Another great day of progressive training with Marley! Today I wanted to focus on some of our pattern work required at the competition, along with beginning lead changes.
I set up a pole in the middle of the arena to serve as a marker for Marley both for simple and flying lead changes. Within a couple of minutes, Marley was very reliably giving me a simple lead change across the diagonal of the arena within 3 trot steps. This is a huge improvement for us, and we are really beginning to make progress at the canter.
After a short rest, I started asking Marley to pick up his canter as he went over the pole. He was a little confused at first, but eventually figured out that we trotted a couple of strides before the pole, then picked up our opposite lead as we went over. Marley figured this out really quickly, so I asked him for a flying lead change to see what he would do. He was a little bit confused and changed just his front the a few strides after the pole, and I rewarded him for the effort. We trotted, picked up the correct lead, and tried it again. This time, Marley gave me a clean flying lead change and I made sure he knew I was VERY happy with him. Tons of praises later, I decided to call it a day.
I had a really fun day with Marley today! We did a lot of hard work, expanding on the lateral movements we started yesterday and then finishing with some transition exercises. His canter is slowly getting better, it's sometimes difficult to not want to pull him together, but he is still developing his own gait. The more I let him move out and work on riding with my seat and leg and allowing him to have his head, the better his transitions and balance are.
After a tough work out, I decided to take off Marley's saddle and get on him bareback. There was no one around so it was the perfect day to just play around in the arena. We walk, trotted, and cantered both directions, something we have never done before bareback!! It was so much fun, Marley was so relaxed, it felt great to just have fun.
|Riding a wild horse.... Bareback!|
Today was dedicated to lateral work. I started on the ground with the clicker, building on some foundation work I've already started with Marley. He was understanding fairly quickly so I transitioned with the clicker to under saddle.
Most of the new training we did today was at the walk, and I was very pleased with how Marley came back after a day off and immediately went into learning something new. Marley can be a little lazy, so I was very surprised when he very easily transitioned from a cue given on the ground to a leg cue. He stayed very soft and was really responsive moving from side to side.
We finished the day with some canter work which is still our worst gait. He is still not incredibly balanced at the canter, though it is improving slowly but surely and I'm hoping it will all come together before the 10th. If not, he will at least be well on his way.