Posted by: shannonc | November 12, 2009

Alien abduction

Well, I don’t know, three times is supposed to be the charm, so maybe I should wait.  But I have to confess now at least that I’m equal parts mystified and thrilled at Blue’s response to his ditch reintroduction program.

Again today, we began with a little free flatwork, then added the draw reins and did quite a bit of pushing the canter in the ring.  I stayed on small figures, with a plan so I didn’t let him just sort of drift out without my knowledge, and we did counterbend, straight, correct bend shoulder in and canter.  Then brought it back to trot before the sprawly break point.  It was about 3/4 of a 20m circle most of the time.  And immediately in trot, leg leg leg, turn turn turn, try like hell to hold my core, keep the poll up (or get the poll up, as was more often the case).  This worked well both directions, with just one spook from a dog up on the hill rustling in leaves, and just one mini hissy fit to the right where he said, okay, you want me UP?  Fine.  I will jump up and down.

Just like last week, he was very agreeable to the draw reins.  And unlike last week and the week before, he didn’t get rattled by the canter drill.  I used to have to try a canter, then do a lot of serpentining, transitions, breaks and lateral work in trot and walk to distract him before cantering again.  It seems like he’s getting with the program now and I don’t need all that in-between.  This seems like a pretty good thing – he’s settling, he’s starting to believe he can do it, and doesn’t have to distract me with a lot of antics.  Maybe the longe work is helping – he’s become much more confident that he can tool around in a pretty darn balanced canter in on a 15m circle on the longe with or without side reins.

He loosened up and quit fighting me for the most part, and even offered up some fancy trot.  We were really pleased, so we added some canter poles.  All of a sudden, keeping the balanced gait was easier – he thinks I don’t notice that when we add something new, he forgets to argue about whatever the prerequisite was.  Smart has its limits :)  He was good through the first two poles/small cavaletti, then was diving and dragging by the third such that he was knocking it behind.  Still though, it was a better performance than we expected, and his down transitions were nicer than I’ve been getting in the pure flatwork.  I patted, and fed him some sugar from my pocket.

So we removed the draw reins and like last week, headed on a nice long rein out to the xc course.  Same program with the ditches: walk to the half ditch pretty much on the buckle, then back and forth, medium ditch, large ditch.  This time I planned my turns afterward better and it helped to control the dive a little. 

But here is the weird part:  whose horse is this?  Still, no anxiety.  No hesitation, no worry.  His attitude was all NBD Mom.  Sure, no problem.  I never had to push him, he carried me all the way.  Is it possible this ultimate goodness of pleasant ditch work could continue?

I swear, next week I will try to get video.  I think I need to see it!



  1. Fab! :)

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