Friday, 18 September 2009

Riding in the school for the first time

Tonight I wanted to tick another box for a first with Lancelot and ride in the sand school at home.

I tacked him up and took him out and lunged him first. I worked on just going up and down from halt to walk, walk to trot and back down again. He is very forward and so it is hard to get him to slow down or stop but we are working on that and I think I have cracked it on the lunge. I lift the rein hand forward and step sideways so that I am stepping slightly in front of him. At the same time I say 'Walk' or 'Whoa' or whatever I want. We are getting there slowly and he is definately more responsive now.

I hoped Mike would be out there with me to just watch and make sure I was ok but he went off somewhere to do something and in the end I decided to just get on with it.

We had to have a few goes with the stool that I use for mounting as I want him to learn that he must stand next to it and not just walk off. Today I didn't want to make it the lesson for the day but I still had to do some work to make him stand because I was on my own.

Eventually I was able to get on and he was so good and just stood while I adjusted my stirrups etc. Then we spent about 10 minutes just walking. I have a new saddle and although it is the same make as my old one it really has altered my position and my legs are way too far back and my shoulders are forward. In the end I shortened my stirrups so that I could keep my legs forward and my heels down, this encourages my shoulders back. It is not brilliant but I am working on it.

He is very responsive in walk and nice and forward but halting is another matter. He just leans on the bit and yaws his jaw. Each time he did that I gave the reins and tried just to use my seat and voice to halt but mostly we were doing half halts. If I want to stop I have to take a firm hold and then give and then repeat this about 4 times before he eventually stops. As time progressed he seemed to listen to my seat change but we never quite perfected a halt. I don't want him to lean on the bit so I am very conscious of giving when he does it.

Then we had a couple of trots. I was very apprehensive as I had no idea what he would do or in fact if we would be able to stop at all but he was very good and once I had my balance sorted he became very relaxed and although forward he was in a nice rhythm. I kept the rein nice and loose and with really no contact and he was happy with that. As time went on I took a little bit of a contact but really let him go as he pleased. We did a few rein changes and he seemed to be really enjoying himself and once I had got used to his stride and I relaxed myself I have to say I enjoyed it too. If he wasn't so young I could have stayed out there a lot longer and done a lot more. We did a few trot, walk transitions which were done with only seat and voice and he was very good.

We walked then on a long rein and I called it a day as I was so pleased with him.

I need to find out why he just holds the bit in his mouth and doesn't chew or play with it at all. His mouth is very dry when he is working although I am using a French link Fulmer. I wonder if I changed it for the sweet iron if that would make a difference?

I need to work on the downwards transitions. I want to stop him leaning and yawing on the bit.
I need to work on making him stand at the mounting block.

All in all a brilliant session and I can't wait to ride him again.

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