Fifth Day in Florida


This morning started off with the same routine, but with the addition of a new horse to the mix. After turning out all of the ponies and getting Woo ready for his lesson I went out to warm him up. We kept his lesson shorter today after working hard for the past few days and just worked on having the transitions come back and going forward much quicker from the beginning. But most of the lesson was geared toward working the pirouettes. Lendon told me to stop babying him and riding the pirouette on a circle and to instead ride the pirouette from a straight line to greater challenge him. She wanted me instead to ride the pirouette on a star shape in the middle of the arena (which meant to ask for more small steps than in a quarter pirouette but less than a half pirouette). She told me, “I want you to push him to the point where he struggles, but to never let him fail.” Lendon challenged me to start the pirouette with small and tight steps and to then let him go out a bit as he went (because it is easier to let the horse out when they come back too much, but it is much more difficult to compress the horse once they start big). 15698312_1285285138158299_5666523058072667077_n

After taking care of Woo and the other horses after my ride, I headed over to Oded Shimoni’s barn to watch him ride and teach during the afternoon. When we arrived we got to see Robert Dover riding one of his client’s horses and working on the piaffe-passage transition. It was fascinating to watch him work with the mare as he keeps his position no matter what the horse is doing. He also stays in a very open position asking the horse to step underneath and sit while lifting up the shoulders. Oded came out to help Robert in hand and watching the pair of them work was one of the coolest things. Oded had the mare going with a bamboo stick so that she starts to use her reach and meets the bamboo rather than sucking back in the passage, and Robert was asking her to come under and up. After a few minutes, the two of them had the horse piaffing and passaging more on Robert’s aids and honest work over the back and to the connection. Next we watched Robert teach a lesson to a very nice lady and watched them keep a short lesson working mostly on changes; so that when the rider asked the horse to change he did rather than on his own aids. Robert approached some of the exercises by first asking the horse to be more active in his hind legs through some small half steps. Next they worked on collecting the canter with more bend in the hind legs and staying with the rider (not taking over). After that it was time to try the changes and they only worked on the fours since for both the rider and the horse those were a challenge. It was amazing to see how each line Robert fixed little things like the straightness or collection on the line.

Oded rode two horses after Robert’s lesson and both of the mares were beautiful. Watching Oded ride he makes everything look so easy and you almost can not see him making any movement while he rides. Both of the horses he rode he worked on bend and suppleness and each time he changed directions the transition was so smooth. He adds a little bit of haunches in right before changing the bend to accentuate the suppleness in the horse and have them bend through the body. Also on the straight lines he worked on suppleness in their necks by asking little questions to make sure the horse was soft. He would ask a little left bend, then straighten when they gave; then check a little right bend, and straighten again when they gave. It was amazing to watch him work with the horses and I found it funny that each time Oded got off he would just step down since he is so tall. Lol.15726734_1285369001483246_614234719313009636_n

After Oded’s we went back to Hampton Green to let Woo go outside and play. I laid down in the field with him and was taking a nap when Woo snuck up and stuck his head over the fence and was snorting. He woke me up and so I went out and started messing with him (stretching his legs, letting him follow me around, and rubbing on him). We stayed until it was dinner time and we tucked all the ponies in

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