And the lesson written about yesterday got Charlie outside during daylight hours in a big arena with solid all-weather footing. Definitely preferable to scrambling around lesson kiddos in our narrow indoor at home. So I'm thinking these experiences have been adding to Charlie's enjoyment of riding life, rather than detracting. There's been no evidence of sourness in any case, he's been fantastic everywhere he goes!
|"does this angle make my nose look big??" - charlie|
All we needed was a lesson with Dan to complete the trifecta haha, but he's down in Aiken for the winter (and I still haven't figured out how we're gonna make that happen anyway bc the new farm doesn't allow outside trainers and Dan's farm is WAY too far away to haul for regular lessons. Not sure yet how to resolve that pickle...).
|more "charlie thru the trailer doors" pics!!! one of these days i'll have to collect these pics from all our usual haunts and make you guess which picture/background corresponds to which farm haha|
Aside from continuing on with all the other odds and ends I've written about previously, we worked on two main exercises in this ride. The first was actually really reminiscent of work I did with Stephen Birchall on Isabel. And actually kinda similar to work I did with Dan too... kinda haha.
|he loves looking out those windows. izzy always did too. i think she always wanted to gallop up the hill. maybe charlie does too?|
The idea was, while trotting around with the occasional 20m circle, work on bringing the trot down to almost walk. Use my voice, use quicker prompter half halts, try to aim for everything happening a little faster, a little shorter. Almost thinking staccato about everything from Charlie's steps to my leg and rein aids. Then ride forward. And rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
This is basically heavy lifting for Charlie, it's pretty hard work. And, much like Isabel before him, he figured out the 'ride forward' part much more quickly than the 'compress and shorten' part haha, and maybe got a little rushy. That's ok, tho. I just gotta keep my own focus and help him out as much as possible, while avoiding letting any of my aids get long and heavy (esp rein aids).
|tired pony has tired legs!!!|
The circle figures look a little bit like a snowman - a smaller circle stacked on top of a larger circle. And the idea with putting the canter depart right on top of the second change of bend is that the circle exercises encourage Charlie to lift his shoulders. Which, incidentally, his shoulders seem to be what blocks his canter departs. They're so damn heavy and earthbound, he can't get them up and out of the way very easily.
It took me a little while to get the timing right - I was delaying my canter aid a bit too long as I wanted to finish asking for a change of bend first.... but that wasn't quite right, I needed to be quicker about changing back to the original circle and right away, BAM, canter. When I got it right tho, Charlie stepped up beautifully into both leads. Good pony! We'll need a little practice but trainer C thinks we should repeat this exercise often.
|charlie is nothing if he is not handsome #callmebiasedifyouwant|
He was great tho. Minimal snark about the canter depart - especially when I got my timing right. And I'm kinda excited by the prospect of moving on to the next step in our trot work. We've got the "forward" so now we get to play with it and make it do tricks. Compressing his frame is going to be really hard for Charlie, but hopefully really good for him too.