Friday, November 4, 2016

Ground Poles Galore

In my last two lessons with S, we have been playing with ground poles.  I have learned a few of things.  One, my horse is definitely a saddlebred and he has the front leg action to prove it.  Two, lateral moments are still our best friend.  Three, the shoulders are key.

Our water jump has become a mud pit

When Stinker gets on a straight line in the trot, he tends to lock up his shoulders.  It is kind of like losing breaks and power steering.  You can get him to cover less ground but the feet don't stop moving.  You can turn him, but it lacks some finesse.  Mostly it feels like an excitement thing...him saying "YAY!!! WE GO!"  The only way I have figured out how to break this up are lots of circles and lateral movements.

So much darkness now

Fun fact, my horse apparently trots better over the poles when I put him in a slight shoulder fore or slight leg yield over them.  He is getting a lot more consistent in half halting and slowing the front legs.  They are still quicker than the hind.  Some how I need to figure out how to jazz up the hind while slowing up the front.  I think that will be a lifetime project with him.

Sweaty pony made me paranoid about saddle fit #crazyowner

After he did really well with the trot I decided to canter him a bit to see how that would go.  I also asked S to set up two canter poles for us.  The first time over them was hysterical.  I think it caught him off guard because his front feet came up high enough for me to see them (because I stare at his neck forever and always).  It was like an extended trot toe flick at the canter.  He is such a nut.

Insert cookie

Overall, I was really pleased with the canter.  It needs a lot of work and so does the trot, but at least we are trying.  And I no longer feel like we are totally out of control, so that is a plus.  I really need to figure out how to work on transitions without him losing his mind.  If I could get those cleaned up it would make things a lot easier on me.  Right now, he takes it to mean that he did something wrong and gets frustrated.  Darn over achiever.

12 comments:

  1. Ground poles FTW! Stinker is so cute. I want to insert cookies all day long haha.

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    1. His cuteness with that face gets him out of a lot of trouble...

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  2. He sounds so cute- Carmen gets upset too when she thinks she's getting it wrong. I love the 'insert cookie' photo. :D I love his face.

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    1. It's so hard to find a balance with the over achievers. And I adore that cookie face too :)

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  3. Sounds like an awesome lesson!! I love ground poles for so many reasons - they are great for giving the horse something else to think about haha. Stinker sounds like a goofball with them!! ;)

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  4. Sounds like you are make great progress! Canter was so brand new so recently and now you can just add it into a ride where you worked on other new things!

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    1. It really is. He has been stepping up so much lately!

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  5. Leo's first ground poles involved much flailing, and then trying to leap over all of them at once like a giant 3" high oxer. But now that he somewhat understands them, I've found that they seriously help to focus his brain when he starts to lose it - I think it brings him back from the edge of saddlebred mania. Sounds like an excellent lesson! I'm so glad that you are feeling better about the canter!

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    1. Baby horses with ground poles is always amusing. Pongo would try to canter trot poles. He would go into a really stiff legged cartoon like canter. All that was missing was the boing boing as he went through 😂

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  6. Random lurker here. ;) Congrats on all of the progress you guys have been making. I was wondering if you have considered using a clicker or verbal cue to give him instant crystal-clear feedback that he's doing it right? He's motivated to figure it out, but it sounds like he needs a YES THAT RIGHT THERE signal to separate "good job, lets do it again" from "wrong answer, do something else" in his mind. Feedback is something that my trainer always correctly gets after me about. When I get caught up in doing hard stuff I tend to one-track mind. If I neglect the timing of my release or forget to tell her she's a good girl when she's doing it right she gets frustrated.

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    1. I use verbal cues a lot. And I'm a work in progress with improving my timing for release. I've thought about clicker training with him but he is so responsive to verbal cues that I've never gotten around to actually doing it. Part of the problem with repetitive things is he starts anticipating and then gets frustrated. He is a smart cookie and tries really hard and sometimes I don't know how to direct that into a positive manner.

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