Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Using Our Dressage Foundation
Knowing I had a busy week planned, I rode John both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. It was windy on Saturday and this is one of his favorite excuses to get tense and jazzed up.
I was certainly sitting on a coiled spring on Saturday and he felt like a "Jack in the box" at the moment right before Jack springs out of the box. I really didn't feel like springing anywhere.
In the past, my solution for these types of days has always been "ride it out." But I have discovered a few things about my horse over the years. The most important is that he does not get tired and the longer you let him stay in his wired zone, the more wired he becomes.
With my new goal of relaxation in mind, I decided to use our dressage foundation (yes, John was originally a dressage horse but he really wasn't fond of circles) to get him to relax.
I asked him to do twenty meter circles on the trail until he relaxed. He could not move forward, only do his circle. After a few minutes he relaxed. We changed direction and I asked for the same thing to the right. This is his "hard" direction, but after a few minutes, he relaxed to the right too. I let him continue forward down the trail.
When he got tense again, we would circle or leg yield, or halt and back or do serpentines. Anything but continue forward in a tense manner.
He was better on Sunday, much more relaxed with less dressage work needed. However, he pulled a new trick out of his hat...