Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Follow The Nose

Last night was my lesson on Licorice.  This is only the second lesson I've had on him since I bought him so I was excited to work on some things.  L asked me how things were going and I told her about how his hind end still feels like it's falling behind me and slipping.

She had me dismount and brought over some rubber tubing.  She held one side and I held the other like reins.  We worked on how to ask for a turn using the inside rein.  I have tendency to open the rein and move my hand out, so I got the practice just moving my elbow and then just my wrist and then closing my hands.

Then it was back up on Licorice to practice what I learned.  To get him started, we simply worked on bending his nose to the right and doing nothing else but asking him to go forward.  The idea is to get him following his nose, a pretty basic premise when horses first start out, but one that L said a lot of them lose as we get busy with our legs and our outside reins.  So, we just turned his nose slightly, wanting him to follow it.  It was harder than I thought and took Licorice and I a good fifteen minutes of walking to figure it out.  As soon as he followed his nose, he got lots of praise.

We then moved to trot where he got pretty bracy.  My goal was to post quietly and keep gently asking with the inside rein.  In the beginning, we didn't use any outside rein but as Licorice got the idea, I closed my fingers around the outside rein.  It was hard for Licorice because when he gets frustrated he likes to go lateral with his head up.  We had some good work in the trot, though (as usual) I could use more forward.

Then we tried some canter.  Our transitions are pretty terrible still, but I worked hard on waiting until I had the good trot before asking.  If he fell completely apart, I went back to working my trot until he relaxed.  Once we were in the canter, we actually had a few good strides.  Spending the time working at the walk really paid off.

After our last canter, we finally had the trot we're looking for.  He was reaching with his head and neck and his back was up and his hind legs were going forward instead of just up and down.  It was so forward that there was a breeze on my face.  It was forward enough that had I asked for canter, it would have been instant.  It felt incredible.  I'm still on top of the world with this horse.

I really need to take some better pictures of my man.  Cell phone pictures in the cross ties when he's standing on and off the mat are just not particularly flattering. 


  1. This. Is. Awesome. I'm so happy you found a great partner!

  2. So glad you're having a ton of fun with him! That's what it's all about.

  3. AND I just realized that you lived SO CLOSE to me when I lived in Seattle. I didn't realize you were in Woodinville. Stupid Alaska. That barn looks familiar. Now I'm trying to figure it out. I just can't get over how cute he is! I have my fingers crossed that Tessa's home works out. It is really hard when you and your horse are not a good match. Sucks. I've been there. Just because you love them doesn't mean a thing. (Heck, I wrote a whole blog about it.)

  4. I'm glad things are going so well. You deserve it!