Friday, August 5, 2016

Pushing Thresholds

I had the dressage trainer out to the farm for our second lesson yesterday. I showed her what we have been working on; walking and trotting under saddle on the lunge, getting used to the whip rubbing on him and being friendly, and stretches.

During our review she reminded me that I have to be consistent with my cues. She likes to use clucks for trot and kisses for canter. Speaking of canter that is where she went next. I have asked him to increase his speed and energy at the trot but I have not tried canter yet. She suggested we get canter out of him first before we think about climbing on top and I could not agree more.

The first direction we tried I got as loud as I possibly could driving him from behind and could not get a single stride of canter. Instead I got him snorting at me, so we stopped. That was obviously over his threshold of pressure and he was not ready to canter yet. We gave him a rest and tried the other side. He immediately picked up the canter going to the left, so that told us he is having some sort of issue physically picking up his right lead. I was relieved I got canter so easily on at least one side. Canter is not an easy gate for draft breeds. Bodhi took forever to be able to canter on the lunge line. We will work towards getting that right side now, and getting a more sustained and balanced canter on the left. I am glad we pushed him a little though, because he demonstrated he could handle the challenge and stayed calm, and responsive through our session ( minus the snorting I got to the right that I read is "I get it, but I can't right now").
boingy boingy boingy

Now that we were both a bit more tired and relaxed she came over and held him and fed treats while I practiced jumping around, standing on the mounting block and pulling and climbing on the saddle. He was tense at first but definitely started to shift his focus away from the silly things I was doing, and became more interested in enjoying his treats. The saddle was slipping really badly, which limited what I could do but we ended on the high note of me hanging over the saddle. Now I need to figure out how to keep that saddle from slipping!

Just hanging out, no big deal
Oak has had one heck of a week! I am really proud of him. I have to take the next week off for work, so hopefully we won't backslide too much. Grayson has also been my little shadow lately anytime I am around the barn, reminding me I have two horses and he would really like to play too!


  1. Sounds like a good lesson! It all takes time but will come together eventually.

  2. I found myself nodding along to everything you and your trainer did in this session :) Looks like he's doing really well!