Monday, February 3, 2014

Northern Louisiana goes polar

My equestrian extravaganza trip to Louisiana to visit my long-time friend and trainer Suzanne May did not go quite as planned. Of the six days I was there, four featured godawful weather. The first day offered up a high in the upper 20s, SNOW, and a 30 mph wind out of the north. Suzanne already had a clinic scheduled for what turned out to be the only two pleasant days, and we were both exhausted at the end of each clinic day, so I actually didn't do any riding at all. I did sit with Suzanne at the clinic and absorbed as much as I could. I was happy to note that at least 80% of the time, I was seeing what she was, and would have offered similar comments or advice. I helped out with showing a couple clinic riders some lungeing techniques, once with a horse who was curling behind the side reins, and once with a horse being introduced to the Pessoa system. I feel ready to begin teaching! And just in time -- I picked up my first client and have a lesson scheduled a week from Wednesday.

I picked Suzanne's brain about Dakota's disunited canter to the left. I told her my instinct was to shorten the outside rein to encourage the haunches to stay to the inside -- and she confirmed that that was a good strategy. I've been lungeing Dakota that way for three days now, and he has begun picking up a united canter three times out of four. Success! This week I also introduced nose-to-rail leg yielding, and Dakota did super! He is just such a willing little man. I ended each ride by asking for three steps of leg yield in each direction and then going to a long rein. In a few more weeks I'll introduce leg yield from quarter line to wall and turn on the forehand.

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