Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lesson #181: Straightness

We moved indoors after it started raining and focused on straightness. Ariel is the least straight horse, ever. She does all sorts of counter flexing/bending or no bending because she's just like that. I always have to work a little harder with her, to keep her bent on the straight way. This lesson was focused completely on riding them straight, keeping them on the bit and getting them to round up. All things I'm still not completely understanding or "feeling" when I do ride.

Ariel is an Appaloosa so her breeding primarily marks her well for doing cowboy sort of stuff. Despite this background, Ariel loves to jump and gets her and her rider placed every time they've gone to show (not me, I've never shown her). But keeping a proper bend and flexion...? Easily, it's a challenge on even a good day. Sheri has ridden her once and told me that riding Ariel is about riding her body and keeping her straight and being able to do that before she even gets crooked. So that was the mission this time around.

After the usual trotting and cantering, Sheri starts by pointing out what position we want to keep their head carriage at, where they are round, accepting the bit and using their backs. I always thought that it's a rather curved head and neck carriage but for Ariel, she's not that long so there isn't a lot to carry that way. It's a matter of the height at which her head is being carried because I notice that when my balance is off, she lifts her head to tell me I've mucked up. But the step that I get back into balance, she relaxes and her head lowers. Add to all this, the proper flexion to keep her straight. I have to use the appropriate leg and rein aids to redirect her and the thing is, I find myself doing this a lot when she's going round and round. As Sheri reminds us, generally, we should always be doing something up there be it telling them to do something to continuing to support them if they are doing it correctly.

I didn't think I'd find this as much a challenge as I did nor as enjoyable but it was very satisfying to work on it and see glimpses of it when I got it right!


  1. haha idk - my horse is as crooked and twisted as a pretzel, she might give Ariel a run for her money has the 'least straight horse ever' :)