I recently came back from 5 days completing a working student position for the Cert 1 course at QSSC. It involved working through the Cert 1 course and checklist wth Darcy and doing some groundwork with Khmari for an hour each per day. The rest of my day was spent watching Meredith, Mel and Shane horse training and chatting with everyone about our discoveries, ponderings, thoughts, etc. The working part of my position involved caring for some of the horses in for training, cleaning the kitchen area and some other odd jobs.
Over the 5 days spent going through the impulsion groundwork and impulsion ridden diaries with Darcy we have come along in leaps and bounds. We have good consistent rein positions (pinch test style) and transitions (mainly walk and trot, canter is getting there) now, and our turns and rebounds are really coming along. On the circle our spirals and simple leads are getting more flow and impulsion and we even took it up to a canter for the simples. Darcy still needs some balancing coming into the spiral/simple lead as he is getting a bit heavy on his front end (although this was made worse by us trying to go sideways while pointing down the hill).
My paddocks are just a bit too small and with too many trees in inconvenient places to get speed up on the pattern, so I’m looking into hiring the Pomona Show Grounds near me as much as possible over the holidays. I’ll have a huge flat space so that I can practice for and hopefully film the non-contact bareback riding and simple lead changes riding assignments over the school holidays.
I was planning to film my bareback assignment a few days ago but then we had heaps of rain, so with my clay soil its not safe to canter. We have just been walking and trotting around improving our transitions, direct rein turns and Darcy’s emotional fitness with the slippery ground. I am hoping with consistent practice and work that our simples will be ready to film really soon - even if its just an attempt to get feedback.
The main components to improve are getting Darcy’s correct lead to the right 100% of the time and getting more flow and self carriage in the simples. The right lead is coming along well and I had a bit of a tah-dah the other day when I played around with my position and ask for the canter with one rein. I focused more on really exaggerating opening up forward and to the right and letting Darcy just take my offer in his own time so that he could set himself up to succeed. When I tried it, I offered when we were coming around a corner and Darcy was nice and relaxed at the trot. And as a result I got a lovely soft transition up to the right lead, with no moment of counter-flex (which would usually cause the left lead) and it just felt so much smoother and nicer than usual. I will definitely be applying this more so that Darcy can find release in the right lead and then I’ll work on refining it. I haven’t been able to do any homework for the simples since I’ve gotten back, but hopefully we can get to it soon.