Thursday, June 16, 2011

June Goals

Goals for the month:

1. Work at standing at mounting block.

This coming Saturday we will spend our entire time standing, mounting, and dismounting. We will go on the ring for a walk for a couple of rounds and return to mounting/dismounting. No other work will be done.

In the future, we will continue this exercise at the beginning and end of each lessons for apprxiomately 10 mounts/dismounts so the behaviour is reinforced.

2. Hosing off/sponging/bathing.

With the weather being so hot, we can work on Ike accepting bath time. He dislikes being hosed off and is scared of the hose. He is a little more comfortable with being sprayed lightly with water. He circles around but does not rear or strike out when the water hits him. After every ride, he will be hosed off so he is better behaved for bath time.

3. Working off the legs.

Last night I decided to carry a crop with me as I hadn't ridden him for awhile and wasn't sure what attitude he was going to have. When Ia sked him to trot, he was forward but not fast. Usually with a crop he races around the ring and it can take awhile to bring him back. He resisted going into a trot when the other pony in the ring was standing/walking. I try to avoid usuing the crop but needed a couple taps on the shoulder. He still needs to accept pressure from the legs so I will continue to use the crop until then.

4. Canter

Ike's canter continues to improve. He is better going to the right than he is on the left, which leads me to believe that he is stronger on his right. He bends better to the right at both walk, trot and canter and sticks closer to the side of the arena. He uses the entire size of the arena and gets into his corners. On his left, he is a little less balanced and tries to avoid using the entire arena, cutting into the corners, especially down at A. He sometimes rushes into his transition. He rarely picks up the wrong lead, but when he does, it is his left. He keeps an even pace and carries his head down. His canter needs to become more balanced on both sides, but more so the left, slow down slightly, utilize the entire ring and its corners and build up staminia so he can continue at the canter for a longer period of time. He sometimes ignores the inside leg around the corners on the left side. Transition ques will also need to be worked on, and eventually from the walk.

5. Working after the canter

Because we spent 3 or 4 lessons where the canter was the last thing done (in which I would dismount immediately after a good session of canter), Ike believes he is done after he canters. I ask him to trot a few rounds afterwards so he learns that cantering doesn't always mean that work is over. A couple times he would try to break into canter because he felt that we were going to do more.

6. Showing

Ike was not exactly stellar at his first show. I was not planning to ride, but I wish I had done more to prepare him. We took two other ponies, so it was hard to get any work with him done as I had to show the others. For the next show, I will take greater lengths in ensuring that he has a) been lunged for 10 minutes or so to get his energy out and b) walking him around the grounds for another 10-15 minutes so he gets used to the surroundings. I will likely not ride him at the next couple of shows. However, I would like to prepare him for the indoor show where I would be able to take him inside the riding ring a couple times the day before, and even lunge him in the morning before the classes begin. I think by getting him accquainted with the ring will really help his self confidence. I am also thinking about putting him on a supplement to help with his nerves/anxiety so we can have a few positive shows where he is relaxed. I would remove the supplement from his diet once he has gotten used to the idea of being off the property and the show atmosphere.

Helpful hint of the day:
If your riding boots are rubbing the back of your heels into blisters like my new ones were, tape your heels with sports tape. I tried this last night and it worked amazingly. I could walk around in my boots when usually I am limping badly after I dismount.

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