Monday, September 14, 2009

Body Movin' We Be Body Movin'

So my APHA mare, is ULTRA light and sensitive.... To a fault.... While I had the greatest weekend with her trail riding, I learned a valuable lesson on said trails. She sucks at staying straight and you know what? That's my fault... She has no shoes on so I tired to keep her in the middle of the trail which had grass and soft dirt, but she wouldn't stay on it or stay straight. I realized that I'd lost control of her body.

So today, I worked her in the arena and to the left she goes great, stay on the rail, flexes really nice to the inside, respects my leg. To the right, she's a train wreck. She bulges HORRIBLY!!! She cranes her neck to the rail and swings her body out, only at the trot though. So I bring her back to some body moving basics at the walk. Circles, serpentines, then I start walking her and turning her towards the rail for the turn on the forehand. Then I start on some roll backs and things are going smooth...

I, then put her back on the rail and OVER emphasize her bending towards the inside. I want to see her right eye the whole time down the rail while her body stays straight. If she thinks about turning to the inside the she gets my inside leg tapping on her ribs, to push that gut back over. Why do I do that??? Because she bulges to the inside of the arena, so if I discipline her by making her almost making her "bulge" to the outside, or towards the rail, then walking straight with her ears, shoulders and hips in a line will be glorious release. She's so sensitive and light, that it doesn't take much now to keep her straight.

Now we do the same exercises at the trot, rollbacks, turns on the forehand, circles, serpentines. She still is bulging at the trot so I repeat the same exercise. I put her on the rail and turn her head to the inside so I can see her right eye, while keeping my inside leg on her as block from her turning in... Soon enough we are trotting up and down the rail in straight lines.

Your own leg and hand control is essential in teaching a horse body control... Every horse, be it a show horse, jumper, western pleasure, trail horse, cutting, dressage, etc... MUST have fluid, consistent body control and movements. Tomorrow we'll begin in shoulders in/out, haunches in/out and leg yielding for more body control.


GoLightly said...

Inside leg to outside rein.

Keep working!

Trrrrrot on!
Make sure your own body is doing it right, first..

hehe, First;)

Equus said...

Sometimes one-sidedness is just the result of not sufficiently working one side equal to the other, but other times one-sidedness can indicate muscle/chiro problems...just something to keep in mind :)