Update on Training

Levi

Levi’s steering has greatly improved. He’s beginning to understand the outside rein/leg aid. Now he’s finding new ways to evade being straight. lol

I started teaching Levi shoulder-in and haunches-in about a month and a half ago. At the walk, I can get about half the arena length of SI both ways. To the right is more difficult. He has more difficulty with HI to the left. I assume right hind is weaker. Which jives with what I see when he’s loose in the pasture. His left hind tends to be center mass.

Levi’s leg yields are coming along, but going from right side of arena to the left is still crooked. He wants to lead with his shoulder’s and I struggle to get him straight. I’ve been working on a few strides of leg yield as straight as possible, and then forward, to try to get him more straight. Seems to be working, but it’s a slow slog of progress.

Yesterday, I tried our first SI in trot. I was able to get a few strides of shoulder-fore to the right. Yay! Considering I couldn’t even turn 6 months ago, I’m pretty happy with this.

We’re struggling currently with bend in trot. Either I have a miscommunication about canter aids, or cantering crooked is easier than trotting with body bend, but he keeps popping into canter every time I ask for bend at trot. I felt like the shoulder-fore at trot for a few strides was a huge win yesterday.

Levi’s still hit or miss on canter leads. If i set him up absolutely perfectly I can usually catch the correct lead on the first strike off. If i miss that correct lead on strike off, i have to go back and set him up perfectly again. He gets anxious and tense if I try to force the correct lead. Since the issue is balance and strength, I don’t mind the issue right now. It’ll correct itself over time as long as I make sure my aids are clear and he understands them.

He’s also beginning to slowly accept the bit and contact. I can now get brief moments at the trot where he starts to lower his head and neck and seems happy with my hand. Brief moments. Walk is better and he’ll allow me to follow him down and pick him up without over reaction.

Thought this was a pretty pic

Joy

Joy’s lateral work is coming along. Our half-pass trot is getting easier and can hold it for longer. She feels more even under me as we half-pass and I can adjust the trot more.

Our canter is not great. Same issues. Either barreling around on forehand, or too collected and we stall out. I really think I need to just take her to the field and gallop her around for a few weeks until she’s really thinking forward, then work on collection again.

I’m also struggling right now with Joy, because I can feel she’s not quite straight, but I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if it’s a left or right issue. I feel like she’s not weighting the right shoulder as much as the left, but when i push her over on to it, she pops it slightly and I can’t seem to recapture it.

We need a lot more work on counter canter and a better quality canter. And I want to start half-pass canter soon. We also need a TON more work on medium trot and canter. There’s a LOT of work to do before 2nd/3rd, and all of it requires the rider be fit and precise… and lately, i just want to be a sloth that slouches around. *sigh*

Pandemic Pandemonium

The neighbor’s new horse, Yogi, has settled in well.

Levi was not happy about the new gentleman intruder hanging around Joy. I had to separate Joy from them. Which was fine, because she really shouldn’t be on spring grass anyway. Last year I made her wear the muzzle and she hated every second of it. 😂

For the longest time, the two geldings just picked at each other. No real blow ups. Levi was big man and would push Yogi off the hay.

And then recently, Yogi realized he’s quicker and more athletic, and he decided to put Levi in his place.

The Battle

Yogi’s kick to Levi’s ribs was so loud I though someone broke something! As soon as I could, I raced over to Levi to check him over. He had a very visible hoof print at the girth area and I touched it (gently). As I’m focused on the side of him, Levi reached over and bit me in the butt!! Little turd. So I half-heartedly smacked him and sent him off to go be a brat with Yogi again.

I think that incident was all it took though. The boy’s are finally getting along now (for the most part).

Levi’s fine now. Tiny spot of hair missing. Sore for a day. And Yogi was no worse for wear. Whew!

With the whole pandemic closures up in the air, I’m struggling to know how to plan out the rest of the spring. Do i try to reintegrate Joy into the herd? If it’s only another two weeks, then why bother? Or will we be quarantined until middle of summer? How much hay will I need to buy?

I hate ambiguity. It causes me stress. 😬😬