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Comparison Shop

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Submitted By honeybun1172
Words 826
Pages 4
Heather Vaughn
12-4-09
Intermediate II Western
Comparative Riding I must admit that I did not know what to expect out of this class at the beginning of the semester let alone out of the pole riding exercise. The day of the first ride with poles, was not pretty. Fortunately, however, we knew what to expect out of the second ride. By the end of the semester, I thought that the third ride was much better. During the first pole exercise, we had not worked with our horses nor had we learned about having body control. My partner was Lauren, and I do not believe that we ever went faster than an extended trot without dropping the pole. We did not know how to slow our horses down easily or how to speed them up. We began at a walk but had the problem with our horses drifting apart. As we progressed through the semester, we learned that we could create a bend and push the shoulders out resulting in the horse moving in the opposite direction of the bend. When Lauren and I were riding together for the first time, however, we did not know how to do this so consequently we could not keep our horses together. As we were walking around, Bubbly began to drift to the right. Knowing what I do now, I could have tipped Lacy’s nose to the left and pushed her body to the right with my left leg; following Bubby’s movement to the right. As we progressed to the trot, our problems only became worse. We could only hold the pole for a few strides. Now, not only did we drift apart more quickly, Lacy became very aggressive towards Bubby. As we rode the exercise again, the only improvement that I saw was that we knew what was expected of the exercise. We loped during the second ride but we fought the same problems as we fought during the first ride. I fought a lot of stiffness with Lacy in relation to her aggression towards Bubby. We progressed at the walk and trot during this ride and only dropped the pole a few times. We were able to keep our horses together better because we had previously worked on bending and softening our horses. Now, however, we had not learned about bending at the lope. While trotting, I was able to tip Lacy’s nose and move her body. We were also able to complete turns at the trot due to our abilities to slow and speed up our horses. As Lauren came around my right side in a left hand turn, I was able to ask Lacy to slow her job as Lauren extended Bubby’s trot to come around us. At the end of the semester, we were able to walk and trot very successfully. We were able to move our horses laterally so if we began to drift apart it was no problem to bring them back together. I noticed great improvement at the lope, as we were able to complete successfully several circles. The hardest part about this, however, was asking the horses to lop off simultaneously. As we all know that Bubby is a little on the lazy side, this proved to be the most challenging aspect of the third ride. Lacy felt much softer this time and was much more responsive to my cues to move laterally and bend. When we asked for a stop, I felt her come into the bridle and soften her body instead of inverting her head and hollowing her back as we came to a stop. I feel as though our improvements during the third ride not only had to do with the fact that Lacy was more educated, but I was as well. I learned how to soften my body when asking her to do the same. I also quit gripping with my knees as I rode and I stretched further down into my heels and opened my hips encouraging her to move forward easily. In the beginning of the year, I had a problem with becoming stiff when asking her for a maneuver. When asking for a transition, for example, I stiffened my back and closed my hip angle, giving a mixed signal to the horse. During the third ride, I really softened my body, which not only allowed her to move forward easily, but it also seemed to ease her aggression. She was still hesitant to move that closely to another horse, but she did not blatantly pin her ears, wring her tail, and threaten to kick. Overall, I noticed great improvement throughout the semester. From the first to the third ride, Lacy and I both made great improvements in our suppleness and overall body control. As I learned more about bending, I was able to convey easily the lessons to Lacy and ride at all three gaits while holding the pole with Lauren.…...

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