This post almost didn’t happen but thanks to Eric’s awesome googling skills, you all do get a little Dandy update.
You see, I had taken a few photos of Eric’s ride today, went to upload them onto my computer, and that’s where things started going from bad to worse. First my external hard drive (where I store the photos) came unplugged while I was uploading them so I was afraid they had been deleted. They weren’t but when I did get them uploaded, they all showed up as the same photo. That’s not good. So I did my standard shut-thed-program-down procedure to see if that will help and when I started iPhoto back up the photos were gone! Of course I had already told my card to delete the photos. Apparently, though, they weren’t really deleted! I guess the SD cards work by being told that they can delete over the photos and there are programs that can get the data off them again as long as you don’t take any pictures before you try it. So yay! Thank you, Eric!
Although I did find some very very odd photos at the lake that are of my brother, N’s, friends… yeah, I deleted those!
So today was a very good day if you don’t count the fact that we were up early with very little sleep. I’m so glad that there was a full trailer going to the arena today as I love riding with people and not just on my own. It’s going to be so great when our farm’s outdoor gets finished… anyway, I digress.
I actually didn’t ride today so I let Eric do all the work. He lunged Dandy in the side reins and we even did a little cantering in the round pen (without side reins). Dandy hasn’t done a lot of cantering on the lunge line because he hasn’t been balanced enough to do it and the ground has been too slippery. However, once he got the hang of it today, he did great. It definitely helped to have the boards so he had something to lean against. I wish I had more time at the arena so I could do some free lunging but such is life.
After that warm-up, Eric took Dandy over to the outdoor and went through the one rein release exercises. I also showed him the circle/corner exercise. Basically you ride a circle in every corner – establishing your circle using legs and outside rein contact (no over bending with the neck!) – and then you ask for a release with your inside rein and push your horse down the side of the arena with your driving leg. It’s a hard exercise and Eric was worried about getting in the way of the other riders but they did good. Then they worked on collecting at the trot. It’s very easy to see how much the side reins have helped Dandy even after only a week and a half. He’s getting more muscles in his back and he’s actually collecting up; if only for a few strides. What we have to be careful with now is that Dandy needs to learn that being collected is not just about putting his head down in the proper position, it’s about moving with his hind end and working from back to front. From what I can see on the ground, it’s looking good. Eric says he can really feel when Dandy switched from head down and moving with his front end to pushing off with his hind so that is awesome.
I think I’m going to start doing some long and low stuff next time I get on. This should help more with his top line and also just really get him stretching forward.
I do really want to get after Eric’s posture here! And pretty much all the time. But he’ll get there. Especially if I keep harping on him.
By this point, Dandy was exhausted so they didn’t do a whole of canter work. Eric got the correct lead and a perfectly timed take off from Dandy going to the left. They did a few rounds of forward and then worked on collection. When Dandy got a few really good steps of collection they stopped. Going to the right, Dandy had a harder time picking up his lead and was more willing to just run into the canter. Today I am blaming this on the fact that he was probably very tired. So I made Eric get one really nice transition (do a few steps of collection) and then cool him out. They did so great and I’m so happy with his progress.
It was such a great morning; both the training and the weather! I might be a little sad that the skiing is not excellent but I can’t deny that this is awesome weather for riding and working horses!