Sunday, February 15, 2009

Footfalls Made Easy - And a Jammed Packed Saturday

I found this video over at Dressage in Jeans on a post about western pleasure. While I'm not going to go into the specifics on that post, I will say I agree whole heartedly with the ideas behind it in relationship to the Arabian horse in the western pleasure discipline as well.

Correction.......I agree with it when it pretty much comes to all disciplines. I've been pretty open here about what I think in regards to spur and jerk training. It's not really training and it doesn't really work.

However, my interest in this video for my blog has to do with the way they showed the beats of each gait. Since I have just recently posted about the beats to each gait in my post Long Lining - - Beginning the Young Horse - - What to Ask I found the use of different colored polo wraps to show the footfalls of each gait very helpful. So helpful, I thought it would be a good idea to post the video here for anyone having difficult "seeing" those footfalls. It's amazing how something as simple as using different colored wraps can make it all so clear.

On another note I thought I'd go back to Valentine's Day and share how it went for me. It was my first day working horses with my new glasses. I was a bit concerned about the new prescription because the changes made were dramatic, not just changes in the strength but a huge change was made in the prism used as well.

That prism thing is pretty tricky and can easily set a person on her/his ear. I really wanted to get back to riding but wasn't sure my eyes would tolerate the new lenses. I sure didn't want to end up in the dirt because I got turned around by the prisms so I was prepared to go slow despite feeling like I need to make up for lost time here too. What a place to be!!!

I started off with Legs and the yearlings in the first load. The yearlings are getting conditioned for halter. Richard does the round pen work on that with one while I school the other one of the halter stance with the other.
Teaching horses to set their feet properly can be boring for both the handler and the horse. The yearlings are somewhat destracted by the work going on in the round pen at the same time they're supposed to be learning so it's actually made things a bit livelier. My glasses didn't seem to cause me any problems with this process so that was good.

Next I was on to riding Legs who is coming along really awesome. He or Dandy would defintely have been the best choice to try out my new glasses. If there were problems, I wanted a good, quick "Whoa!" so I didn't end up in the dirt.

Legs was awesome and the glasses worked out just fine. So in the next load, I actually rode two more horses. We are still working on Vee getting her left lead. With Jessica it has been a hit and miss proposition. I felt it had to do with consistency so I have taken the project over.

We have been working the horse in the round pen. The support from the rail as a barrier has helped prevent the mare dropping her outside shoulder which in turn has increased her incidence of getting the correct lead. On Saturday, Vee was a star.

Before I rode her I tied her to the inside using her halter and lead rope and then lunged her a little bit each direction. She did great getting her leads although she would scoot a bit like she was going to switch but didn't when I told her "no." It was clear she is getting the idea what is correct. Even picking up the correct lead sometimes when she is set up incorrectly.

When I got on her I worked to see if the same was true under saddle. Only twice did Vee get the lead incorrectly and yes, it was my fault, I set her up wrong. BUT ALL of the times I set her up correctly she got it right and MOST of the times I set her up incorrectly she still got it right. She IS getting it! And she's quite proud of herself too!

The next horse I rode was Percy. You remember Percy from Getting Started......and then there's Percy There's a lot to catch up on Percy's progress, obviously, if I'm riding him BUT I am riding him. We're working on him moving off my legs. At my age, I want really good steering so this horse is learning that my style. Let me just say, he's coming along..........

in addition to those 5 horses, I also hauled Tag, Hope, Dandy and Lucy over to Angie and Richard's. That made a total of 3 loads and 9 horses. My new glasses didn't disrupt too much, although the reading is tough. For me that made for a great Valentine's Day. I was exhausted but it was the good kind of exhaustion. It was a good day.

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  1. Wow MiKael, new eyes, new behiney, and look at you go! ;)

    IT has got to feel great getting back to riding that many horses again!

  2. I have watched that video a lot. I think that if the WP horse actually walked that fast in a WP ring, it would do laps around most other horses!! LOL!! I showed QH for a long time, and I would love for horses to move out like that.

    The idea of the different colored polo wrapps is a good one!!

  3. The different colored wraps are a good teaching tool,I've seen this before and it really helps see what's going on. As for the rest of your day, wow, you are busy and should be exhausted at the end of the day. I would be. Hope your eyes adjust quickly to the new lenses. Also your picture of the moon was really good and that puppy that Lindsey was holding is adorable. Hope she is doing well, she looks great.

  4. Mrs Mom, I'm not sure so about the new behiney......I am still paying for riding without a doubt. But show season is calling and one of these young horses needs to be ready for that. Time's a wastin'!

    The day definitely felt good even if my bottom didn't. I hope to be riding all of the young horses soon. They will be ready for some work on frame once they get the steering thing down and both of those will have to be coming from me. Richard won't be able to ride that many. For now he is pushing it at 4 some days.

    Andrea, I loved the walk on the WP horse but it's not like any walk I've ever seen in the QH ring, or for that matter not often in the Arabian ring. But I love a horse with a great walk and I show my horses with that walk too.

    I get lots of looks from the judges that way. I think they're checking to be sure it's what I'm asking instead of the horse being pushy. To date, I don't think I've ever been penalized for allowing my horse to walk out like that. If anything, I've been plused for it.

    It's a same that more people don't allow their horses to walk normally. Instead they get sucked into believing that's what you have to do to win. But maybe, just maybe, it's all the judges are getting the opportunity to judge. They can't place what's not there.

    Arelene, I have never seen the wraps done this way. What a great tool!

    The rest of my day made me tired just writing about it. LOL

    Lindsay is doing great. She can't wait for the new puppy to come home. Me, I'd dreading those first few days when she figures out she lost all her brothers, sisters and cousins. I know I'm the one will be dealing with her. Sleepless nights here we come. LOL