You may have been wondering how Delightful Desty has been getting on – well the answer is fabulously!
We had a bit of an enforced rest break – the weather was very hot and dry, yes it was – seems hard to remember that now with all the rain we’ve been having! He can sometimes find those conditions hard and with the explosion of pollen all around us he developed a nasty cough. With consultation with his owner and his vet it was decided he would go home whilst he was on some medication to help him with his breathing.
Fortunately, the medication did its work – the weather changed! – and Desty came back to finish off his stay with me. The good news regarding his training was those 2 weeks to soak and dwell on what happened brought him back in top learning frame of mind, with everything he had been taught falling into place straightaway. His owner even remarked that people had commented that he was walking differently – so that was good news!
That’s the thing about training – leave every session in the best possible place for that day and no matter if there is a scheduled couple of soak days, or a longer circumstances driven break, the horse goes away and thinks about the end of the session and often-times comes back better than before.
So after 4 days with me he had learnt to keep the Centre of Mass out of his shoulders (that was a BIG lesson for him), he had some nice LFS on the circle and the straight line – some pretty good haunches in on the left rein, and the first steps of working out where to put his body and feet for haunches in on the right rein. On his return he completely remembered to stay out of his shoulders in the LFS on the circle and straight line – being very careful how and where to put his feet. He was a little pushy in the haunches in on the left rein – but a redirection and awareness of where his Centre of Mass went and he gave some lovely work. On the right rein his haunches in was a bit better than where we had left it!
He stayed with me for another 10 days. During that time we worked on getting better quality and being able to take the haunches in away from the wall on both reins. He became very co-ordinated in his body and really had a huge amount of pride shine through in his work.
During this time another piece of his particular puzzle became evident to me. He had a tendency that I had to take great care of during the laterals to shorten his neck and even try to come behind the vertical – so my mantra was long neck, long neck, looooong neck! I decided to take a look at using a pair of reins and move into the Work in hand so that I could be sure that he was not only yielding to an inside rein, but searching into an outside rein too. This opened up another can of worms! As soon as I took him to a set of reins, he became rather ‘posed’ brought his head way behind the vertical and got a bit bitey and cross…….hmmm, how interesting!
So I had an unwritten contract with him – the outside rein belonged to him, he could have as much of it as he wanted to take, I would just gently hold his hand. We made some nice progress in the last few remaining days. Now he has gone home and I will be seeing him and his owner for some private lessons to help them continue with the work. Looking forward to following their progress.