Time: 1 hr
Ride: I rode Friday and had a wicked ride on ponyboy, and then I got deathly sick (I have now had norovirus (read: severe stomach flu) two times in like three weeks... lady luck is nowhere to be found when it comes to my health lately). So, by Monday I was feeling a bit better, but still a little out of it.
Ponyboy, out of nowhere, has figured out his warmup trot. It's wicked. Nice, slow, easy, still has forward impulsion, but isn't attempting to murder me. Life is good. We should just trot forever now. Yeah... my trainer had other ideas. I trotted the barrel pattern a couple times - have to remember to really assist him through the turn, as he tends to want to jump out of it at the last minute. Then we loped our right lead - weeeeeeee watch how fast weeeee can lopeeeee - haha, my trainer said a couple weeks ago that now that my seat is so much better than when I first started riding for her, I don't notice how fast i'm going when we're loping. Well folks, let me tell ya, I noticed on monday. Although I feel safe, and I don't feel out of control, and nor does he, I still feel like we're attempting to match mach speed. No thanks. Lots of checking, alternating circles, to the rail, and back again, later and he kinda sorta slowed down haha. But! He is starting to consistently pick up his right lead now - what whaaat.
From there, we loped and worked on some transitions - my trainer commented that at this stage when Jingle breaks down from a lope, for whatever reason, I shouldn't try to just rush him back into a lope because that allows him to just pick up whatever lead he wants. Especially when we're loping his right lead. For now, and because we need to work on transitions anyway, when he breaks down I should break him down to a jog, focus on some cadence, and then ask again when we're both working together.
Then my trainer said something that totally surprised me, "we're going to try draw reins". I know what draw reins are, and I trust my trainer, but I know a lot of people absolutely hate draw reins, and are vehemetly against them. Readers - what are your thoughts on draw reins, do you use them in your own programs, do you agree with them, disagree, don't care? So how do I feel about the draw rein situation?
Well.. I feel as if it's a lot of reins in my hands honestly, haha, and that took awhile to get used too. From there it took awhile to get used to how much contact I should have, where to put my hands, etc. etc. After him and I both got the feel at the walk, we jogged, and I really liked how he was jogging in the draw reins. He was much more even-tempo'd then he's been lately (i've commented in previous posts that we've found our trot, but lost our jog somewhere in the muddle), and I could tell he was really using his hindend because he wasn't breaking down on me like he usually does, and I could just feel that impulsion. So, in that respect, I think the draw reins worked as a tool to remind him to work from his hindend. At the lope, you could tell he was confused about the effect of the draw reins, and so he basically stopped and was like "No Mahm, I am not a pulley system, I refuse to move", so that took a bit of backing up, and moving forward before he'd lope again. We only loped a bit, did a bit more jogging and quit.
So the verdict? I'm okay with this tool for now, I definitely wouldn't use draw reins every ride because I don't want Jingle to learn a false headset and false collection, however, they did seem to aid in reminding him to actually use his hindquarters, and become lighter on the forehand, all good things in our training regime!
For Next Time: Slooooow dowwwwwwn bullet train.