Monday, July 13, 2009

The Region 4 Championships......Pre-Show Select Rider

Just a couple of days before we'd left for the Region 4 All Arabian Horse Championships Richard and I had yet another discussion about my horse and his lope. Richard was telling me how awesome the horse looked while I was complaining about how bad the horse felt traveling to the left.

We'd had this discussion before but for some reason this time Richard began to see what I'd been trying to tell him all along. Although the horse looked like he was travelling square, there was no way he could be. Everything I felt was telling me otherwise. The horse was dropping his outside shoulder instead of truly engaging.

The very next day Richard put Legs into the long lines for the sole purpose of getting to the root of the problem. He ran the lines in a special modification to leave the horse only one way to go.......and that was square between the lines.

To Richard's consternation the horse just stood there with his nose on his left shoulder......stuck..........! The horse had no idea he could move underneath himself in this manner. Richard applied pressure to make the horse move but he still just stood there, unable to move. If he couldn't drop out through the outside shoulder, he just couldn't move into the bridle at all.
It was a long session but the horse finally began moving into the bridle. Richard changed his position in and out of square to open the horse up to move at all. Eventually Legs began to get it and began his first true square strides into that bridle. This was only the first step in this fix.

It's not unusual to make this kind of change in how a horse is going only to find the horse now can't do something else. In this case I suddenly found myself with a horse now picking up the incorrect lead when travelling to the left. If I didn't set him up to get the correct lead just like a baby horse , the odds were Legs was going to get it wrong. I hadn't had to deal with this in who knows how long. I was going to have to "remind" myself to ride this new ride.

In the warm-up arena before my first class I was presented with another issue as well. That chestnut stallion that had run into Legs was also warming up for this class. I was going to have to keep a watch out for him as well as remember to take my time and carefully set my horse up for his left lead. It sounded simple enough.........

My horse had been fairly relaxed in the warm-up. Not as relaxed as he'd been when I'd schooled at the break, but relaxed enough I thought we were ok. It wasn't until we lined up to enter the arena I found myself with a horse on the muscle. Legs wanted to enter the arena jogging at the rate he'd been jogging last year.

It took me part way down the first wall to bring the horse back to me. I just couldn't understand what had changed. Legs had rarely shown any signs of heating up going into a class. Something was bugging him that was for sure but he was trying his best to give me what I asked although, once again, I found myself riding with a rein much shorter than I'd been schooling with at home.

With the shorter rein my horse looked more like it was me choking up, than it was him being strong. He has a way that he goes that looks incredibly soft even when it isn't. Since this was the select rider division, I figured my ride would be competitive as long as nothing weird happened.

I guess I should know better than to even allow myself to think such things. While the jog stayed nice, slow and ever, then it was time to lope, I took my time setting the horse up and he loped off correctly but then almost immediately behind me I heard thundering hooves. A horse galloped by me out of control so I sat down hard bringing my horse to a "whoa."

Almost immediately a timeout was called. The other horses in the class stopped as well waiting for the resolution of this issue. In all honesty I didn't really see how that horse was stopped. I just know that it was and the rider asked to be excused. Then the class would be resumed and we'd probably be asked to lope once again............

To be continued.........

Select Rider Part 2

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1 comment:

  1. Oh My GOSH!!! Was this the very same 'problem competitor' as previously???
    Do you think that Legs is showing his uncertainty and uneasyness at out of control equestrians? Sadly, he has been shown on more than one occasion that you need to be warry. I've seen horses who don't miss a thing.
    I know what you mean about the way the horses move. When you polish their movement to that level balance in every area is key. It is so funny how evasion even in a small way impacts the whole (even those things they had 'down' before).