Friday, September 12, 2008

Have Bend, Will Travers

Brego is a new man, er, horse after his chiro work. His left canter is much improved and he feels so bendy and relaxed. I've had two fantastic dressage rides on him since the chiro work on Monday and he just gets better and better.

Our big mental breakthrough was getting a couple steps of haunches in (travers). I had been attempting to teach Brego how to step in the direction of bend as opposed to shoulders in (where the horse is moving in the opposite direction of bend). He was not getting it at all. I tried working in hand, I tried getting the bend from a standstill and then pulling my outside leg back and asking him to move his haunches. I tried a bastardization of turn on the forehand. Admittedly, I am not an experience dressage rider, so I am sure my weight was all wonky, etc, but Brego usually manages to figure out the intent of an exercise despite my muddled clues.

Well I went back to my books and really thought about the exercise. I got a crazy idea on what to try next. So today I spent a lot of time working on shoulder in at the walk, until it was very light and the bend was true and not on my inside hand. Then I opened my outside rein and used a little indirect rein on the inside hand to move his shoulders back to the track while keeping the bend with my inside leg, then in the same motion, I dropped my outside leg behind the girth and asked him to step over with his haunches. And he did it!! I couldn't believe how easy it was for him to understand keeping the same bend but shifting his body so that he was suddenly moving in the direction of bend. In my mind, it is a very advanced thing, but it must be easy for him to understand.

I got two good steps in haunches in, then deliberately asked him to straighten. I am really focusing on not "petering out" my aids when he does something right and we stop the exercise. I need to train myself to have crisp transitions into and out of each movement. Strangely, Brego was much better on the left bend in this shoulder in to travers exercise than the right bend. His right bend is usually his strongest. I will need to ponder more on what that means, but I am just so jazzed that he got it! And I taught it to him by myself, just by understanding balance and the purpose of the exercise. I feel like I am really starting to learn dressage, not just practice the patterns.

On a somewhat related note, Brego's swelling on the right hind is completely and totally gone. Vanished. My friend in Texas surmised that it was lingering because of Brego's pelvis being tilted to the right and he was "overusing" that right hind. Now that he is straightened, the strain is off his leg. Sounds pretty interesting to me, but I can't help but wonder... It had been getting better but seemed to stabilize into a wind puff type swelling with no heat. Then the chiro work on Monday and *poof* it's all gone. I don't know, but I am happy to have Brego's clean legs back!

The saddle fit went well, both saddles were spruced up. Wow, what a difference! It was much easier for me to ride the canters and no uncomfortable girl parts!!

As for this weekend, I was supposed to have a schooling show, but I scratched the show so I can go hunting instead. I feel like I am playing hooky from school, but I just want to go run around and not worry about competition. Plus, if I go hunting, I can pay them my membership dues and be an official member of a hunt!

The house inspection went well so we are full steam ahead for me to buy a farmette at the end of October. I can't wait to have Brego at home. Once the deal is done, I will have updates with pictures, etc, as we explore our new world.


Funder said...

That's totally awesome! I am so happy for your travers breakthrough. You're really an inspiration to me, you know. Not like "I wanna be an eventer juuuust like Daun," but how far you and Brego have come and how much you've both learned.

Anyway, grats on the saddles and farm progress!

Wiola said...

I am SO looking forward to your farmette pictures :) Friend and I are looking for a yard to rent but cannot find anything suitable at the moment.
Great to hear that saddles are all mended - nothing worse than an uncomfortable schooling! :-0

Laura said...

That is great - sounds like chiro was a big, big help! Good that you have a reliable practitioner.

Looking forward to the farmette pictures - how great to have your horse at home!

Question for you - what attire does your hunt need you to wear? Do you wear a nice tweed jacket? I've always wanted to hunt, just for the clothes...!

Daun said...

You are too kind! But don't you want to be an eventer, too? Come on... just a little bit? :)

A yard of your own! I know you've talked about it on your blog, and I really hope you find it soon. If you want the best care for your horses, you have to do it yourself. At least here in the states that is true.

I LOVE the clothes for fox hunting! I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination but a big plus for hunting is the clothes and traditions. I loved studying at Oxford for the same reason, I love deep tradition. We sadly don't have much here in the states. But as for the clothes...

Right now we are in cubbing season, so proper attire are tall black boots, beige/tan breeches (not white!) and a white polo shirt. You can wear a ratcatcher if you have it. Once formal season begins, the attire will change to tall back boots, tan breeches, white shirt and stock tie, canary vest, and black wool melton for normal members. I have all the attire except my tall boots are field boots and tradition dictates dress boots. I talked with my field master yesterday when I joined and my boots will be fine in this hunt, although I will be on the lookout for a good deal on dress boots (need them for dressage anyway, although dressage dress and hunting dress are VERY different. I will buy hunting and wear them for dressage).

Here's a pic of me hunting in Texas before I bought a proper stock tie. Nothing fits quite rights, so I am hoping to sharpen up my image this season if I can find things on sale. Now that I am buying a farm, cash is severely limited.

McFawn said...

What about those black boots with the brown swath at the top?

McFawn said...

Or the britches that flare out at the hip?

I used to board my horse at the "Battle Creek Hunt Club," a most respested hunt in SW Michigan. There was a stuffed fox in the club room and lots of brandy for filling silver saddle flasks.

(the last part is made up, but I did see a hunting flask for sale for an outragous sum from Dover...)

McFawn said...


(obviously I'm stalling from something else, hence all the posts...)

Where did "ratcatcher" come from? Did huntmasters of yore use their white ties to bind rats and toss them into the woods, so the hounds wouldn't be thrown off the fox scent?