Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walk Improvement - Lesson With Arthur Kottas

Lesson With Don Halladay, Five Star Parelli Professional

Bella Is A Star

Today I put the saddle on our two year old Bella for the first time, tightened up the girth and led her out of the stall (no intention of backing her - just playing around). She was completely nonchalant even though she's never had anything on her except a blanket when she was a weanling. Then didn't the stirrup leather catch on the latch coming out of the stall! (stirrups were run up but it caught anyway). This stopped her in her tracks and pulled the saddle off of her back and down around her side, so it was hanging on her sideways. She just stood there and let me unfasten it, put it back on, and then lead her calmly around the ring. I'm LOVING this girl! I really haven't spent any time with her but I think it's going to be fun.
I should also mention I had her tied up to a ring on the wall while saddling her, and I'm pretty sure I've never even tied her before. She acted like she'd been doing this for years - no reaction at all. Am I getting lulled into a false sense of security and in for a big blow up?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Arthur Kottas Clinic Four, Day Four

I rode Rogo twice on day four too, instead of doing in-hand in the afternoon. The main focus of the day four lessons was canter half pass. The morning lesson was only 20 minutes because Rogo responded so well and we didn't want to over tire him.
We did half pass off the rail to the centre line and Rogo did the right lead quite well. This was the first time we did it off the rail (and second time doing canter half pass). Tuesday we did it from the 3/4 line to the centre line.
The left lead wasn't as good when starting from the rail. He moved over well, but didn't keep his bend to the left - his body became too straight. To fix this we started the half pass from a small circle. He still didn't hold the bend as well as he did to the right. Arthur suggests we circle again mid half pass, before he looses his bend, then continue in half pass.
His left is his stiff side so loosing the bend doesn't surprise me. He does better at this point starting from the 1/4 or 3/4 line when on the left lead, than starting from the rail. Arthur wants us to do shoulder in and haunches in at canter to help fix this, especially on the left lead, but on the right too.
I am supposed to collect his canter once he hits the centre line and straightens, but I wasn't very successful at that. It's part of our homework. I think I'm giving my outside leg aid too strongly in moving him over, and he gets quite forward.
Once we have this perfected and I can collect him on the centre line after the half pass, I should ask for a flying change and go onto a ten metre circle on the opposite lead, then continue down the centre line. This exercise is designed to introduce and school flying changes. If the horse and rider remain balanced and calm it can be repeated in the opposite direction, or do a large circle at the end before repeating,

Arthur always gives home work for his next visit. In addition to the above exercise mine is to:

  • Practice shoulder in to haunches in and back at canter. I should just ask for a slight haunches in (I tend to ask for too much).
  • Practice half walk pirouettes.
  • Improve the forward energy at the walk - we're habitually too slow at the walk. 
It was a great four days. I learned a lot and Arthur told us we'd progressed in our training and fitness, so that's motivating. He returns in November so we'll be working hard to get ready.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Arthur Kottas Clinic #4, Day Three

It was another great day at the clinic. I'm completely energized by the teaching - watching other lessons and having my own.
Our under saddle lesson in the morning addressed:
- Walk and trot shoulder in
- Walk shoulder in to haunches in and repeat, continuing around the short side
- Trot shoulder in to haunches in
- Walk and trot half pass from the rail to the centre line and one walk half pass from the rail across the whole arena
- Rein back, trot, halt, repeat
- Walk and trot down the long side doing a ten metre circle, eight metre circle and six or seven metre circle
The main purpose of the exercises was to get Rogo carrying more wait behind. We also practised collecting from my seat and outside rein half halts to prepare for transitions. This is also to take weight back.
For our in hand lesson Arthur taught me to do shoulder in on the long side, half circle, leg yield to the rail. We also did halt and Arthur showed me how to touch Rogo on the bottom outside of his leg to square him up. Then we'd do rein back.
The lead line was on the centre ring of the cavesson. To half halt give a quick, light tug - upwards if he's too low, downwards if he's too high.
Tomorrow is the final day of the clinic. It has me on a total high.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Arthur Kottas Clinic

Today is the second day of the clinic. I've been riding twice a day for thirty minutes each, instead of one longer lesson. Tomorrow and Thursday I'll do a riding lesson in the morning and an in-hand lesson in the afternoon.
Today we did canter half passes, a first for both of us. They went quite well for a first attempt. We'd canter up the 3/4 line and then half pass to the centre line before going straight down the centre line, going directly onto a 20 metre circle, and then coming off the circle onto the 1/4 line and repeating.
Rogo was a star. He tried so hard, didn't get excited, focused and did exactly what was asked of him even though he had never done it before. I loved this exercise. Rogo and I really clicked with it. He was completely on the aids and responding to every ask.
The was I think our best exercise. He's also doing a pretty fair rein back, which he's only been doing since May.
Our worst movement was half walk pirouette. We keep stopping and doing a stationary turn on the haunches instead of a walk pirouette, but I think I'll get the feel of how to get it soon.