Horse: John Wayne!
Bit: Correctional Bit
Time: 1 hr
Ride: John Wayne was feeeeeelin' good when I went out to ride on Friday. Still working on my position at the warm-up, still not feeling ... right... about it. haha. When I watch Coach he just seems so soft and relaxed, even in that cutter "slumped" position. When I try to imitate I feel like a bracey, bouncy mess. At one point I said, "I feel like my feet are bouncing all over the place and i'm a sack of potatoes!" to which he responded, "I don't see that" and rode off... okay. haha. Guess that's a good thing. I need to find some videos of cutters in the warm-up ring... except they all lope their horses, but still... gotta watch more riders.
My dry work was a bit iffy, due to a some terrible advice in the past, when I ask a horse to stop I have a tendancy to rock back and push my legs forward. I have almost 98% gotten over that ugly habit, but every once and awhile it sneaks up and flairs it's less than pretty head. Coach reminded me to be softer when I ask for stops, and gently reminded me to be softer when I ask for anything when it comes to cutting horses. Yet again, I am faced with the fact my riding translates into the fact my horse is not "soft" nor quick and responsive like cutting horses... we're gettting there!! One of these days!... and so I'm quick to assume I need to guide and help them through things like stops, rollbacks, turn-around etc. where with these horses, I definitely just need to sit there, and "shut up"... as it were.
Our first attempt at the flag was pretty gross to be honest, JW was pretty excited and it resulted it me feeling like a true sack of potatoes, he'd stop, I'd bounce halfway out the saddle. He also didn't have the bend and focus Coach likes to see, and when I'd attempt to get his head and eye more locked on the flag he'd swing his body away. When I attempted to back up, he's jut away from the flag and attempt to run off... backwards. Stuff like this doesn't usually bother my riding much, but because i'm one headed on super loose reins while working the flag I often feel a lack of control (even if I am really in control), and so I scramble to grab my reins, resulting in JW braceing and attempting to try to figure out what i'm asking, when often i'm not intending to ask anything really.
We just weren't translating very harmoniously. So, Coach got on, rode him some and then got me to get back on. He told me I was over-riding, and that for the most part I was using my legs too much and it was causing JW to be nervous and fall apart on the flag. So we practiced and discussed "cow-side" leg theory, Coach said to "ride" less, and then "ride" more when I really needed to. I practiced turn arounds and roll backs, only using my cow-side leg to assist in moving forward, and only bumping slightly through the turns.
When we got back on the flag I hunched right down and got to work, and all of a sudden we clicked again. Afterwards Coach apologized for not riding him beforehand since he was being so fresh, but I didn't mind. Now i've felt how easy JW can fall apart if i'm not coming through with my side of the deal. Cutting horses are deceptive that way, they are so well trained that you almost feel as if you can start to get lazy, but then the second you do - their sensitive sides rear their heads.
I'm starting to get a feel for when something is wrong and when something is right, slowly but surely, and riding "tougher" rides will definitely aid in that sense.
For Next Time: Ride less until you need to ride more.