As for my horses, I made some interesting discoveries. I have mentioned many times that Junior needs to improve his balance, especially in canter. I've also reported about BooBoo being very wiggly. I think BooBoo's fundamental issue lies in balance rather than lacking throughness, which is what I've been attempting to work through from day one. I may not be able to describe what happened so that it makes sense, but I will try my best to be clear. After a normal warm-up routine, I stood quietly in halt. I asked BooBoo to "follow the bit" to the left. He would bend his neck left, just like I expected, but at the same time, he would push his shoulders to the right. His feet didn't move, but his weight would shift very obviously to the right. When I asked him to "follow the bit" to the right, he would shift his weight to the left. On any of my other horses, they would simply bend the neck and stand upright. Interesting!
Here are my thoughts. This horse has been through many owners and has a completely unknown history other than being spooky and a bit unpredictable. I feel we've worked through a lot of those issues and are getting into real training. We know nothing about the previous owners other than one who dabbled in dressage. I'm sure you've all seen this happen before...the rider wants the horse to flex to the right. She (or he) pulls on the right rein and cocks her own head down and to the right. In turn, this drops weight into the right seat making the rider sit quite crookedly on the horse as the horse bends it's neck to the right. She then does the opposite side, cocking her own head to the left, dropping her left shoulder and sitting more on the left seat bone. I'm curious if BooBoo has had this done to him so much that he adjusts his balance assuming he's going to need support more weight in the opposite direction? Funny thing is, I experimented with it enough that I could actually cause him to almost stumble in the halt by not moving and just increasing or decreasing the flexion. Obviously, I didn't do anything that frightened him or made him tense. He would lose his balance, however, which I found quite interesting. I was finally able to have him stand with weight evenly balanced left to right but could only flex as far as the poll. I hope that by doing these micro changes at halt, he'll understand that I'm not going to throw him off balance and he'll be able to keep his legs equally loaded depending on the exercise.
We did more of this today. Many would find this really boring...but it fascinates me to no end. Baby steps!
Please remember that I ride many horses and teach many lessons each day. I'm going to try to keep things simple and encourage people to participate by only talking about a couple of horses each day. It doesn't mean other horses are forgotten or ignored. I love each and every one and enjoy every moment in the saddle