Monday, 31 March 2014

Early morning lesson

Had a lesson on Remi, last Thursday before work. It was a glorious morning for riding. Misty with sun burning through. School was freshly harrowed after rain, and was looking and riding beautifully.

Working on making Remi more adjustable, and encouraging him to gently move outside his brace zone. Remi is not unsurprisingly fairly protective over his body. He has several default modes.

Initially he doesn’t go forwards freely until he is warmed up. This is stiffness. We coax him along, accept a half trot. Gradually eek out to asking more. Once trot looser, canter work, and then he is fairly warmed up.

He likes to pose with his neck looking pretty, and contact fairly light, but fairly stiff through his body, and not truly connected. This is how he has largely been over the years. Looks pretty, obedient, but not truly active behind or through his whole body.

Or he likes to lean on my hands, go on his shoulders and rush off - this is also a comfort zone - where he is supported by my hands and pulls me off my seat.

We are working on changing things to remove the brace. So higher shorter neck, longer lower neck, slowing or speeding the tempo, flexions to the inside and outside. All trying to gently remove the brace, and increase the connection from head to toe. Mixing it up.

Is really interesting, as can feel if ask for more power say in canter - he can’t hold it at the moment - he can only balance / hold himself together with so much power. I can feel him saying, yes I hear your legs - but I can’t do more. Or sometimes he finds a way to do more.

It is really interesting, and seems to be working with him. It is all incremental it will take time as he is an older horse, with a long rehabilitation history. And we are learning together. He is so expressive, I can tell when he releases through his body and improves, when he tires, and when he has a different opinion.

I need to try and get out of old habits - and stop going to reins first in transitions, and allowing him to fix and lean on my hands, and to pull me forwards off my seat. Remi needs to stop rolling his eyes at me when I behave differently to how he thinks I normally behave! Poor Remi - if he runs and leans - and I push reins forwards or flex his neck - he is most confused - can see him saying - that is changing the status quo.

I think his current main issue is weak SI and pelvis - and the side to side swing and dip his pelvis does, and his rehab is about making his SI and back muscle stronger to act as more effective stabilisers and to reduce the swinging.

He is making progress each week, and I am happy seem to have a long and short term work plan with him, and to be progressively improving him. Just want him as strong and well muscled and well moving as possible.

Remi seems to enjoy the work. Once warmed up, he seems very pleased with himself. He is lovely in that he wants to please, and genuinely seems to think he is clever doing school work. He does make me smile :-)

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