11.10.08: Not My Ride

Due to our annual training trip out to Las Vegas with work, I was not able to be there for my lesson. So Kirsten got to ride Storm, and Jim videoed the lesson for me. It was fascinating to watch her ride him, she's able to do so much more with him than I am. And her running commentary as she works is hilarious.
She started out right away riding him, and was really making him work. She added halt transitions to the work we have been doing since his halt leaves something to be desired. We've focused for so long on a consistent walk that we have not practiced halt much at all. She added a halt in at any point where he really dumped on the forehand to let him know that it was an unacceptable way to move. He was struggling more on the left side, which is not his usual pattern, but she simply worked with whatever he threw at her, and so she spent quite a bit more time on his left side. As she worked his shoulders popped a couple of times, and after doing so the difference in the range of motion of his shoulder and front legs was noticeable. She continued to really work him and help him find stability on his back legs. She was calling out his balance as he found it and lost it repeatedly, many times for only one step at a time before it was gone again. He was working very hard for her, and so she eventually switched directions and helped him find more stability on his right side. He was moving better for her in that direction and she was really able to push him and help him find more and more stability. His mouth was working hard as he struggled to hold his balance for her. At one point his back popped somewhere under the saddle and she felt him really widen and lift through his shoulders and back. As she continued to work he got really fussy about the whole thing and started to shake his head and swish his tail. Interestingly enough when he encounters this new sensation and freedom of movement, he wants to move out, and go in a hurry. In contrast, Nancy was working with Julius at the other end of the arena and having the opposite issue. Kirsten set Nancy up to work on trot transitions and really force Julius to not be able to cheat. Kirsten explained that they had originally allowed him to move and hoped that he would find his balance of his own accord, but that didn't happen. So now Nancy's task was to take his head and shoulders off track and once he was really balanced on his inside hind, then ask for a trot. It took away Julius's ability to cheat and pull through the transition with his head and neck bent way off to the side. Kristen gave Storm a break and got up on Julius to show Nancy just how far she had to swing his shoulders over, giving the exclamation, "Com'on Preztle Boy! Gimm'me your best shot!" And she really had him working hard, his poor brain was steaming in the short few minutes that she had him working. When Julius encounters the need to balance on his hindquaters, he simply slows down and responds with a "nope can't do it like that, see!" It is rather amusing that the draft gets balanced and finds his get up and go, and the arab gets balanced and insists that he can't move anymore.
Once Kirsten finished really showing Nancy how to make Julius work for it, she put the long lines on Storm and let him have a little romp. She fired him up and helped him to find his hindquarters and then find stability again in the new movement pattern. He romped around on the long lines and really put on a show for her, and the outcome was a really lovely trot in posture 3. He was REALLY fried by the time she finished with him, and I was really happy with the effort he put into it for her, and how far she was able to take him. I am looking forward to getting back up on him to see if that made my life any easier!
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11.10.09: The Next Ride