Cantering with Noo noo and the new Cavesson.

Noo noo has been continueing her work at the canter, I was just asking for a transition and letting her canter however and for as long as she could manage last week, all I hoped for was relaxation. We started the week with trot halt trot at liberty out on a large circle and also with me next to her, this was great fun and I learnt that up close I can have much more influence over her energy. When I sat back in the halt and sprang into trot so did she. We moved on to canter and again all I did was ask for the canter and then leave her alone.
The next 3 days I started at liberty then worked in hand trying to ask a little more with increased trot work. Today the flies were out early and she wore her new mesh fly mask for riding in, ( from mendip equestrian ). I did very little ground work, she looked fine in her body and seemed happy to be tacked up.
I normally only ride 2 days then do something different for a day or alternate days. This was a test to see how she would respond…She offered me more canter with each day. By today day 3 she was predicting that I would canter and was already thinking about it as soon as we trotted. My horse really makes me have to think! I didn t want to dampen her willingness, she was trying to work out what I wanted before I asked for it. However she has been known to try and take charge. I decided maybe try the trot halt trot work we had done on the ground to distract her from her thoughts of deciding when we would canter. This was ok in the upwards transition but too abrubt from trot back to halt. Another tactic was needed so we worked on little bits of Haunches /in at the walk. I used this as when our horse strikes of into canter they are usually a little bit in this position, also it meant she had to listen to my leg coming back and saying OVER not CANTER. I had to keep a different feeling in my seat and I tried to keep the energy down a bit . Surprisingly this worked very well. When I went back to trot I tried using little H/I and S/I aids. When we did Canter it was the best ever, still not masses and still falling out of it a bit on the left, I managed to keep my seat better and the upwards transitions were done by a thought, barely any aids. After this Noo noo was fired up like a bullfighting lusitano, her trot was so powerful, every time she tried to get a bit fast and fall forward with her balance, I managed to bring her back and to keep her focus on trot not more cantering we did lots of changes of direction and little half passes 3 steps away from the wall and change bend and back again. It felt like my little Mini was now a Ferrari. We have a busy weekend with friends and Karate so will find time to just chill out with my lovely horse, have all the horses feet trimmed, and do some fun liberty things together. Back to riding my Ferrari next week!

I have been popping down to help my friend Kathie who moved down the road this year, she has no arena and due to moving and doing lots of renovations to the house, not much time so its much easier to get motivated when ther are two of you. Mini has had alot of time off so we are starting bringing her back to work from the ground while the arena is built. Her new cavesson arrived from Joyce Mulder and she borrowed Noo noo’s new fly mask today here is a little film.

We ended our session with me showing Kathie how to start to control every step, as Mini is a big horse and her balance falls forward I thought it would be good to work in a qrt’s /In position, standing in front and to the inside. I had to show her that she can be drawn forwards from this position as she has mainly been sent backwards and we do naturally block the horse slightly from here. Mini is sensitive and only needs me to swish the air near her hind leg and think of forward movement. We worked on halts the moment she started to fall forward, if she fell in with her right shoulder (always this side today) we moved her shoulders out and halted. This worked really well and having watched me Kathie understood what I was aimimg for. Kathie understands a lot and I learnt from her today that its better to explain WHY I have a certain idea and WHY her horse is rushing or falling in. Then she knows WHY its a good idea to do these ‘crazy exercises’.
This once again makes me think we should always know why we are doing something with our horse. Not blindly follow some set pattern of training. Our horses are all different even our own horse can be different from day to day and need different things to help them. We have to know, what our goals are, and they may change, what we need to do to reach them, and why we want to. For me I want to keep my horse fit and healthy so that we have many years of fun together and enjoy the journey, to ever changing goals.

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