Budding trees, wild flowers and warm weather proves that spring is finally here. Pairing the warm weather and riding makes for absolute bliss.
The past month Larry and I have been working on the control of his body and the ability to break it apart. Having the ability to move shoulders, ribs and hips will dramatically improve a horses performance in any discipline. Whether I'm working cows, riding circles, working the rail or even doing ranch work I find myself breaking down and using my horses body. Not only does it improve the horses performance but makes for a safer ride. I have found myself in sticky situations that my horse had to rely solely on me for each step that they took in order for us both to make it out safely.
As with many horses, Larry is naturally stiff to one direction. In Larry’s case he has a harder time bending and flexing to the right. I find myself often wanting to work his left side more than his right side because its easier to find a place to praise and move on. I fight myself because I know that in the long run I am making it harder on him. To help his flexibility, I have to work him evenly both directions even though one side is harder than the other.
Most of the exercises that I do with Larry seems to be a snails' pace because I want to build him up properly and I want him to fully understand what I am asking. One of the main exercises that we work on is driving straight forward then stopping and backing straight. While doing this exercise I want Larry to drive evenly with both hind legs while moving forward with some collection, then stopping and backing while his hindquarters without resistance. Larry is nowhere near perfecting this exercise, however with consistency he will become better at it and then we can take it to the next level.
Another exercise that is very crucial for Larry is counter bending with his shoulders raised and his ribs toward the inside of the circle. While doing this exercise we start walking a 15 foot circle, I then add outside leg to push his ribs to the inside of the circle and then I help him lift his shoulder with my hand by lightly bringing his nose to the outside of the circle. While doing this he is relying on both of my legs to tell him where to go. This exercise is very important for Larry because he naturally wants to drop his shoulders. I have already seen improvement in Larry’s carriage and in his turnarounds since we began the counter bending exercise. As he gets better at this exercise we will step it up into the trot and then into the counter canter.
Because Larry is learning these buttons, he is figuring out his canter departs from the walk, lead changes, turnarounds and soon he will learn to work cows. A quick note, thanks to some good friends and some extra elbow grease we have been able to tame Larry’s mane enough for it to be manageable!
I would like to thank PCQHA for the opportunity to share Larry and I’s journey. I would also like to thank the Lazy K Ranch for such an awesome and talented colt. You can find more from Larry on FB via Laid Back Larry and on Instagram by LazyKat.