Monday, March 16, 2009

A Couple of Good Practice Sessions

My wife isn't big on going out to the practice arena to work on exercises. I, on the other hand, will bore my horse senseless if given the opportunity to drill on the things I need to work on. Over the winter, when time is limited we usually just ride out and work on a few things when we are on the trail and enjoy the time together.

This last weekend my wife was off on a weekend with her girlfriends so Jessie and I got to head out back and work on some of the exercises in RWC I, which we hope to video in the upcoming weeks. It had been some time since we worked on these and I was kind of anxious to see how she did. I tucked the 3x5 card with the list of exercises under the horn, gave myself an hour and we started with the easy ones.

One rein flexes - check. Yield hindqtrs at standstill - check. One rein stops - check. Bending at a walk - so, so. Passenger at the trot - check. We had not ever really done the passenger at the lope just because of the shape of the area and the distractions, feeders, bad fence, and low hanging trees it possesses. But, it's on the list and I wanted to see how she handled it. She took off a bit fast and I just hung on until she got to the gate. I squeezed, clucked and spanked to get her going again and she raced to the other end. Once she realized she had to keep going she started to wander around the area pretty good. I can see how practicing this will help one become a better rider. When I asked her to stop she was quite ready even though we only did it for about three or four minutes. I gave her a breather and we did it again. It actually was turning into fun (for me anyway). We did a little more bending at the walk and then some side-passing on the fence and vertical at the standstill. We also spent some time doing the 4 -leaf clover and she did very well at both the trot and the lope. We ended with some backing up and flexing. Our hour was up.

Sunday, we had some time so we went through the routine again. She improved quickly, although bending-at-the-walk still met with some resistance. The passenger lesson at the lope was much improved as was the clover at the lope. We didn't spend much time out there, only about thirty minutes. My wife came home in the afternoon and we went out on a 90 minute trail ride.

Afterward, I came to the conclusion I should try and run through this checklist once or twice a year to gauge how she's doing and give myself a refresher on the different exercises.
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