Coming down from Cloud 9

Our cross country outing at the Fork was definitely a breath of fresh air and made me feel like doing the happy dance, but now it’s back to business, and the name of the game is dressage.

Cat humor + Dressage Meme... you're welcome.

Cat humor + Dressage Meme… you’re welcome.

Foster got a well deserved couple days off and last night was our first semi-real ride this week. After a discussion with a trainer about his canter transitions, we decided it would be worth trying draw reins to help him understand that he can stay round and engage his hind end to transition rather than rely on his overly developed under-neck.

Under Neck Problems

Under Neck Problems

So last night I tried my hand at them. As one who tends to believe that ‘gadgets’ are to be avoided less they become crutches to true training, I have never used draw reins before and it took me several minutes to figure out how to hold them. Needless to say, I now sport a fresh blister on each hand (gloves next time, duh!) but I do see how they will help get the epiphany I am looking for. Foster had two successful transitions where he used his bum, and the groans he emitted definitely reinforced that he is not used to using those muscles! We kept things pretty short so both of us would not be mentally or physically exhausted, but I see a path forward and that makes me hopeful.

Tonight we will have another go at it, and Sunday we have a lesson in front of mirrors! Today the high is 66, and on Sunday the high is 38 (that’s the high, we will be riding at 10AM, so I’m guessing it will be 32 or so). Needless to say, if I can stay on it should be interesting! That’s North Carolina weather for you though!

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6 thoughts on “Coming down from Cloud 9

  1. My trainer recently toldme to do some draw rein work too. I need to get a new pair. I used a lot of gadgets to “train” Elvis (poorly) and I am afraid of them now.

    • I understand your concern completely- I definitely don’t want to rely on them to get the correct response, I just want to teach him that he is able to use his body correctly and then take it from there.

      The pair I used last night were a wide leather type, and I had a little trouble holding them- I’ve googled other types and seen a rope-type set. Do you have advise on what is easiest to hold?

  2. I am a newly won over draw rein user too! They really help my mare figure out how to use her back and hind end at the canter where she wants to be all sprawled out. Good luck with them! I hope they continue to help!

  3. I agree that you don’t want gadgets to take over but using them in the right way (and with an experienced rider) can really help! Ideally it’s a training tool and not an every ride for the rest of your life tool 😉

    Glad they worked out well for ya! And BURRRRR 33 as a high!?!?

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