“The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me,” ~ Gwendolen, The Importance of Being Earnest.
More riding today of Z. We are doing some very basic stuff that is all about laying a foundation for the future. While I’m thinking of this for the future, I cannot train in the present as if I’m in the future already… I have to be present where Z is at this moment.
An interesting tool in Molly’s toolkit is this one: Z started questioning her today, by moving crookedly in the roundpen. At one point her nose would go into the panel or then her bend would be the butt into the panel. If you were to try to bend the horse with the bridle or use leg to straighten the horse, this gives the horse more to work against and can cause bracing.
Instead, Molly switched things up and just let Z go on a loose rein, making a choice where to go, but she had to keep trotting. When the hand or leg is removed and the horse moves off on their own there is nothing to work against and they readjust themselves. This took a while, but eventually Z gave up and started moving straight again.
I want to remember this for if we get sticky during my rides to just let her go for awhile and think it out. This takes a bit of courage on the riders’ part as it goes against our belief that we must have control over the horses’ face through pressure on the bridle.
When Z stops she doesn’t do it square. Often her back end is spraddled out further then optimum balance. I want her to learn to stop more under self.
Dorrance (True Horsemanship) has a horse back up by putting the nose over the front leg which he wants to move backwards. With Mark Russell (Lightness), I want the horse to bend the nose slightly to one side and then the other, with the goal of the horse stretching forward and down to loosen the poll, axis, neck and spine.
As I asked for this bending side to side at a halt, I wanted her to shift herself and get those hind legs in a better place. I kept thinking back, when I needed to let it happen without the backward pull.
Suddenly, I got a response – when I bended her to the left (and we are talking about a very small bend) I lengthened my left leg, bent her to the right, lengthened my right leg, and she became square. I’m calling this a “bellydance with the spine.” 😀
These are the small increments of changes I’m looking for. I’ll have to play with this and see how my body can help her achieve that balance.