the never ending balance

When asked what I'm working on today, I sound like a broken record. My answer revolves around the same thing. Getting the left lead. Feeling the left lead. Keeping the left lead, and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

Wondering about the last one? It's not just keeping him going, Koda has a talent for switching back to his preferred right lead willie-nille. Might be at the beginning, middle or near the end of our lope. Anything can trigger it. A dip in the sand, my wandering mind, or nothing at all. Sometimes it's obvious to feel, sometimes it's not. 

So now that I've conjured images of loooong stretches of never ending loping circles to the left, day in and day out, rest assured that never happens. We always do a lot of different stuff, every ride. It would probably do us some good to focus our rides on specific area's that need work. There are plenty to pick from, but that's not how I roll and neither does my horse. We both like to mix it up. The only thing that feels like work, is his left lead. The rest of it feels like practice. Fun practice. 

Why does every thing have to be over analyzed, and perfected anyways? Seriously, it takes all the fun out of riding. I want to have fun riding, just being with my horse. Practicing moves, and yes - working on some things that need fixing or tweaking - so that we can have even more fun. But all work and no play makes Aurora a dull girl. I suppose ones definition of work, and perception of fun, plays into ones state of mind.

After not seeing us ride for over two weeks, our trainer popped over to the arena to chat and we happened to be loping at the time. She was very complimentary on Koda's positioning, and our lope in general. It made me feel good that I've managed to work on myself, because trust me - my horse knows exactly how to get his left lope and continue correctly. 

I mentioned how odd it was that now Koda's left lope feels better then his right. The right side feels off. She said that happens to trainers when balancing out horses. So now I have to strengthen the right? Since I always lope both directions equally, it never occurred to me. I clearly don't have a trainer mentality. However I will be the first to admit I really dial in my focus getting/feeling/keeping/collecting/softening/rating the left lead, because the right has always come so easily.

Well, I guess now I can change my answer. I am working on strengthening myself while loping to the right, while practicing everything else - and of course, having fun!


Anonymous said...

I'd be inclined to work a lot on straightness - the preference for one lead over the other is usually a result of uneven musculature due to/causing crookedness. Straightness plus forward, at both walk and trot, might get you there faster than working a lot at the canter.

C-ingspots said...

I agree with Kate. 100% - get him comfortable and he'll do what is natural for the direction you're going. I also agree with your comment about us wanting to perfect everything. Such a human trait! And NOT the horse's! If you're comfortable, your horse is comfortable...forget about it, and enjoy yourselves. Amazing how many little things work themselves out "magically" when we let go of our ideas of perceived perfection. I just ride, and try not to ever come to my horse with an agenda these days. I just ride and do what comes naturally.

The Dancing Donkey said...

Ditto the above:). That's a lovely photo.

Shirley said...

Rio had trouble keeping the right lead, he'd switch behind and then be cross firing. With him it was all about letting him grow into that big body and get more mature, although we did try drills to help him figure it out. For Koda, try loping to the left in a circle, and as soon as you feel him changing leads make a sharp left and cut across the circle to the other side, then continue to lope left. Usually they have to switch back to the left lead to stay balanced.