I haven’t had consistent lessons recently and when I was given the opportunity to ride with Lauren’s trainer (from here on known as LT) I was hesitant but also excited. Turns out she is a wealth of knowledge and gave me a lot of good pointers. Instruction helps… who knew???
First and foremost if I want to make progress I need to stop side stepping when I meet resistance. Green horses need boundaries. This is even more true when dealing with young SMART green horses. My new plan of action is to introduce a concept gradually with more of a suggestion, once the suggestion has been picked up move to enforcing the concept. This is not with brute force but rather taking the right actions to encourage her to choose the right answer. The biggest step for this is to make the wrong answer hard.
A specific example would be if when I go to ask for a halt she throws her head and hollows her back I need to immediately continue forward (example above from Elisa Wallace Clinic 8/16). Stopping is much easier than continuing and she has already started to figure out this concept. Our downward transitions have been much more pleasant since this method change and my body is thankful – not having my shoulders ripped out of the socket in a fight is always a plus.
Some of the ideas that are consistent for all exercises are being more consistent with my hands and engaging her hind end. What I mean by this is that I need to not be tricked into taking my leg off and constantly dropping contact or on the opposite end fighting her constantly. If I choose a level of contact and ride her into it from the back forward I will have an easier time with all transitions and other questions.
All of this means that I have started to up the ante. Our rides are no longer 50/50 left and right at each gait with random haphazard plans. When I get on I have a set of exercises to work on and try to work through them methodically with each exercise building on the other. This involves endless serpentines, loops, and spirals as well as more lateral work.
The above exercises are my main play book. Do you guys have similar plans for schooling greenies? Do all of your rides have a plan or is it more of a lets see where this takes us approach and plan as you go?