The last two days of riding Cash have felt an awful lot like riding a firecracker.... HELLO FORWARD.
On Thursday after watching him leap and buck on the lunge line I popped on and though "whoa, there is a lot of energy in here today," Sure enough, it wasn't long until while just walking quietly along I suddenly found myself riding a bunny rabbit. Hullo.
The next day was the same. I tied the stirrups down for lunging as I was thinking that maybe them banging on his sides the previous day had been causing the bucking. Nope, even more leaping and bucking on the lunge and WOW WHAT A TROT. I'll blame the beautifully mild spring weather for his feel good antics, ha!
Thankfully we didn't have any more bunny rabbit episodes under saddle, we did have plenty of spooks... but no spins and bolts thank goodness. And wow the trot! We'd come around a certain area of the circle and he'd throw his head up and get super fast to the point of almost breaking to the gallop. After we'd pass that spot he'd settle, lower his head, take the contact and just give me the most amazingly forward trot ever. It was an interesting mix of using my core to keep the rhythm, my leg to keep him from sucking back, and my hand to half-halt and supple and keep him from breaking without pulling to encourage him to keep his head down. A few rounds later (and mostly once he figured out I wasn't going to pull on him) and I was riding one of the biggest, loftiest, most forward trots on him ever. This horse is going to have a killer medium and extended trot one day.
Later that day I saw a post on Facebook from Tamarack Hill Farm that was talking about Impulsion and how it can be frightening to some riders because it makes them feel on the verge of losing control and that the best way to counter this is through rider fitness to be able to handle the power created by the horse.
And that is so very true. I got done with that ride on Cash and went "Wow! I'm more out of shape for that kind of riding than I thought..."
I've been working on trying to increase my core strength at home. I do a mix of squats, push-ups, sit-ups, planks and pull-ups at home when I can. It doesn't always happen. Obviously though, I need to step up my game. With a horse like Cash it is so important that I'm able to direct his energy into that forward trot, I can figure out packaging it later on down the line, but for now, it's forward, forward, forward!! Because the thing is, if I don't get him forward, that energy gets turned into unpleasant things like spooking, bolting and bucking.
Getting him off the inside shoulder helps too... but that's a topic for another day. In the mean time, ride your horses forward my friends and enjoy the wind in your hair!