Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 61-65: We keep pluggin' along!

Monday: I loaded up Eclipse and brought him to the Wills Park show grounds for a change. It is a great place and great opportunity to expose Eclipse to riding in a covered arena. Once we got there and took Eclipse around to explore the whole place. He was a little leery of the new place but settled in quickly. We walked the fence of the whole covered arena in both direction before we decided to warm up on the ground. During the warm up I rearranged a few of the remaining jump standards from the previous event into a line about twenty feet from each other. Once mounted we warmed up on the rail. Once we got to a canter I would take him down the center line where I had placed the standards. (For those of you who don't know what a standard is, it is the upright piece of a jump that holds the poles of the jumps.) The goal was to weave down the line of standards at a canter and have Eclipse change leads with every turn. The first time the pattern caught him be surprise and he was not expecting the rapid changes in direction. By the third pass he was with the program changing leads as he went from turn to turn. We ended it all by cooling down with some bridleless riding.

Tuesday was easy day. I worked some on Eclipse's ground tying while I taught lessons.

Wednesday I added some thing new to our ground work. Up to this point I have played with trotting in unison with Eclipse, today we worked on getting that in a canter. I taught him that when I skip he should canter. It did not take long for him to catch on. I would skip a few steps and he would then canter a few strides. We will continue to improve this as we go.

Thursday we continued are pursuit of perfecting flying lead changes by working the weave pattern in the arena. I could tell he was more prepared for the task at hand. He started offering the changes with subtle cues from me in the end.

Friday we went on a trail ride with another rider. This was the first trail ride in a month. Because the horse we rode with had not been out on the back property it was up to Eclipse to be the lead horse. I was anxious to see where his confidence was. Last trail we had been on he still depended on other horses to be the leader. It started out slow, he would take a few steps then stop and look around. I would allow this because if I forced him to go faster then he was ready for he would become more skeptical instead of more confident. I was very proud of him, he led the whole way, over water crossings, through ditches, and the under brush. We should be well prepared for the Poker ride at Garland Mountain on Sat Oct. 2.

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