Ride: Jingle makes me laugh, Jingle is pretty well-mannered in the saddle, despite his annoyed head-tosses, and lack of power steering, he has never bucked or reared (never say never, I know), and although he sometimes runs amuck, he generally stops and listens when I tell him to smarten up. Thus, when I got two big "Mom, I'm jumping over here!" spooks out of him from snow sliding off the side of our arena, I couldn't help but giggle. "But Mom! I am SCARED to go back to that side of the arena!!"
Once he cooled off from those moments, we went into our lesson from a warm-up. Trainer: "lope your right lead, but we're going to work on the other side of the arena" Me: ugh. You see, starting something new for Jingle - even something as small as lope a circle somewhere else, often becomes a "WHAT?! YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?" My horse did not fail me. Sure enough, our lope became a messy, uncoordinated, where is my steering, kinda lope. To the point where my trainer even mentioned that his lack of steering and listening is dangerous, and it's something we need to work on. No shit. However, up-side, he is starting to pick up his right lead - huzzah!
What is so frusterating about my horse and his steering is that, for the most part, at our slow work, he has steering. We can go through poles, we can turn around, we can figure 8, we can do all of that. Then, we lope, and it just dissapears. My trainer mentioned that I should start kind of faking him out, give him less firm direction whilst steering, and see if he attempts to leak on me, and then quickly correct him when he does.
Also, I need to work on my release, it's hard to give your horse a "release" when you feel that you barely have control of the situation. However, as my trainer pointed out, even a slight release for a second while he slows down, or arcs better, will help get him to figure out to stop rushing so much. Honestly, thank the lord he has figured out how to pick up his left lead and slooooooow down or else I might be a lot less positive and optimisitc about the situation!
Our jog is really nice though! So, that's a plus. I joked with a friend that we could always do "walk-jog" classes, except for the fact that his transitions aren't stunning, and we aren't exactly stopping great still... okay, maybe no classes for awhile haha.
Finally, we worked on side-passing, and Jingle picked it up really well. I had him faced up against the wall, and if he passed a couple steps, I released and told him he was a good boy. He did great! Slow work is really our thing.
My poor horse, he does try hard, and I do see improvement - it's just slow in the making. Building blocks right! In other news - Jingle is a sweaty mess after our rides, so sweaty that it takes me quite awhile to cool him off, groom him and then stand him infront of our block heater to dry before I can put his blanket on (and he stays in a stall overnight!) My trainer mentioned we might have to half-clip him... haha Jingle clipped! Does that mean I can buy him a bright red slinky?! =) Any reason to buy more stuff!
For Next Time: Start slow and build from there, work on our "power steering", better vocal cues, and more of a release!