Out for a hack.
Recently the Other Half bought me Doug Payne's book, The Riding Horse Repair Manual. Doug Payne is one of my favorite riders and I think everyone needs to listen to him when he talks about giving horses a chance. I love his whole philosophy, not to mention in person he is a super nice guy that gave me a free xc course walk with him at an event. Anything he writes, I want to read. Plus maybe I could get a few ideas to try with Mochi, she is definitely a horse that would fall into the riding horse repair category. I was happy to find a section on drifters, or horses that drift over fences, *ahem* Klein mare. She has always drifted to the left, yet she is super handy and maneuverable through bending lines, in and outs, and jumping on an angle.
I have tried many things including riding with my crop in my left hand, and applying leg because that's really what is going to shove her over where I need her, not pulling the reins. It's weird, it's just always a habit she's had (that I am sure I let her get away with). She doesn't try to run out, she just drifts a little. I'm not consistent enough and I am concentrating on other things as we are jumping around. I think her drifting isn't as high of a priority as it should be as I'm riding to a fence. Why not fix it? Doug Payne's book had a couple simple suggestions, one of which being this set up below:
A 3'3" vertical with a 'chute' of sorts.
This exercise worked like a charm. He suggests you start with a long approach and leave on a long approach, giving the horse a fair amount of strides to take off straight and remain straight upon landing. This exercise definitely got Klein's attention, it was kind of funny. I could feel her start to scoot to the left and then realize "oh...wtf...I can't?!" Her over reaction was helpful to me. It kind of highlighted the problem and made it more obvious when she started to drift and I was able to really put my leg on because there is really no option but a straight approach, unless your horse has zero respect for the ground rail and steps beyond it, thankfully Klein doesn't act like that. Her over reaction helped me remember to "make a hallway" with my legs so she had no option but to travel straight. We got a couple odd approaches but then she started to realize what was going on. Jump - 1, Klein - 0. It also helped provide the consistent reminder I needed to ensure I was correcting her to the degree she needed. This exercise will definitely help us rebuild our approach to fences.
I also set up a low, wide oxer that we could get either an uphill or downhill approach to.
That thing was awesome. I wanted her to crack her back and stretch out. I could feel us getting a little more air time over it. That day I wanted to jump school her and then gallop her because she was in beast mode from the minute we started. The jump school would be a great warm up for a hard gallop later.
Heading out for our gallop/hack. Relaxed and happy after her jump school.
We had a fun hack with some long gallops to satisfy beast mode.
On the dressage front, we worked on a lot of lateral work. We also worked on balance and togetherness in our sit trot, which has immensely approved over the past couple weeks. I'm pretty much beyond thrilled with the improvement there. We also worked on 10 and 20 meter circles at the walk and trot concentrating on making sure Klein's shoulders were traveling where they should be traveling, on the bend, not out in the pasture. We rode spirals and leg yields and also worked on our balance in our trot to walk transitions.
In other news, the Other Half had shoulder surgery last week but still managed to save the day when the senior citizens thought it would be a good idea to go for an adventure down the road. Even with a sling, he had them back on the property in less than 10 mins.