Good Evening, Friends!
Thought you might enjoy a quick catch up on Smokey’s progress, going forward!
One of the first things achieved in clinic, was Smokey self loading into the trailer. This was accomplished with the forward cue, which we use during bridlework warm up. She caught on to this quite quickly. Later, we had opportunity to give her a load up, tie, and back out. I’ll work on that going forward. I always enjoy having some follow-up goals to work on.
The next major achievement was an emergency one rein stop with disengagement. We were shown in the following manner, which is a little different in how I’ve learned it in the past, but things do evolve, rider biomechanics has shown us that!
First, develop it on the ground. It should be automatic when asked. It should be clean and snappy, not sloppy. I never gave it much thought, having horses that have been able to do it quite easily. Smokey could not do it, so she required a bit of practice. It is not the easiest thing for a gaited horse to do, but she should still have it instilled as a habit.
I used to bring my rein to my knee or waist. Now I bring it to my belt buckle. Sit tall and centered, leaning a little back. Beware of any tilt to the side. Have your left rein loose and your left hand on the swell of the saddle. Bring the right rein up to the belt buckle, at the same time giving the right leg towards the hindquarter, asking for a disengagement to the left, as you look towards the back, seeing and feeling when it happens.
Here is a brief video of establishing this on the ground during bridlework.
I practice it enough for Smokey to give it softly.
Summing up Smokey’s and my work and achievements, are as follows:
- bridle work from the ground to work on saddle skills, disengagement, and head down cue
- mounting from the block
- standing still for mounting up
- standing still after mounting up until asked to move out
- shoulder work, as in shoulder over, done on a circle, serpentine exercises, the start of backing in a circle
- head down cue, leading to loose rein riding, including moving out on a loose rein, and stopping on a loose rein.
- power steering, incorporating loose rein riding, lifting rein one side or the other for direction, then giving release, riding straight. Work this with leg cue.
- practicing learned skills in different environments, with the outdoor arena, and two outings to an extensive trail obstacle course.
- starting liberty work, with a stay, come-to-me cue, playing and progressing
- leading exercise to have Smokey stay behind me for trail riding skills
- hip over cue to enable many situations, including mounting up
- ground tying for as long as I want
- roll back along the rail for teaching, and keyhole game for practice
- de-spooking with various stuff
For the future, Smokey’s trail skills will be assessed. These newly learned skills from our clinic, will be worked on and reinforced for them to become habit, for both of us!
What are you plans going forward for you and your buddy? I’d love to know!