This is one of those posts that aren’t super exciting, but are written for me to have in the anthology that is Simon’s training. At least there are pretty pictures for y’all?
After about a week off from the September Austin monsoon, I was able to head to the barn Sunday morning to hack my lively horse. Fresh Simon is never really a bad thing. He’s not one to be naughty and buck after time off, but lively Simon is a bit expressive.
Combine that with trying a new bridle (with flash attachment) and he was perhaps a bit more expressive than usual.
Here we are trying to do laterals, where he tells me his opinion of such work. To be honest, I can’t blame him because a big flaw in my hunter princess flatwork is asking for lateral work correctly. I’m certainly showing some flaws here… lean much?
Our concentration faces are rather epic.
Really though, he was a good boy and settled down into work rather quickly.
It’s not like we are getting anywhere near the self carriage I would like, but for a horse with a naturally high head set and desire to go around like a giraffe… I’m really happy with how we’ve progressed. I can set my hands with some medium contact, and so long as I reinforce with my inside leg and ride leg to hand he will happily come down for me.
Even though our trot work was a bit unsettled at times, I was happy with how he’s stepping under himself in these photos. During our entire ride today he really felt like he was pushing evenly and staying engaged with moving forward.
At the canter, I really don’t ask him to “go in a frame” because I don’t think we’re strong enough for it yet. Maybe a better rider than me? I just try to keep him dropping his shoulder in to cut corners, and when we’re hacking only I try to keep the canter slow and cadenced. On courses, I have a tendency to half seat/two point the entire time… so sitting the canter isn’t something I’m super great at. These pictures show I still need some work.
From looking at this set of pictures (thanks barn friend who took them, you know who you are!) I feel like we’re doing a lot better at keeping the engagement with the hind end. Negatives are mostly with me. My hands are often too low, and my elbows have this natural tendency to stick out instead of at my side. Also, even though I thought I was really sitting up today, I need to sit up more and open up my shoulders. Still, all in all I am pretty happy!
Maybe we’ll be able to get our act together for a dressage show this year?
I’d be curious what all you way smarter at dressage than me people think. Want to help me nitpick?