Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Progress Report


So far things are just moseying right along for Mr Cash and I! I couldn't be happier!

Last week we were having a bit of difficulty with the lunging, he got the idea to go around me, he just didn't get that it has to be a ROUND circle, and that it has to be done at a speed much slower than "racehorse". He would cut in on one side of the circle, then rocket out and hit the end of the line and spin out... and repeat, completely tuning me out. I had started to use side reins on him adjusted moderately loose, 90% of the time he was just braced against him, he'd eventually stretch down into the contact, but it took awhile and I'd end up with only 1-2 circles of quality work with the right muscles.

So, change of plans. I MacGyvered me up a set of sliding side reins (think draw reins in a side rein form) out of a few rings & snaps from my local farm and ranch store and some 1/4" nylon rope I had sitting out. I also moved to our little round pen, I had wanted to avoid it if possible just because it's so small (maaaaybe 15m across) and he's so big and unfit for circles.

We did two days in the round pen, focusing on A) staying out on the end of the line and B) listening and staying at a nice consistent, steady pace.

Today I decided to test what we had learned and lunged in the "big kid" arena! And.... I think it's clicking!! He only tried to cut in a little at first, but I was able to subtly but quickly correct it and the rest of the time he was out on the circle with a steady feel on the lunge line, and about 80% of the time he was stretching down and for the most part, out with his head and neck. Was he consistently on the bit? No. But that will come.

Then he was being sooo good that I asked for a little bit of canter! Which he took quietly, albeit very tensly, and cantered about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way around the circle before trotting. And that was it, he came back to a calm and quiet trot right away after the canter and was none the worse for wear. YAY! No meltdown, no out of control, awesome!

Weather permitting, I plan to start riding him on Saturday, just walking, but to start teaching turning and leg/seat cues.

So exciting!!

So cute!


Sounds all good. I like your description of the sliding side reins. I decided I needed some for Nina, looked online at the $100+ prices, retracked to the hardware store and made a pair for about $5. Still have them, they are perfect. :-)

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