My goal with Carbo right now is to do most of the work at the walk with a little bit of trot to mix it up. I got on yesterday and did some bending exercises and got him moving off my legs a bit to either direction. Did a little bit of lateral work – some leg yielding from the quarter line to the wall. Because this was only my second ride with the new plan I didn’t ask for much, I kept my reins fairly long (mostly for my benefit, so I didn’t get to grabby at his face) and just asked for a little bit of cross over.
After about 15-20 minutes of this I bumped him up into the trot – still on a long rein and just asked him to go forward and use his hind end. He immediately went full on giraffe – head up as high as it could go, back completely inverted, it was ugly. But I gently applied my legs and asked him to move forward and he remained a giraffe. It took a few times around the arena , some circles, some figure-8’s, and him going up to the canter to try to escape a few times, but eventually he brought his head down and looked for the contact. I was getting so frustrated that by the time I had him go around once to each direction un-inverted (I really wasn’t asking for anything other than forward!) that I gently brought him back to the walk and called it day.
Previously, when Carbo had gone from trot to canter to escape I had let him and just pushed him forward in the canter. It seems to be easier for him to work at the canter than at the trot – which led me to the decision yesterday that I shouldn’t do that anymore. By nature Carbo is a rather lazy horse so when he goes forward I never want to snatch at his face and haul him back to what we were doing, but rather than keep him in the canter for a time or two around the arena, I’ve decided to let him go a few strides and bring him back to the trot using my currently non-existent core muscles rather than any hands. This is a bit of a challenge, but I guess it’s only fair since Carbo doesn’t have the muscles to properly work at the trot yet and I’m making him do that!
So, he’s had 2 days of consistent work, getting today off – although I might still run down to the barn and lunge him a bit and let him stretch his legs. Tomorrow I’m back on and working! at the walk… 😀