I do!!!!

I really enjoy Pie and how much she is truly teaching me..the old adage is true..the greenest horse has something to teach the most experienced rider. πŸ™‚ No matter how much experience we have or how long we’ve been riding, there is a horse out there who will require you to think outside the box and take a different road to the same destination. πŸ™‚

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sjpmclean@comcast.net
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 00:12:31

    What a wonderful journey you and Pie are on. Thank you for sharing all the fun, knowledge, and hard work. I can’t wait until the next post.

    Reply

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