Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wolfgang, You Are NOT a Giraffe (Max. Frustration)

Making another attempt to start blogging regularly again, hopefully it will help keep track of the progress (or lack of) that Wolf and I make during our time together.

Wolfgang is about 19 now, and it's very important that he learns to collect/go on the bit consistantly and actually use his back end, not just hold his neck and head nicely. Unfortunatly, his tiny frontal lobes don't understand my rational exlpantations of this, nor does he like listening when being asked to collect. Grrr. It's very frustrating. Quite frankly, he should have learned this a long time ago, and I think he did, but then being a bit of a lesson horse for less experienced people, he got a way without doing it. And it's not like collection is something important to chuck wagon horses, which is what he was before. He can get it at the walk with just the slightest request and go quite nicely, even the sitting trot he is fairly consistant, which is great. The problem is the worst at the posting trot and the canter. In my last lesson two weeks ago, we put him on a small cirlce with outside leg and rein to balance and inside leg to push is body out and lots of inside rein to basically pull his head around to the inside, until he gave in an dropped his head and then he was asked to go forward and large around the ring with consistant contact. It worked, but was frustrating for the both of us, he responded much better on my lease ride after this lesson, he really seemed to figure out what to do after a few intense circles, he would go very well, lose it and then if he didn't collect again when asked, and I went to go put him back on a small cirlce, he would drop his head and collect properly right away. Too bad it didn't work very well at all this past Sunday. Although I'm not totally surprised by this, I missed my lesson before this ride (thank you university) and consistancy is key. I literally tired everything I could think of to get him to drop his head and tuck his nose, but he just wouldn't for more than a few steps after a circle. I had trot poles out, we did lots of those, lots of upward and downward transitions and no luck at all. Even asking him to trot with next to no contact, my hands were literally at the buckle of the reins, obviously this didn't work at all, he just rushed around on the forehand, so that didn't last very long, but I had been hoping with a longer rein he would be more keen to drop down his head. Even if I was off his back in the two point he wouldn't. UGH. But, I have a make up lesson tonight, thank god, so hopefully K will have some good advice to help us out.

And when he won't collect it has an impact on everything else that  I had been hoping to work on with him. Mainly collection, and then really good quality transitions of all kinds. Trot to canter is a big one for us to work on, I've actually got him doing some very good walk to canter transitions but this has resulted in negelecting our trot/canter ones and the past while he has been getting a very rushy trot before cantering and this is no good because you arent very likely to get a nice canter out of a shitty trot. Then we also work on canter/walk, he can get them, but they aren't yet consistant. What we do is get a nice canter and then get on a small, balanced cirlce and keeping on leg, ask him to walk, sometimes I even say "walk" out loud and he gets lots of praise for getting close and a nice long walk on a loose rein if he gets it! It's so exciting when he does get them, I'm looking forward to being able to practice canter/walk on a larger cirlce or in the corners of the ring eventually! On Sunday we also got some very nice trot/halt transitions, but they all would have been so, so much better if he had had a more balanced and uphill movement.

But hopefully todays lesson will help us both out!