Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Hot Head!

Following our fantastic ride on Sunday, I decided to hack Echo out again on her own today. She had been so good at this recently, going round the cross country course and I didn't think it would be too much of a problem to go out onto the heath instead. She has been that way before, but not alone.

Looking back on it, it probably was a rather big step. She didn't do anything naughty at all, she was just very stressy. I rode straight out onto the heath from the yard and she was fine,just a little quick and held her head rather high. I was surprised by how confident I felt. I had a clear idea of where we were going to go and decided to stick to it, quietly and with determination.

She shrieked her head off regularly, but was obedient about walking forward. I had thought that she would settle after a while, but she wasn't having any of it. At one point she seemed a little more relaxed, so I had a little trot, but she got very stressed and wasn't listening to me, so I went back to a walk again.

When we got back to the border of the cross country course, I decided to go the long way round, in order to take her down a route she knows well. I thought this might settle her, but she was very fast and quite spooky. The only time she settled was when we were on our way back and were in sight of the yard.

I'm not worried about this, I just wish I had done things a bit differently. If it is nice weather again tomorrow, I will ride her in the school for a short while, then go round the cross country course, and THEN venture out a little way on to the heath. It would make sense to do the more worrying bit when she is less fresh and has worked a little already.

I am keen to keep her going out on her own, even if only for short adventures. Our usual hacking partner has found a loan home, and so we are going to have to get braver at going out alone and with horses Echo doesn't know as well.


Wiola said...

Hi there,
Sounds like young girl had a bit of a look onto the big wide world! She sounds a gem, I am sure she will be fine the more you go out.

Just a thought about what you said on her walk being lazy sometimes. When I used to ride young show jumpers we let them find their own feet so to speak. This trainer I am riding with now is not having any of it - she says the youngster must walk like a power house from the word 'go', no lazying about (not bothered about outline, contact in walk at all - just long rein). Was your trainer like this too?
I find it quite harsh but maybe that is the way it should be...

Barokko said...

Re the walk, I definitely agree to get them going right away! The lazy-walk types are really hard to get a good 4-beat walk out of, it's important to get energy first and foremost. Contact and outline can all come later when she's walking out well on her own.

Echo said...

I agree that the walk must go forward and be powerful, but you have to really careful with the walk, as it's the easiest pace to ruin and the hardest to get back. I think the only issue with driving them forwards in the walk is that you may end up rushing them and causing them to pace in the walk. This is a real no-no in dressage, and can be really hard to get out of.

We were always told to let the walk go forward and do loads of transitions to get the hind-legs underneath. We also had to spend the first five minutes of any session walking on a completely long rein, allowing the walk to stretch out.

I think the key is to not rush, but not hold back into an outline too much either. I have found the biggest breakthrough with Echo's walk was maing sure I really exaggerate the forward movement with my hands. I try not to nag with my leg, or drive with my seat too much. Also, I have found that tickling with the schooling whip helps. Tapping her has little effect, but if I immitate a fly and just create a little irritation on her quarters, she steps forward away from it.

I will have a think, and ask my old trainer - it is at these moments that I wish I still had daily lessons!

Wiola said...

Interesting what you say about movements of your hands - I also noticed that with Wilastra. If I move my hands freely to accomodate the movement of her neck plus a bit more she really seems to open up in her shoulders.
The tickling with the schooling whip also helps with her. There are moments when I really feel her pushing from behind and her back goes up but she tends to loose this marching power quite often.

Daily adventures while training my young horse.