Thursday, May 8, 2008
Round-Pen Reasoning or Lack Thereof
Today I arrived early enough for my dressage lesson that I had time for a really good grooming and some ground work. I am a fan of the round pen for seeing what I have to work with on that day, for setting ourselves up for success with a calm session of join-up etc., but I encounter a problem sometimes which I'm hoping someone might be able to help me with.
Here is how we start out, with my OTTB Montana on any typical day:
Then as he gets warmed up and muscles nice and loose, the trot gets bigger and springier; all good, right??
Then we do a little join-up, horse-follow-closely this PonyGirl etc., feet pickups, and general stroking "I am your comfort zone" stuff.
Back to work but things start to get a little more interesting; he is sniffing the air and I love the way he shows his noble Arab ancestry, but I know he is thinking thoughts of how spiffy he's feeling:
And then we get this type of thing:
And while I am saying, "HUP-hoa" and trying to project calming vibes with my body language, he goes on to this:
And then we get a bit of this:
And I believe at this point he is apt to damage himself in the small circle that a roundpen presents.
There have been days when he just bucks and farts and gallops around the roundpen at a solid slant until he is too tired to move, and then we have the fake 'join-up' of a tired horse and a relieved human.
Is there a way to keep the buckey/slantey/gallop phase from ever starting up in the first place?