Monday, February 9, 2009

To Spur or Not To Spur

Click to Mix and Solve

That would be the question.

Jeanette popped me an email the other day and we've been discussing Steve Holt!'s shoulder issue. Whether he struggles to keep them up, or whether he's too lazy, and just how do I encourage him to stop drifting to the outside while I make circles?

As it stands right now, that boy has a lot of flexation going on in his neck. He can bend it straight back to my knee and lope a straight line. Yesterday we loped circles to the left, and I tried to spiral him down into something smaller but aside from his nose, not much else moved.

Okay, so that may be a slight exaggeration. He did make smaller circles, but it was a lot of hard work on my part. Left hand into the center so he'd follow it, right hand crossing over towards my shoulder for a brace to help; left leg away from his side so he had somewhere to go and right leg making every attempt it could to encourage his body to move willingly to the inside. But what my right leg met with was the ribcage of resistance.

So I'm thinking perhaps it's time for some spurs to help nudge him along and help him better understand what I'm asking for. We'll see.


Shirley said...

Do you have control of his hip? Can you move your leg back(standing still) and he moves his hip over for you? I know that sounds odd when you are trying to control the shoulder, but if you don't have a soft feel in all the body parts at a standstill, you won't get them when he's moving. I had a problem with one of my mares with dropping her shoulder and we fixed it by doing rollbacks about 10 ft. from the rail- which got her using her hind end properly, which in turn balanced her at the lope so that she was able to hold her front end up and use it correctly. And yes, you may need spurs.

Tracey said...

Shirley, I think we're struggling wit the hip. I told Jeanette last night that after doing some roll backs that he seemed to be a bit more in tune to what I was after. I'm thinking that rather than start out with circle work, I'll do a little warm up then some rollbacks, and then move on to loping circles to see how it goes. Not sure why I didn't do that to begin with...guess I was just too focused on the specific issue?

froglander said...

I know you mentioned crossing your outside rein over to try and offer some support, but might that almost leave somewhere for his shoulder to bulge out? I remember riding a friend's young horse and it took a lot of work to keep him balanced at the lope, especially on a circle, and the piece that seemed to really help was to keep a solid outside rein and be careful to not cross it over his neck. At that stage of his training, if you weren't literally helping to hold him together his lope was awful! I got to ride him a couple months ago (and it had been a couple years since I last rode him) and he was so much fun to ride now :)

Jeanette said...

*giggling* How much more can you accomplish while you are cantering??? I think Steve Holt! has a game going on ;)
I've started teaching them with cues from a stand still they kinda link the single cue with the expectation. It works too!
I really think you're on the right track!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

I think you are on the right track also Tracey and a little touch w/a spur doesn't hurt either.