Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trackitis

I just made that word up. It means a horse who doesn't want to leave the track. I've never had this happen before, but in the last week or so Rogo has decided he doesn't want to leave the track. Now that it's finally sunk in I realize there have been signs of it for awhile - slow to pick up a circle (having to go around a second time to get it) and not wanting to cross the diagonal. I'm going to have to back track and get the steering solid again.
He had been steering quite well, but not always with the correct bend. Now his bend is very good, but he doesn't want to bend more than necessary I guess :)
Maybe he's figured out that it's more work to leave the track and do figures than it is to go large? Has anyone else experienced this? I know many horses like to stay on the rail if they're close to it, but I mean really pulling against me not to leave the rail. This is what happened today, and it made me realize it had been creeping in while I focused on training other things. I've been working lots on doing serpentines to get bend, but have neglected circles so I have my work to do. The upside is that all the serpentines have improved bend and contact but I'm learning I can't neglect one thing for another.
I had a lesson with Cheryl today and we worked on trot - going over ground poles, and canter circles. We did a little leg yield at the end and I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I need to keep the outside rein on more to signal that we're moving that way. I was just going on and off with it quite lightly, but when I took a firm steady contact it worked.
Back to the barn tomorrow - I have to get him moving easily on and off the track again!
If you haven't seen it already, here is a lovely video of Uta Graf riding Damon Jerome, on Mel's blog Devoted to Dressage. Her riding is BEAUTIFUL!

8 comments:

Story said...

My horse doesn't want to get on the track. If she had her way we'd always be about 10 feet off the rail (maybe more). The rail has scary things!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've never experienced a horse not wanting to leave the track but I'm sure you'll work on it and figure it out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

TeresaA said...

I think what can happen is that both horse and rider learn to depend on the outside rail to keep straight. Once you leave the track it seems harder. My riding coach always gets after me if she thinks I'm using the rail too much. She recommends moving even 1 metre in. That ensures that your aids are keeping the horse straight and not the wall. :)

Carol said...

Thanks for the great feedback. Theresa I think I'll try your approach. I've got to stay off the rail!
Story, maybe we could ask our horses to adopt a bit of the others outlook :)

TBDancer said...

I agree with Theresa. You depend on the track and your aids are "thus and so." When you leave the track, your aids change and Rogo isn't as happy. I get the same instruction from my teachers--leave the track and work either on the quarter line or between the quarterline and the rail. It's hard, but do-able ;o)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Sometimes leaving the rail can tell you about your outside rein contact... Also - you've been adjusting / focusing on the weight in your stirrups lately - I've found changing one element can often affect other elements until you fully incorporate the change.

Happy holidays to you and your family Carol - and best wishes for the New Year. I'm so glad we found each other's blogs, and look forward to following your progress!

juliette said...

Carol,

The horses I have been riding down here in Florida do this too - they like the track better than the inside figure eights and small circles. I know why it is happening here. The ring here is very large and DEEP with sand. All the riders here think it is a wonderful ring. They go on and on about the excellent footing. The trouble is, none of these people run themselves. I am a runner (daily) and I run on the beach. I can tell you from experience that running close to the water is so much easier than running in the deep sand far from the water. Their ring here is too deep to run in. I wish I had the courage to ask them all to run in it for a few laps and see how completely exhausted they would be, not to mention how horrible their shins/calves would feel. That is probably not what is happening where you are, but it is a thought since you are at a "new to Rogo now-inside location". Try it yourself. Time yourself running (I mean on foot obviously without Rogo!) for 3 minutes on the track and then cross the diagonal and do smaller circles for the same amount of time. See if it is harder work. Rogo might be telling you something!
I am so glad I found your blog this year too!!! Thank you for your comments. I am so glad to have "met" you and your amazing Rogo. He reminds me so much of all the kind-hearted horses I have known. Happy Christmas and New Year!

allhorsestuff said...

Neat post, you're work is really good, and you will surely get itwith Rogo.

My sis does always make me ride the quarter lines, off the rail...it really tests you. Maybe, setting up cones or something of interest to circle, may give Rogo something to focus upon while circling. A thought ~
Have lovely holiday, Merry Christmas!