Ollie, that is. Today was Tuesday lesson day with Betsy and this time I had two lessons from her. One with each of my guys. Toby and I are working on cantering. He's such a long bodied horse that getting him to engage his hind end while at the canter can be challenging simply because when he does engage his hind end, it acts like a catapult and throws me out of the saddle. It's a real challenge for me to sit back with his canter and not get catapulted into that awful 2-point position I'm constantly fighting myself from doing in the first place. Baby steps for both of us.
My visitor from last week video taped my lesson with Toby so here's a little bit of our canter work in both directions (and me lamenting at the end of the video how smooth Jaguar Hope was to ride at the canter...)
After my lesson with Toby, which went rather well for both of us, it was on to longe line training with Ollie. Ollie is showing his true thoroughbred nature. He's always busy. He lacks some basic manners and occasionally tries to run you over when you lead him out or try to keep him in the wash rack, etc. This is going to be a daily lesson with the two of us now - "Respect me when I'm leading you and stand when you're asked to stand." Working on this will also help him with cross tie training.
Today we put draw reins on him when we longed him. We had to make a redneck version of draw reins out of baleing twine but it worked like a charm. We tied one end under his belly to his girth and fed it between his front legs and up through the ring of his bit and tied the other end to the saddle billets - we did this on both sides. We made it fairly loose to start. It was so loose he barely felt it and therefore had no reaction to it. So we tightened it up slightly. Just enough so when he moved forward from behind he would feel contact with the bit. Wow! Contact with the bit and moving forward for him was a novelty. It took him a little bit to figure it out going to the left. It took three times as long for him to figure it out going to the right. He had one tantrum and threw his head up which broke our redneck draw reins but that's the beauty of the redneck draw reins! We wanted them to break if he got into a fit (we also had them tied with quick release knots). We easily repaired the draw rein and continued on with the lesson. He eventually was moving forward very well at the trot and accepting the bit contact. BIG LESSON LEARNED FOR THE NEW GUY!
I started out handling him but when he was struggling with understanding what was being asked, I handed over the controls to the expert. He was a handful with many stops and starts and standing in a "I refuse to move" position. Betsy was excellent at communicating what she wanted from Ollie and worked in baby steps to get him to where she wanted him. It took her a long time but at the end he eventually understood what we were asking of him.
In light of this, Betsy and I discussed that between now and next Tuesday I will be mostly working him on his manners when being led and not so much on longeing him at this critical point in his education.
He has a lot to learn and today's lesson was huge! It was great fun to see him progress.