Monday, 21 September 2015
[Lesson] Cathy Lammie; 21st September
After having a few issues with Pea lately, I decided to book a lesson with Cathy to get her opinion on what to do with him. We walked round and he felt rather reluctant with me really having to work just to get him to walk forward as he felt as though he was practically dragging his feet! As soon as I asked for trot, he planted his feet and threw such a hissy fit! He started cow-kicking, reversing, stomping and was really having none of it when I tried to get him to move forward. After a few sharp taps with the whip and lots of leg he finally moved forwards and into trot.
We trotted round a bit before coming back to walk where Cathy suggested that we again do pole work as it seems that that is what he needs. She mentioned that he is a bit stiff and potentially slightly arthritic and thus uses it as a means to try and escape work, where actually, if he loosens up a bit it won't be as hard.
She first set out three poles spaced a short distance apart and we just trotted over them a few times before moving onto standard trotting poles closer together. The first few times, he kind of hopped over them before trotting properly and lifting his back legs. Cathy mentioned that he was hopping as a means of avoiding picking his back legs up properly as the first time he went over them he wasn't too bad but realised that it kind of hurt a little bit. I unconsciously tensed before the poles which caused him to lose a bit of confidence and thus tense himself. We then came round again and I focused on keeping my contact light but ensuring that I kept my leg on to encourage him to step up and under. In the end, he did them perfectly!
Cathy explained that whilst I need to hold a consistent rein contact, I end up holding a bit too tight meaning that Pea can't lengthen his neck and come into a softer contact. Once I loosened my reins and held them steady but not too tight (similar to holding hands with someone), he went a lot better and began to give a better trot.
We finished the lesson by working on some flexion as well as asking for him to come into the contact better. By the end of the lesson he literally felt like a different horse! I'm so glad that I booked the lesson and went through with it (it's hammered it down all day but luckily stopped just as I got on & I've been ill) as it's given me the confidence to really push on with him and hopefully get him out to lots of winter dressage. Cathy has suggested trying some bute an hour or two before riding him to see if it makes any difference so we'll see how tomorrow goes!
Thanks for reading,