Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the question of balance...

I was giving a lesson to a student the other day and we happened upon the topic of balance as it pertains to the horse rather than the rider. I must mention at this time that my student is a very balanced rider, yet her horse is lacking the balance that she needs to do well in the performance aspect of her training.

The question that she asked was simple enough, how do we get the horse to be more balanced?

The student that I am referring to does show hunters and jumpers,( I know, JR, you are a cow horse trainer), but the basics are the same.

The answer is really a two part answer.........

1) Balance is achieved fairly early in training, and that training starts as soon as we start to ask the horse to turn on his hind end and turn on the forehand. Remember when we ask the horse to turn on the hind end, or pivot, or ask the horse to turn on the fore hand, the horse is not balanced. We are only asking the horse to move one end of his body. Balance comes when we ask the horse to move laterally, such as side passing or two tracking. At that point in the horses training, both ends are moving in sync. That is when we end up with a balanced horse that can use his hind end and front end equally.

It is important that we do not allow the horse to be heavy on the fore hand, which will occur if we spend to much time turning the horse on the fore hand. The same goes for the hind end, we do not want the horse to become too light in the front end, because we are turning the horse on the hind end too much. Remember.....balance!

2) Balance is also visual as well as physical. While we do not want the horse to side pass or move laterally down the rail, we do want there to be some roundness in his movement. If we allow the horse to just move straight down the rail with out the use of our legs, especially our inside leg, then the horse will just start to become heavy on his front end and 'strung out' behind. However, when we apply light leg pressure with the inside leg and light contact with the inside rein the horse will become rounded giving us a more balanced appearance.

Another visual clue as to whether the horse is truly balanced is, if one end of the horse is more developed than the other. If the front end of the horse is more developed that the hind end, then the horse is heavy on the fore hand etc.

Like I always say, a head does not necessarily mean that the horse is balanced, and if you have a horse that is more balanced physically then you will not have a horse that jigs every where you go.

On a separate note.......Phillies 1...Yankees none! The final score in yesterdays World Series game Phillies 6 Yankees 1. Yeah Phillies!

Friday, October 23, 2009

In keeping with tradition...

Since it is Friday and keeping with the old Friday blog, block party theme, and trying to keep things light and fun, how about we go with a topic that brings us each a bit of pride.

Let's talk about those moments where it all comes together and the light goes on. You and your horse NAIL it. You have been working on something, lead changes, canter departs, transitions, picking up the correct diagonal as you start into a trot, stops, spins, jumps... whatever. You try again and again to get it right. Then one day it happens. It all just clicks. Everything falls into place and taadaa! It is perfect. You and your horse are one and nothing seems to take any effort for it to just happen.

Or you are looking for a horse. A horse you can show, breed, give lessons on or just provide a happy home for. The horse may be for a client, friend, spouse or relative. You search high and low for a specific breed, color, height, build, performance record, level of training... and then you spot one. A picture you may have normally otherwise passed up, but there it is. Sometimes a horse that matches NONE of your criteria, but it just jumps out at you and you just KNOW they are going to be in your barn.

We have all been there. We have all had at least one moment like that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So it's true....

Yep it's me....

I am back if you dare to care! ;)

And yes the forum will continue as usual, though I have had to take some much needed time off from blogging, clogging and logging as well as every other ogging that there is.

Tonight however, I just have to ask only one question.......are there any Yankees fans out there?

Sunday we can post a training blog....