Last weekend and the one before, I was able to drive Kat. One day, one drive and we just took it easy as I don't want to rush him into anything. Mostly I wanted to see where he was at? Where I am at and what we need to work on, fix or change altogether.
Being brave or crazy, (not sure which) I changed him back to the snaffle to
drive and sort things out. For the most part he was good. The bending to the
left still needs work, he gets really reactive and 'racy' if you hold onto him
too tight and he did spook at a couple of things I have no idea what they were
or why he did, but for the most part he held it all together and did ok.
Part of the bend issue is me. The holding on too tight issue is both of us
and a vicious cycle. I was wondering how the time off the cart in the saddle
would affect the driving, and how the time driving would have affected my
riding. Comparing the two? It’s kinda crazy.
The bend issue goes back to the stupid bicycle handlebars thing. WTH? It has
been 2 years at least since I realized I was doing it to him before, it had
cropped up when I started driving and I thought I had resolved that before
going to the beginner clinic so long ago... For anyone who wasn't around for
that, I ask with the left rein for bend to the inside, but tend to hold onto
the right rein and not let my pony do what I ask for. There is no winning for
him as there is no release. Going to the right- my hands and contact are as
soft as can be.
The too tight issue is both of us. I take a hold of him, he thinks it is too
much and looks for release. Finding none, he speeds up. I take a stronger hold
trying to slow him down and repeat the cycle, things get worse and it all goes
downhill from there until I let go of one rein or the other and suddenly
everything is calm again.
Our stops used to be instant and sudden. Then there were times they went
right out the window. They are still iffy depending on the day, his mood, my
mood and how loudly or clearly I say 'whoa'. Sometimes I think he just gets
cruising along and blocks me out. Other times I may say it too softly and he
just doesn't hear me. Then I say it again a bit more sternly and demanding-
BAM! He stops dead.
Another thing we need to work on is our big stretchy circles. After everyone
telling me we are ready to move up at the CDE, I read over the movements for
the Prelim level dressage tests. One of the things it calls for is the big
stretchy circle. I had no idea what that was so I asked a friend in the club.
She went into explaining it in an almost lengthy detail, then wrapped it up
comparing it to riding hunters- It is when you encourage the horse to stretch
their nose out and down in a relaxed trot. Well now, that makes sense and I got
it. Now the question is- how do I get it without being able to use my legs or seat
because I am sitting in the cart? Hmmmmmm....