GOAL: re-establish a “hot off the leg” response to improve quality of gaits and transitions, focus on RHYTHM- base of pyramid before schooling any 2nd level work
METHOD: use Jane Savoie’s “Forward” strategies-
- Give a light leg aid
- No response, half-hearted response, or delayed response
- Correct him by sending him forward
- 100% response (99.9% isn’t good enough!)
For more information, visit http://www.janesavoie.com/how-to-make-your-lazy-horse-more-energetic/
OUTCOMES: Walk is much improved with the alternate leg and swinging seat to encourag a walk that overtracks in the warm-up and later in schooling. Moving into the trot, Monarch was very behind the leg. He gave me the half-hearted response; the correction (step #3) with the leg was a “ho-hum” response. The correction with the whip resulted in even more behind-the-leg response with a humpy back and threatening to buck. I continued to tap with my whip, which did result in a buck. Wrong answer; I continued to calmly tap with my whip- more humping and irregular trot steps, then finally a committed trot. (Please note- he was not spanked. I tapped until I got a correct response.) Knowing that step #4- Retest- is the key to retraining, I retested by bringing him back to walk, then asked for trot. Again the “ho-hum” response, correct with more leg- lazy response, added the whip taps, more humps and bucks, then finally a correct trot. This continued for a circle or two, until finally he decided to trot off from the whip in the retest. Continuing with steps #1-4, we finally got to steps #5 & #6- 100% committed trot from a light leg aid and then praise. As he got better in the walk-trot transitions, I was able to ask for transitions within the trot, with nice collected to medium trot steps.
REFLECTION: As Monarch grew light to the leg aid, his connection improved and he became engaged. With engagement, he moved right up the pyramid t0 impulsion. To test straightness, we began to school laterals. Beginning with leg yield, it was easy to gauge and correct his straightness. As the leg yield improved, we moved into shoulder-in and tranvers. With impulsion, straightness, and collection developed from the laterals, I was able to begin canter work. From tranvers, his collected canter work was rhythmic and relaxed. In the serpentine, his right lead counter canter was brilliant. He began to tire, as we had been working for 50 minutes, but I wanted to test his left lead counter canter before we ended. In the left lead serpentine, he broke during the counter canter phase. To his credit, I corrected by asking for counter canter along the rail, and he picked it up quite easily. As we came around the curve into true canter, I could feel his energy increase, as the movement became easier. Since he was tired, I decided his good effort was a good place to end. We rode up the lane to cool out. Goal tomorrow will be to continue working the light leg aids and increase strength for the left lead counter canter.