Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More rides in the hackamore!

Well I've had four rides in the hackamore this week - yay!

My first two rides were in the arena - the first one doing walk work only. The second ride I set up some cavaletti and after doing a bit of ground work over the cavaletti (trot circles), I used them in my walk warm up. You'll see in the photos below how the cavaletti were set up, and I did a "cloverleaf" pattern over them.

I think the bosal fits Mac's nose better since using the shaping block, but I didn't get as good a tie-back of the hanger as I should have in this ride.

I did video myself on the second ride where I trotted in some circles, but it is too choppy (as I spent half the time out of the view of the camera) to show you, so you'll have to settle for some pictures, instead. Here we are just walking.

And trotting.

I got some advice about working in the hackamore. One piece of advice is to let him get used to the equipment before asking for too much, which is kind of like "duh" but it was a helpful reminder, since the action of this is different from working in the snaffle. I was told that the horse needs to learn to find the balance of the bosal and to find a "neutral" position where he'll carry it naturally, then when I signal him, picking up a rein will actually mean something.

Here's Mac at the halt (you can see the cavaletti set up in the background - we used these in our warm up - there are lots of fun exercises you can do).

The other good advice I got was to take him on a trail ride in the hackamore so we can just walk along on a loose rein (that neutral position) and he can get used to it and we won't have to turn all the time like we would in an arena. I will admit I was nervous because I don't really feel like I have a lot of control with it because I'm not really educated on how to use it. But then I reminded myself that I've ridden him bitless on the trails plenty of times and many times I'll just loop the reins over the horn and not use them at all - plus, he's better on the trails than he is in an arena.

So we went on a trail ride yesterday. We mostly walked but did a little trot and canter and some leg yields and bending - it was a lovely ride! Because he was great yesterday, it gave me confidence to go again today. I worked on focusing on that "neutral" position and then noticing when I needed to use an aid and then trying to use my legs first before hand. If you didn't know anything about riding and you saw me you'd think I was just chillin' out on a trail ride, but there was a lot of thinking going on!

Here's another cute picture - this is after we were done at home the other day.

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