Thursday, January 11, 2024
I have to remember to stop focusing on the wrong thing. Yes, it’s cold. And yes, it’s wintertime so it’s dark and depressing. Deal with it. Well, that is what I need to remember to tell myself. So with that thought in mind, I am focusing my energy on learning.
And because I have a really good book to work with, that’s what I’m going to do.
I am taking baby bites of my book by Elaine Heney because I want to get the most out of it and commit everything I am learning to my memory. Right now I am learning about shoulder-in and shoulder-out exercises from the ground. This is fascinating to me.
My Horse is a Banana
I have the halt and backup in my brain. I also have the yielding, walking in hand, and adjusting the speed committed to memory. Or at least I hope I do. Now I feel like I am really getting into the ‘real’ dressage learning of shoulder in and shoulder out exercises. This has always escaped my brain of how to make this happen when I am in the saddle.
But the book and the accompanying diagram made this topic so simple. My horse is a banana. Having that visual in my head helps. What also really helps is the step-by-step instruction on how to do these exercises – while on the ground.
Now I know I won’t be able to do this for a while. Well, at least until the snow is gone from my arena.
I walked around in it for a bit and decided this was not safe to do while leading around a thousand-pound animal. So that will come in time in the next few weeks. But the banana image is firmly in my head, which is a good thing. And it makes sense when the horse is looked at from the top and has a bend in his body, he does look like a banana!
Instead of focusing on the shoulder in, which I have always thought to focus on first, instead, Elaine says to focus on the Shoulder Out exercise first. For teaching shoulder out, the goal is to have the horse have a slight bend with his nose tipping out toward the fence line as I am walking with him down the long side of the arena.
She explains how to do this exercise very well. But I know I will have my book with me out in the arena when I start to practice it. But I can still practice it by myself, inside my home! I mean, why not? It is helping me to solidify the exercise by practicing it by myself first and then adding in my horse.
Doing What I can
So as silly as it may be, I am walking around my living room, holding onto a lead rope in my right hand, and a wand in my left hand as I learn how to manage myself alone before adding in Jesse (the variable) I have to be careful still, because I don’t have the all clear to work with my horse yet from my surgeon. Hopefully, that day will be coming soon!
But focusing on the exercises I can do on my own:
- The halt and back up
- Yeilding the front and hind end
- Walking in hand
- Moving at different speeds
- Shoulder In and Shoulder Out
These are things I can work on and perfect before getting started with Jesse. Or even Al-Capony for that matter! I can do these things with him too. I need to remember that. Not neglecting the pony’s training either is important to me as well.