A lot of our lesson on Friday was focused on developing a better level of self carriage. Raglan’s at the point in his training where my entire style of riding needs to change so that he can continue learning. I’ve spent the past six months or so holding him up and showing him how to use his body, now it’s time to stop helping him and let him learn to do it on his own. It’s hard to turn off all of those instincts!
Like a lot of horses, Raglan is really good at locking himself into the right position—fake it until you make it, right? But at some point faking it isn’t good enough anymore. We spent a lot of time flexing him off of my inside rein until he started to unlock through his throat latch, waiting for him to maintain his strength while also allowing me to adjust and have access to his body.
At this stage, Raglan wants me to pull on him. When things get hard he leans on my hands or chomps madly on the bit in hopes of enticing me to go back to holding him upright. For the most part I just have to put more leg on and ignore the temptation to pull on his face, which is easier said than done.
When we got to the canter I had TrainerM get on to feel out his right lead (my weak point). When she was done I did get back on and finish off my lesson with some canter work, but we didn’t do a lot. The right lead has always been my “stickier” side, but lately it’s felt super uncomfortable, like my body physically can’t switch to that direction. TrainerM showed me a couple of stretches I can do to help unlock my hip. It involves a lot of flailing my legs around, much to Raglan’s mild annoyance. 😂
There were a few other things we worked on mixed in with all of that self-carriage stuff—slowing his marching walk down so that he’s four beating properly, turning his shoulders using only the reins and no leg, etc.—but for the most part it was one of those lessons that’s sort of boring but also very important.
Raglan’s got a training ride with TrainerM Friday afternoon! Finger’s crossed that maybe she’ll take him over some small jumps, but she also said that she’s not my crash dummy soooooooo we’ll see. 😅
Oh, and TrainerM confirmed that I need a new saddle. 😭