A few posts back I mentioned that somehow, despite my best efforts, I had ended up with a sensitive horse. And, surprising even myself, I am really enjoying the problem solving that goes along with starting a sensitive horse.
Now, here’s what I mean by problem solving, and sensitive:
This weekend, I hopped on June and she was feeling good. In front of the leg, and ready to work. I wanted to work on bend, especially going right, but I noticed she kept breaking to the canter instead of bending in the trot.
So, we did some trot/walk transitions. But, lo and behold, she continued to want to canter rather than bend.
In the past, I probably would have found this really annoying. But during this particular ride, I tried to figure out why she was breaking to the canter and how to “fix” it.
At first, I attributed it to anxiousness. But, while she was forward and wanting to work, she was also fine to just walk, so “being anxious” or trying to anticipate the canter, didn’t totally seem to make sense to me.
I decided to really think about what my body was doing when I asked her to bend right.
My leg went on, and I asked for some right flexion.
Wait. My leg went on.Why wasn’t it on before?
I soon realized, I was asking for bend with my calf. Which prior to asking, was not on. I was putting my calf on, pretty forcibly, when I wanted to ask for bend.
So, I stopped doing that.
I asked for bend from my thigh and knee, and kept my calf from pushing into her.
And guess what? She gave me bend without breaking into the canter.
I’m a genius.
So, my sensitive mare understands the difference between asking from my calf and asking from my thigh. Which means I need to get better at asking from different parts of my leg.
And despite the fact that this took a good part of our ride to figure out, she tolerated me confusing her. She tolerated the fact that I kept asking her to canter with my calf and then immediately asking her to trot. She was a very good sport about all of it. Which is all I can ask of her. My hope is, she’ll continue to be patient with me.
Although it does worry me that my horse is already teaching me things. Even though she is supposed to be the green baby… lol.
So much learning with this youngster. Every ride I learn something new, and I can’t even describe how fun it is!