Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the arena #3 - timing is everything!

epiphany:
a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience

My trainer has talked about the timing of my aides so many times... about how it's the release of the aide that lets your horse know they've done what you're asking. Wait too long to release the aide and not only is it not effective, it's annoying. Instead of tuning you're deadening. Refine your aiding and your horse will respond to lighter and subtler aides.

I think I finally made the connection this week. While Val and I were doing groundwork one day, we got to the point that he would respond to the tiniest jiggle of the lead line. It almost felt like all I had to do was think and he'd move... like the lead line could have been made of thread. Similar experience under saddle with a turn on the forehand. Magical...

Since things were going so well I thought I'd work on bridling Val "freestyle" in the middle of the arena. This has been a struggle for us when we trailered to the beach. Not this time. He was a perfect gentleman keeping his head low, not walking off, and accepting the bit immediately. That brings up another component of giving aides. Don't be stingy with the praise...what a good boy!

Speaking of bits... I'm happy to say that both of the new bits fit perfectly. I tried the french link the other day and by the end of our session Val seemed really comfortable and was making lots of foam. Mission accomplished :)

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