SO, aren’t you all wondering – was I able to get Koda to lope to the left…or are stronger aides in our immediate future?? Say what? It wasn’t on your top ten things to worry about? Not a problem, I had it covered for all of us – and worry, I did.
My day was for crap at work, and that makes gearing up for a challenge a hard transition. But the “what if’s” slowly and surely melted away as my time with Koda progressed. He was patient tacking, and good during warm-up. Altho he did challenge me some in the saddle. I wanted so badly for things to go right, and by Koda’s reactions – so did he. With every thing that was done well, or fixed, came the answer I was looking for - done well.
By the middle of our ride, I found myself bumping him too frequently to keep him trotting. Patty asked me to try not using my legs for a while, to prove a point. Koda needs to hold his gait, without my constant reminder. If not, my leg pressure will soon become ineffective and I’ll have a hard-sided horse. Who wants that, not me. I loosened my reins, used no leg, and much to my surprise it worked. We were off the rail, actively working even around the cones – until I stopped.
While I was mentally getting ready to put my lope together, Koda decided to toss his head up while jerking on the reins. Patty didn’t like that at all. She said “that’s like your kid swearing at you”. He knows that’s not okay, and had me do a couple tight circles. He never did it again - all from a simple circle, at a key time.
I was reminded young horses need our help keeping their shoulder up at the lope, especially when starting off, by picking up the inside rein. She also explained to me why working the rhythm of the lope isn't helpful, and actually get’s in their way. That was news to me, and contrary to what I’ve learned in the past. I was taught it helped and encouraged them to keep going, although I’m sure I was over doing it in slow motion. I can’t remember what Patty called it, but she had a name for it. Add that and more to changing my lope cue to the outside, and I’ve got a fair amount of unlearning from years gone by to remember NOT to do.
Three things to remember TO do with a young horse: 1) never use/do more than you need 2) keep work fresh (same applies to correction) 3) end when it’s your idea. Hmmm, that could apply to a lot more than young horses!
Brad and Nemo spent a fair amount of their ride loping, or using the rail to turn into to get a better lift off at the lead. On a different note, we found out Nemo might have kidney stones. They called the vet to discuss symptoms, as long as he doesn’t seem to be in pain and everything remains normal, he wants to check a few things on him at his next visit . Apparently what prompted the call was unusual urination behavior (pee a little, walk around, pee more) in his stall the day before. Patty and staff are keeping an eye on him. Doesn’t help the poor guy got the cough Koda had, and was also put on penicillin to knock it out. Regardless he was a funny tired boy when we were done riding. Nemo made those silly yawning faces that make us all laugh, but still had enough playful energy to pick up the cones.
Oh yea, and I’m happy to say – Koda & I were indeed successful loping to the left, to the left!
5 hours ago