Contradictions

So, PJ has stopped shedding.  I think it has to do with the drop in temperatures we are experiencing.  It was raw and windy today.  He was warm enough under his blankets but it must be something in the air that told him to stop loosing hair.  Bummer.

 

I really didn’t want to ride it was so cold, but I forced myself to for the good of PJ.  He needs to get fit.  He definitely did not have a go button today when we first started out.  He was looky because of the weather, but had no desire to go forward, which meant we didn’t turn well.  Dressage is full of contradictions.  The go button is one of them.  To get a horse (especially PJ) to go, you first need to half-halt him to then be able to send him forward.  The problem is if he is not going in the first place, then he won’t half-halt.  Of course, once you get a horse going, you have to worry if he’s on his forehand, which is not really going forward either.  And then to turn you are supposed to prepare with a half-halt but then you also need to send him through the turn instead of allowing him to slow down.   

I’m finding that canter work really helps PJ to go forward correctly when we break back to trot, with his hind legs underneath him and pushing.  Our canter needs practice, but once we go back to trot, because he is nicely going, I can do all sorts of things, like sit trot or leg yields.  However, today I was not in the mood to do much, so once he was going nicely, we quit.  Despite the chill in the air, he was sweaty under his saddle, which tells me he put some effort into it.  Tomorrow they are calling for rain and then I will be away for a week, so please bear with me if I don’t post for a while.

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2 Responses to Contradictions

  1. I always thought the horse needed to be going forward before the half halt was applied, not after. Or maybe going forward as the halt halt was applied, I guess. It seems to me to do if before the horse goes forward it would block forward movement and that’s not what you want. I work with young horses and I know that blocking them (half halt) before you have forward causes problems. The horse gets confused and ends up bridling without impulsion.

  2. tryingtoride says:

    Yes, I definitely agree about the blocking thing. But with PJ I’ve tried sending him forward and if he isn’t ready or doesn’t want to, there’s no go. I’ve tried kicking, using my whip, yelling. Nothing. The best thing for him is to collect him by posting slow and heavy, tightening my core and thighs, trying not to use my hands. Once he reacts (which can take a few strides) and slows/collects, then I post really big while adding leg. That gets him moving better than anything else I’ve tried. It was a technique my instructor suggested, so I’m assumming others have used it too. What I’m finding now is that I need to canter early in our ride – that seems to loosen him up. It’s an ever-learning process.

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