Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He was round and on the bit

Wow. Thank you for all the comments with suggestions about how to get Jack to come round and on the bit during transitions. I really appreciate that you took the time to do that for me.

Jack had an unexpected 3 days off when I went to Parachute Music Festival. Once I was back to reality, it was back to work. The ODE is this Sunday and Jack really needed to get worked hard. The first day back (Monday) was a bit of a write off. Jack never works too well after time off , his brain seems to stay in vacation mode. So I made it easy for him and just did fitness work.

Tuesday it was back to the hard slog. Rally started up again for us, just in time too. I really needed help with the hollowness in transitions and during the trot. Thankfully, half of the lesson was focused on flat work and we really got to work on being round. A, my rally instructor, has a style of teaching that usually doesn't appeal to me. I am definately a person who needs words of affirmation and she doesn't do this often. Through the majority of the lesson I felt like I was doing something wrong but we got results from Jack, so I'm happy. This being said, she really likes Jack. She hasn't seen much of him due to his lameness and I don't think she liked him much at the start of the lesson when his head was way up in the air. But as he softened and rounded she started complimenting him. My favourite was "He's a really nice mover." I never expected anyone to say this due to Jack's mincing trot, but by the time she said this he had started lengthening his stride nicely.

A had me concentrate on getting Jack long and low throughout the whole lesson. By flexing his head to the inside then asking for roundness and lowness with the outside rein, Jack really responded and lowered his head nicely. When transitioning from walk to trot, A told me to ask him to lower his head and as he did ask for trot. This resulted in him having to use his hocks to transition rather then pulling himself into the trot with his front legs and head. It worked wonders and he stayed collected almost throughout the whole transition. Once in trot, Jack stayed rounded and on the bit almost the entire time. I was truly flabbergasted. We got some nice downwards transitions too. We didn't do much canter as we were concentrating more on the trot and walk.

I was aiming to reiterate last nights lesson today as I was hoping it wasn't just a fluke. It wasn't! Jack was really responsive and worked rounded and on the bit nicely. We also did leg yields and turn on the forehands which Jack is getting better at. Again, we didn't do any canter work. We were working in a un-even paddock which only had a very small flat area and it was too difficult to do anything much. I'll be working on canter tomorrow in the arena or on a nice flat paddock.

All-in-all it looks like things are going well. Hopefully this means we won't completely humiliate ourselves at the ODE on Sunday. I'm riding 2nd in my class which means I won't have to spend ages waiting around to go into the arena which is a good thing.

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