|monday's exercise, pt.1|
Bobby started off lazy yesterday. I really had to work at keeping him going every single stride. But because I was asking him for more umph and power from the back half, I also asked him to start bringing the front half closer in to the back half. This is Bobby-speak for something along the lines of compression. You have to speak in simpleton terms to him. "Butt comes under, neck comes out of the clouds." It took him awhile to warm up to the idea, but he was starting to do a little real work at the end of our warm up.
We started off cantering over the poles from each way again. The first time to the left, the canter was a little too slow and he had to skiptrot over the last pole. First time to the right, he was a little fast and he was more inclined to launch over the poles instead of canter calmly through. But it only took one time each direction for us to get it and the rest of the times were great. I think he actually was a smarty pants and remembered his work from Sunday!
I set up the back pole in the picture to a little vertical. We started off to the right. First run through, he saw the jump and plowed through the poles to launch himself over. I pulled him right up, backed him a few steps, and tried again. He got a little discouraged and backed off coming in causing him to miss the distance to the second pole and have to jump a little wonky. I asked for a little stronger canter and the next few times were pretty good. Plenty to improve on, but not bad.
To the left, I kept the same set up so that we came to the jump first and then landed to go over the two poles. He got a little excited the first few times seeing that jump right off the bat, and it really all came down to the canter going in. I had to really work at finding the perfect balance of forward but not fast, and balanced but not slow. It was a good exercise for both of us and we were able to finish with a really lovely run thorugh.
His one bugaboo was picking up the friggin' left lead! He did not want to do it no matter what. Strangely, when he did get it, it was going straight on the long side. Corners and circles didn't help at all. He's apparently really good at cantering in a tiny circle on the wrong lead.
We both worked really hard for a solid hour and he was one sweaty beast when we were done. Fortunately, it was almost sixty out and the sun was starting to really blaze, so I was able to give him a bath. In February! In northeastern Pennsylvania! Of course my phone died and I didn't bring my camera so I didn't get any shots of him looking cute and fluffy and shiny as he grazed outside the mares' paddock. The three OTTB mares stood at the fence watching him intensely, though I think they were more jealous of the grass he was getting than admiring his stunning donkey ears and large giraffe withers.
Next ride is Thursday!