Yay it stopped raining!!!!!!!! :D It was hot outside but not suffocating, make you want to pass out hot so I rode of course. The ride was only twenty five minutes (because he was being such a good boy, not because it was hot) and it was our second ride with the bit. The difference with the bit is just amazing. He is so responsive to it!
Uhh.. Chrome... that's not a good pose!!!
Much better! He is such a supermodel!
Looking good (besides the nasty tail and sloppy mane... I fixed that after the ride).
See how sloppy his mohawk has gotten?
So I hopped on in the yard since the only place we could ride is on the driveways. I should have gotten pictures of all of the standing water.... yeah our yard is a SWAMP!! So the only place that has any traction is the driveway. He prefers harder surfaces because of his stifles anyway.
I sent him up the driveway at a walk and he immediately started that crap where he tries to turn around to go back to the barn.... ugh! So I kept correcting him, but he would just swing all the way around trying to turn back the other direction. We seriously looked drunk. I finally realized (after about half a minute) that our problem was a lack of forward. So I kicked the crap out of him with my heels and he jumped, startled. After that he marched off and although he tried to turn a couple of times all it took was one more kick and he cut it out. That was literally the only thing he did wrong for the whole ride!
So after I got him walking straight and only where I wanted him to go I started working on my position while he warmed up. I've decided to stop letting him being green stop me from working on my posture. So I stretched down through my legs, turned my toes forward, rolled my shoulders back and down, engaged my core, stretched up through my head (eyes up!!!), bent my elbows and kept them tucked by my ribs, kept my thumbs up and my hands closed.... that's a LOT to remember without a trainer yelling at me hehe. I wish hubby had been home so he could get some video so I can see if I had everything right. When I first started taking lessons I was bad about slouching and leaning forward. My trainer had me stop the horse and keep leaning back until she said stop. When she said stop I felt like I was going to topple backward, but she said I was sitting up straight! It was eye opening. So I know that just because it feels right it isn't always. That's why I'm dying to take lessons again.
Okay, after warming him up and working on my position I started thinking about what he needed to learn next. I wanted to work on neck reining, but he made it obvious he needs more work on steering with a bit so I nixed that idea. Then I realized that to engage his rear and back he will need to understand a half halt (not to mention it will save my trainer hours of griping at me), so I started working on that.
The thing is I've never taught a horse what a half halt means. The horses I rode already knew or they were western horses who had never heard of contact, half halts or engagement lol. I remembered reading at one time that to teach a half halt you ask the horse to stop and then immediately send them forward. Eventually they learn how to rock back and check themselves without coming to a complete stop. I figured since he needed some work on whoa that it was definitely an exercise that couldn't hurt. I was right! It was great!!
I worked on having him walk on a soft contact (he was keeping his head down, but I couldn't tell for sure if he was behind the vertical so I'm going to have hubby video us this weekend if it's not raining), then I would engage my core, stop following and close my hands. He stopped!! Every time!!!!! He's NEVER stopped that well with the sidepull. So I worked on mixing it up and even added the trot. We would walk, whoa, immediately back into the walk, whoa, stand still, walk, whoa, walk, trot, walk, whoa, stand still, walk, etc. I mixed up having him stop and immediately go back into the walk with stopping and standing still because I didn't want him to think he always had to walk off. He did great differentiating. We did a lot of practice on standing still too because he's been bad about walking off. I only had to correct him one or two times. Normally when I stop him I drop the reins, then I pick them back up and we walk off again, so he got to where if I gathered the reins he would start walking. So I asked him to stand still then dropped the reins, gathered them up, dropped them, etc. while having him stay still. He did great.
I also had him stand still while I worked the bit in his mouth alternating gentle squeezes with each hand and he gave to the bit!! I released to reward him although I'm not sure if that's what I'm actually supposed to do. I was just so happy he gave because he always braced against the sidepull. I also practiced flexing him slowly side to side at the poll instead of the through the neck. He's never been able to do that. I did a tiny bit of work on backing up, but he's so bad at backing (he's due for a trim and his stifle caught several times during the ride sigh) that I didn't want to push the issue and make him suck back off the bit. We will work on that more later.
I tried to ask him to bring his shoulders around when we were turning, but he's not ready for that yet! He needs more work on contact and half halts and leg cues first I think. I sometimes forget he's still so green because I haven't ridden him much at all over the last two years. We will try again after he's understanding contact and forward better. :D
I think that's all we worked on.... I forgot to write this post after the ride like I normally do. If I wait hours I forget details lol. Even if I forgot something it's okay. The ride was awesome and that's all that matters. My back was starting to hurt and he was being such a good boy that I ended the ride at twenty five minutes. Then it was time for some beauty shop because he was looking grungy!
Pretending like he had to work hard!
He actually sweated even though we really only walked for twenty five minutes. It was still fairly warm, but for June I wasn't complaining and besides it wasn't rain so I was happy!! So after the ride I washed his tail because I remembered that was one of my goals for this month and I hadn't done it even once! Oops. I was also supposed to practice braiding, but my back was hurting so I didn't feel like it. I also trimmed his mane since it was getting floppy as you saw in the picture up above. I'm really proud of how well I did on his mane. Normally when I cut it with scissors I get it uneven and it looks horrible so I cut it all off lol! This time I managed to leave a bit of a mohawk and got it even too. :D
The boy is looking much more civilized hehe.
Here is a before and after shot of his tail. I just washed the part below the dock with Dawn dishwashing liquid and then soaked it in straight vinegar because I read somewhere that it's supposed to help remove stains. I didn't really notice much of a difference since it looks just like last time I washed it. Oh well! I need to buy some actual whitening shampoo but I haven't been to the store!
Below is one while he was in the shade and it made him really dark, but I actually really like it! It's kind of artsy hehe.
We had fun! I'm so happy it stopped raining. :D
I can't wait for him to build some back, loin and butt muscles
so his back doesn't look sooooo loooooong! Hehe.