Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Dude is back! and with scratches...ew.

Real quick I want to get the grossness out of the way first.  That swelling the other day?  I think I finally got to the bottom of it, with the help of my farrier.  I believe he has scratches on the back of both pasterns.  His LH being the worst.  It is not severe right now so I am hoping to nip this in the bud.  Other than that Steady is officially barefoot for at least the winter.  Now on to the good stuff!

Near 50 degrees and sunny in January, in Indiana.  Simply lovely!  I decided to pull out the video camera today, thinking that I could catch some of Steady's insaneness on tape and hopefull see a possible cause  But instead my wonderful horse came back out today and I and a wonderful ride.  You have to excuse my HIDEOUS posture and position in the video.  See in my lesson with LAZ she told me that I am arching my back and that is making Steady hollow out.  Then when watching Anne Kursinski teach she kept telling the riders to "sit on your butt, not your crotch."  Also "to melt into your horses back".  Muscle memory can be a SOB, when it is incorrect.  It is so bad that in my lesson with LAZ I was not physically capable of not arching my back when sitting up and keeping my shoulders back.  So though it may seem a bit over the top I know I need to over exagerate pushing my butt under me and rounding my back to get those muscles to stop locking in that position.  No I do not plan to ride like that but I am trying to untrain my muscle memory so I can have a rounder, sitting on my butt, more melting into my horse position and a softer seat.  But in doing so I look like it is the first time I have ever been on a horses back, slouching, leaning forward, legs forward, eeewww, but I was doing it on purpose.  No one ever said training is pretty.  Other than that I am pleased with our work.  I had a few ah ha, moments during our ride.  I decided to not fuss with his mouth so much.  I had a feeling that was one source of his temper tantrums.  Not so much messing with the reins to get him to come round or slow down.  Whattaya know it worked wonders.  You will notice also that I keep taking my hands and rubbing his neck, kinda throwing the reins away(all while being hunched over, beautiful).  That is #1 to reinforce good behaviour but #2 it is a way for me to keep myself in check that I am NOT hanging on his mouth.  I decided to video from the start of our ride rather than wait until he was warmed up so that I could get a more fair assessment of any lameness/soreness going on.  Toward the end of our ride I am able to regulate, speed and tempo with out the use of my hands and he became quite obedient, supple, round with good movement.  I did some sitting trot without stirrups in both directions.  Anne mentioned that she feels you have a more "correct" position without stirrups.  So I gave it a whirl.  Steady seems to quite like the sitting trot for some reason, even not being in the best shape, which I find interesting.  He was very sticky moving off my leg for leg yeilds at walk and trot both sides. But once I got one nice step under himself I praised him and let it go. I had no plans to pick any fights today.   He had a split second of silliness in the trot/canter transition to the left but that comes with Steady and lack of fitness. Not worried about it and he also switched behind at the end, again, fitness and not worried about it.  I am quite pleased with him and myself for working through this.  Next time I come on here whining about my awful, dreadful, hopeless horse someone please remind me he will become sane again someday.

I broke it up into a series of eight fairly boring videos.  Watch if you have nothing else to do with your time ;)

Posting trot and sitting trot going left.  Goal: to regulate speed and tempo with body and seat, light contact.  Politely asking him to take contact, not demanding it.  Cause like I said I was not trying to pick any fights yesterday.

#2 is a very sad attempt to make an unfit, out of work horse to do leg yeilds and turns on the forehand at the walk and trot.

#3  Posting and sitting trot work to the right.  Again nothing of great excitement.  Decent work for our current condition.

#4  Short canters in both directions.  My position looks so grotesc I am hesitant to even post these videos.  Barf...but it was truely serving a purpose.  My back muscles are even sore today because of it.  Which means the memory is changing.  Please don't judge my riding on these videos you can go back and clearly see I do not ever ride like this.

#5  A small log jump in both directions.  Can you guess which direction the pasture is in? 

#6  Second attempt at the log.  Just wanting a nice calm, pop over the jump.  It improves but I am still not happy with it.

#7  Steady finally comes back to me reasonably well in the direction of the pasture.  I am pleased, we are finished.  I ask for a collected square halt, no flipping his nose out which he likes to do.  Which I am reasonably happy with exception that afterwards he gets all dramatic and dorky and starts being weird with his head and neck and I couldn't get him to stop.  Dork!

#8  Me just being mean to my sweet I just had to torcher him a little and embarrass the Dude on the world wide web.  Poor guy but oh how I LOVE him.


  1. I was taught and I teach that if your riding seems to be turning into small arguments, then take a light contact, rest your hands on your thighs and kick him forward. Don't move your hands. If suddenly he relaxes, flops his ears, softens his back and picks up his stride - GUESS WHO IS BEING ANNOYING WITH THE REINS?? It will tell you every time. I laugh when I nail myself like this and so do all my students. LOL We get in unconscious habits and stare at the horse wondering what the problem is.
    Thanks for the videos, good for you for moving along during the winter. We got a foot of snow and blizzard today - 300 accidents just in my ice coated area and a high of mid teens.
    I want to hibernate. :-)

  2. Good for you for correcting the bad habits and having the guts to show the video! Honestly, it didn't look THAT horrid at all.

    The weather is changing though and Winter is knocking on the door, finally.

  3. Must be something in the air with arching the back - I'm having the same problem! For me it comes from not using my abs to ride. My instructor told me something last night that really made sense - engage the bottom half of your core muscles to pull your pelvis forward, then stretch the top half of your core muscles to pull your body upright. For some reason that just worked for me - maybe it will help you? It's not easy to reprogram muscle memory, that's for sure!

  4. You don't look as bad as you make it sound lol! And you're right sometime training isn't pretty. :D I love the video of the jacket. Chrome carries mine when we go out on walks and I get hot. I've never put the hoodie on him before though. So cute!


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