I had one of those rides tonight that put a big smile on my face; I am so impressed by my little horse right now! After working all week on the shoulder exercises which included direction changes roll backs and counter lope, I decided to pull out some poles tonight to change things up. I warmed Grace up with the jog exercises and then jogged her over the poles which were laid out like this:
Please excuse the drawing; I am lacking a good pattern program. We jogged over the poles in different combinations mixing it up each time and going each direction. Grace was quiet, relaxed and kept a nice steady rhythm. It was almost too easy so we moved it up to the lope. I noticed right away that Grace was really using her hind end; her lope was quiet, rhythmic and easy to ride. I also found that she was so light in her shoulder that I had to be careful to not overturn her, it only took a little outside rein to get what I wanted and I was riding in the snaffle.
Looking at the pattern pole #3 is sitting about 10 feet off the arena fence while poles 1 and 2 are towards the center of the arena. I picked up the right lead between pole 3 and the arena rail, turned right off my outside rein loped pole 1 and 2, I then turned right towards the arena rail, rolled back and loped pole 3. I sure hope that made sense! I really wanted to draw it for you because it was so cool! Grace hit the distances every time and really surprised be by the roll back. Each time she rocked back on her hocks and rolled over them. Her front end was light through the enter exercise. After working it on the right lead, we changed to the left this time loping pole 2, 1 and then rolling back to 3. Again Grace was light on her front end and hit every distance. I was able to keep my back soft and my butt in the saddle, it felt like I had no choice, my body really wanted to stay back out of the way. To finish off the exercise we loped to the left over 2, 1, roll back to 3, changed leads turned right and circled back to 1, 3 right roll back to 3. I kept the circle small and close to poles and was again impressed by how level headed Grace was throughout the exercise. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time, I could see where the last two weeks of work had paid off, my horse found her hind end and what would have been a difficult exercise was now easy and fun for both of us. I am starting to believe that I really will have this horse broke by the time she is 20!