Saturday, February 23, 2013

23rd February, 2013 Softness is a thing called Comfort

Benji went off the lead rein today and pootled off on his own (well, actually Hilary went with him). Hilary and I talked about the GENTLE one rein stop that can come in so handy if a pony can't find his halt. Instead of pulling on both reins, which can result in an into-pressure response and not being able to stop at all, gently turning the pony with your hand supported on your thigh helps him to find his stop as he walks any excess energy off and realises that he is going nowhere. This is not the same as using an emergency one rein stop which can cause the horse a lot of pain in his neck. There is nothing sharp or abrupt about it. Hilary practised this and within three goes his halt was established.

Next it was time to take Jessica out and today we were short-reining. Hilary had the chance to work with her before I made the transition of her reins from the Dually to the bit. I'd switched from the little Neue Schule bit into a Myler Low Port Comfort Snaffle (4 1/2") with which she seemed much more comfortable and now it was time to ask her to engage with the bit for the first time. This is done very gently - asking her to lower her head and relax her jaw when she feels a little pressure on the bit. Jessica reacted very well and was soon offering a little head drop every time she felt the bit. I then short-reined her home off the bit.