Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to Basics and Simple Changes

One thing I need to get over is that the gear doesn't make me a different or worse rider. It's all in my head. So I tacked up my horse today and we had a cruising lesson in my Bates, gloves, RS breeches, Middleburg tall boots, and SSG gloves.

Some people may wonder what a "cruising lesson" is and basically it involves you dropping your reins and just following the horse at whatever gait you put them at. Brantley gets bored easily at the walk (so do I) so after some small serpentines and bends to loosen him up we picked up a trot and I held onto my "oh shit" strap I bought for just this reason. Usually I hook my reins over my horn and rest my hand on that to just make sure I don't get grabby if he gets quick, but that's difficult riding hunt seat.

As soon as I bumped him up into a trot his head came straight up and he veered off the rail. He was looking for the support from my hands and the contact that he had been growing accustomed too. I didn't panic when I felt him scoot a little as I pushed him on and held the strap and reins together and waited for him to get steady and started posting. It was like magic, he realized what we were doing, dropped his head, relaxed, and moved out like the good little hunter/western pony he is. In a cruising lesson you basically hold on and let them go where ever they choose. Some horses will stay on the rail, some will decide to cut corners or change direction, your job is to just ride along at the same pace you asked them to go. I know I've discussed this before with Lucy and what it does but just for blogging sake it helps them not only stretch but become responsible for themselves and their feet.

Once you get comfortable at the trot and your horse is relaxed and following your pace, step it up to a lope (or canter). This sometimes is really scary for people to do because most horses decide to run out from underneath you with that freedom. That's where your one-rein stops come in handy. You slow them down, pick the lope up again. If your horse can't handle being free to lope around, bring it back down to the trot. This is B's FAVORITE thing to do and why I think he's so steady in his strides.

After a good warm up with the cruising lesson I decided to work on our fancy simple changes that we had become so good at over the winter. Man are we rusty. I think I need to keep a calendar of exercises I should do with him molded with the new stuff. That way he doesn't forget! Finally things got really smooth... To the point where he popped in a flying change and we went around the course that was still set up yesterday. I call that a win!

Moral of the post: You should tooootally try "cruising" on your pony. And then tell me how it went.

7 Comments:

At August 21, 2014 at 5:50 AM , Blogger Kitty Kat said...

Fun. Admittedly I've done very little cruising. Rarely is the arena empty enough, and Holly still needs to work more on contact, she is more than happy to stretch out of contact ;)

 
At August 21, 2014 at 9:24 AM , Blogger L.Williams said...

I did go on a "choose your own adventure" trail ride of the property once whereI put Carlos at the gait and legged him to walk and we went on this very strange zig zag all around the property. Ultimately we ended on the far side where they dump all the branches and trees and stuff for the burn pile, with his front feet in a ditch and his back feet out of the ditch and he lowered his head, and closed his eyes and proceeded to nap that way. I was really surprised!

 
At August 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Jodi said...

Thinking back, I used to do that a lot when I rode western (and was younger and more trusting). It would totally be good for Beefs and Gunner. Indy is still a too green and froggy to try it with yet. Glad you had a good ride!

 
At August 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM , Blogger Madeline C. said...

Unfortunately blogger is deleting all my replies to people's comments... *annoyed* This exercise is really good for building up a horse to be comfortable with contact, or at least that's what I've found. I've used it for horses afraid of the bit who get behind it or those who pull and yank on the bit. My favorite thing for that is riding in a western saddle and hooking the reins around the horn so when they try to yank... They pull against something without any give. I know it sounds cruel but they learn quick!

 
At August 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM , Blogger Madeline C. said...

Those are a lot of fun... Unless your horse takes you straight into a pricker bush which Lucky loved to do. Sometimes you really just need to trust them and take the lead. I know it's crazy but when I used to ride in the indoor I'd close my eyes. Not always the best thing when you're alone, but if you can have someone put you on a lunge line (and your horse lunges well), drop your reins, ask for a gait, and just shut your eyes. It's crazy but your body finds an amazing balance.

 
At August 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM , Blogger Madeline C. said...

When I was riding for the "Old" Cowboy and he put me on these "7-ish horses" as he called them, that's all I could do unless we're were doing some fence work. They had maybe 20 rides on them so they were pretty green. That's why we start with a walk, then a trot, then a canter or lope if you're lucky. It's worth a shot! One-rein stop! :)

 
At August 22, 2014 at 9:09 AM , Blogger Comic Book Chronicles said...

I thought you were insane to even mention that with comic over the winter time ahahha it's a great tool to feeeeel your horse too

 

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http://www.controlhaltdelete.com/ Tear Drop Winken: Back to Basics and Simple Changes

Back to Basics and Simple Changes

One thing I need to get over is that the gear doesn't make me a different or worse rider. It's all in my head. So I tacked up my horse today and we had a cruising lesson in my Bates, gloves, RS breeches, Middleburg tall boots, and SSG gloves.

Some people may wonder what a "cruising lesson" is and basically it involves you dropping your reins and just following the horse at whatever gait you put them at. Brantley gets bored easily at the walk (so do I) so after some small serpentines and bends to loosen him up we picked up a trot and I held onto my "oh shit" strap I bought for just this reason. Usually I hook my reins over my horn and rest my hand on that to just make sure I don't get grabby if he gets quick, but that's difficult riding hunt seat.

As soon as I bumped him up into a trot his head came straight up and he veered off the rail. He was looking for the support from my hands and the contact that he had been growing accustomed too. I didn't panic when I felt him scoot a little as I pushed him on and held the strap and reins together and waited for him to get steady and started posting. It was like magic, he realized what we were doing, dropped his head, relaxed, and moved out like the good little hunter/western pony he is. In a cruising lesson you basically hold on and let them go where ever they choose. Some horses will stay on the rail, some will decide to cut corners or change direction, your job is to just ride along at the same pace you asked them to go. I know I've discussed this before with Lucy and what it does but just for blogging sake it helps them not only stretch but become responsible for themselves and their feet.

Once you get comfortable at the trot and your horse is relaxed and following your pace, step it up to a lope (or canter). This sometimes is really scary for people to do because most horses decide to run out from underneath you with that freedom. That's where your one-rein stops come in handy. You slow them down, pick the lope up again. If your horse can't handle being free to lope around, bring it back down to the trot. This is B's FAVORITE thing to do and why I think he's so steady in his strides.

After a good warm up with the cruising lesson I decided to work on our fancy simple changes that we had become so good at over the winter. Man are we rusty. I think I need to keep a calendar of exercises I should do with him molded with the new stuff. That way he doesn't forget! Finally things got really smooth... To the point where he popped in a flying change and we went around the course that was still set up yesterday. I call that a win!

Moral of the post: You should tooootally try "cruising" on your pony. And then tell me how it went.