Due to some rather inconvenient circumstances happening around the state, work has afforded more time with Jean-Luc. I am making the most of that time by heading to the barn at least every other day.
Until today, the weather has been absolutely abysmal. I never knew I how much I hated mud and rain until I owned a horse. As you may have read in the last post, one of my ultimate goals with Jean-Luc is to help him become a balanced critter. His natural pace really has him all over the place. Just look at this photo!
Here, he is just walking to me from the field and he's leaning all over the place. His lateral movement can be pretty wild to sit sometimes. When working at a pace, it is impossible to make sharp turns and causes the horse to constantly trip. It isn't good for his back either, and that is why I am spending so much time on all these tiny, micro-movements / efforts.
More saddle time has really helped us out, too. Though I do not wish to encourage his pace, he is pretty high strung, so at least for now, we pace until he is relaxed enough to fall into a gait. That isn't ideal. Normally, you would work up from the walk into a gait, rather than down into a gait from the pace. However, it is what is working for us.
The other day, though, the weather and conditions just weren't going to allow for us to be outside at that time. Thus, I started working in the barn on a lesson I had reviewed from Gaited Horse Trainer, Larry Whitesell. I found his site on Facebook nearly six months ago, but this is the first real lesson I have tried. Below is the link to the original video lesson.
After reviewing, and knowing there wasn't much I could do with Jean-Luc outside, I decided to give this video a try.
Below is the link to our first attempt. You will see that Larry emphasizes several practical ideas, but primarily that the bridle is to be used to talk to the horse's feet. Also, none of these exercises require more than feather light touches.
The goal was to get Jean-Luc to back using a feather-light touch on his bridle. The direction from Larry is not to push is not straight back into the horse's chest because that will pinch their tongue. You are to move towards their ears. Also, this motion is to come from your core, not your arms.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the first attempt's results. I know we have a long way to go, but this should help Jean-Luc learn to hind end rather than his front legs when stopping - something he is notorious for. Truly riding any sort of downhill slope on this guy feels like you are descending atop a jackhammer!
Building balance and strength has always been my goal for Jean-Luc. This Spring we are beginning get very serious about it. I just pray I have the patience and dedication to watch it happen.
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.
Top 10 Blog Favs.