Monday, March 2, 2015

Side Reins

Two of my big problems include not bending my elbows, and not closing my hands on the reins.  Unfortunately this means I struggle with maintaining a nice steady contact.  Cupid being young and off the track is still getting being ridden with contact, and I am not helping him if I am not being consistent.  So I am trying to lunge him more often, and in side reins.  I hadn't been lunging him since his rehab since I thought it was kind of boring, and Cupid tends to be pretty lazy on the lunge so it's hard to keep him going.  So I was surprised to find Cupid has actually been quite good on the lunge and it hasn't been a struggle keeping him going or getting him to canter.  Maybe partially because he's just further along in training, and also last fall he was probably in a little discomfort which seems better now.  So, yay!  The side reins are still loose.  The first time I tried asking Cupid to canter he picked it up right away, but then I think the side reins were bugging him and he was trying to get out of it.  The second time he wasn't bothered at all and just cantered nicely.
 Our lessons have been going very well, and we are starting to work towards jumping!  Usually we start by trotting over a line of poles.  Then on the last one we put up one end on a standard into a half x and go over that a few times, before putting up the other half of the x.  Cupid usually just trots over, though he occasionally will do a little jump over.  The first few times over the x he tried to dodge it, even though it wasn't any higher than the cavaletti he's done.  But by the second lesson he was going over much straighter and not trying to run out.  I am happy that he stays relaxed and doesn't try to rush.

The canter work has also been going well and Cupid is getting better about his left lead.  One day when I was lunging him he only wanted to do left lead, even going to the right!  We had one incident where we were on the left lead and I kind of let him take control, he was a little quick and I just stop guiding him after I wasn't sure if we would make a turn inside a jump standard.  Cupid was headed straight towards a pile of poles and other stuff in the middle of the arena, I didn't even have time to think, and he just leaped over it!  Then I sat up and collected my reins and reminded him I'm the pilot and he responded right away.  The great thing about Cupid is even when he's "bad" (usually really my fault) he doesn't really do that much.  Our trainer agrees that he is a really sweet horse that tries hard.

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