Friday, May 18, 2012

Riding without rails

The one thing that I always seem to forget about riding in the fields is how much harder to get a horse straight and bending without having an arena wall or rail to guide you. Buddy and I went out to the grass field again Wed. night and two other girls were already out there.  I put the German martingale on, since I haven't used it in a few weeks.  Buddy marched right along out to the field, and towards the other horses, but when I asked him to start to work and move away from them he got pissy.

Lot of dramatic head tossing (or as much as the martingale would allow) and shoulder bulging later, we started our trot work.  Since there's no fence or anything to really guide you, its hard to know what is the "correct" diagonal to be on, or which way to bend my horse.  We did a bunch of zig zagging across the field, trying to work on switching the bend and getting him to move off my new "inside" leg.  It is definitely much more work out in the field!

Once we picked up the canter, I worked on pulling him together.  He really wanted to to be strung out and on his front end, so I had to make a conscious effort to sit down and bring my shoulders back and my hand up.  No letting him pull me down!  Predictably, this caused him to brake gait, so then I remembered to put my leg on.  We did some big circles and figure 8s, with a couple nice flying changes.  I did let him gallop out a bit and worked on going forward and coming back.  We ended by doing a couple lead changes in a somewhat straight line, doing a change then 6 or 7 strides later changing back.  He's starting to get it!

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