Some of you may remember the amazing, sassy British trainer I got the chance to work with for a few months before she passed from cancer. Everyone that ever rode with her loves to throw around Val-isms because she had a way of phrasing things that made you collapse with laughter while still making a completely valid point. Few rides go by without a Val-ism popping into my head over something I or my horse is inevitably doing wrong.
Starting with last week's reintroduction to lateral work in hand, one of the things she yelled at me with Bobby came screaming back to the forefront with old Dopie Horse.
"HE'S WALKING OFF WITH YOU."
It's like running off but without the running. Equally as fucking effective though.
On the ground, it took shape with him trying to evade by bulldozing over the top of me. He never once broke from the walk, and the evasion probably leaned more heavily towards trampling than walking off, but it was there.
But in my ride yesterday it was everywhere.
I cleared the ring of jumps so there would be no temptations lurking and got down to a good dressage school. Once again he warmed up great with the highlight being the canter. He's even starting to really own the counter canter.
After a quick stretchy walk break, I picked him back up and started to leg yield. Right away at the walk, he didn't really want to step under and was basically just angling towards the center line walking quickly so that tah dah, we've arrived at out destination! I grabbed a Mr Tappy and tapped the haunches to ask them to get in on the game plan. That was offensive and we had a brief interlude to work through a tantrum at the trot/jog where--sad story--he still had to leg yield with his hind end involved even if he wanted to flail about instead.
Once he got over himself and the whip in my hand, we went back to the walk. I wanted him to step over, but I wanted to get it done without him being a locked up tense rage monster.
And here I got walked off with again. Each time I asked for more reach, he'd walk off with me instead. He's sneaky. He doesn't rush or hurry, he just opens up his patented power walk with his gigantic step and whoops, somehow we've run out of ring.
So he got kicked out of kindergarten leg yields and put back in preschool. One step over. Halt. One step over. Halt. No matter what form the evasion takes, you don't get to ignore the aid, sir.
Visiting the haunches in, same thing--he doesn't want to step the hind leg under while keeping the bend. It's one or the other and he will walk right out of it if he can. I ended up remedying that by coming into it out of a 10m circle, getting a couple steps and then sending him into a big trot as a reward.
A chiro visit will get scheduled when I can afford it to make sure everything is in alignment back there, but in the meantime he can certainly do the movements on the basic level I'm asking for. Without being a wild walking horse.
Does anyone else's horse try this slow motion evasion?