Saturday, March 10, 2012

canter, back up, and bend

Shyloh had her third ride with Beth today! I am so happy to report that she shows improvement and less skittish behavior every ride! Beth is such a great teacher and rider, I really cannot say enough positive things about the stuff she is doing with Shy. Beth also explains everything as she does it and gives the reasoning behind why she is doing what she does. So helpful for me! And, I've said it before, but Beth is just so gentle with Shy. And Beth gives Shy tons of praise for good work. I am glad Shy is such a willing and responsive student!

Today, Beth did some bending and canter work. Shy's transitions are getting better. Beth said that when she asks Shy to canter, she is putting her leg further back than normal and verbalizing "canter",  just because when Shy does canter, she gets into a funky mindset. After the first canter, she is thinking "go fast" and just anticipating Beth to ask her again. So, Beth worked on calming her after the canter, even though I said I won't be cantering for quite some time. Amazing!
Shy's canter is unbalanced, as she is not used to carrying a rider while she canters. Beth worked on having her canter for longer and not go back into the super fast trot. Shy is such a smart girl, she will have this in no time! Plus, this work will build her muscles and balance (hopefully removing cresty neck and overall pudginess). 

Another thing Beth noticed was that Shy is hard on the right rein. This may be due to a tooth issue. Shy was floated and had her wolf teeth removed in July, right after I bought her, but before she came to me. I have the equine dentist coming out soon, hopefully this week or the next. I have a list going at the barn with all the boarders who want a float, so I plan on calling back early next week to set a date. If her teeth are not the problem, then it could be that Shy is really stiff on her right side. Beth showed me some bending exercises I could work on from the ground and how those exercises translate to the saddle. Awesome!
Shyloh's go-to speed is a steady jog. Beth said once she asks for the trot, she doesn't have to keep asking for it, Shy just keeps it up all on her own. It is a very comfortable pace for her. It looks so smooth, I can't wait to do it. . .soon. Soon. . . Shy could probably hold that trot until next Tuesday, she is like the Energizer Bunny in that trot. It is very cute. 

They also worked on a little backing up, which appears to be new-ish to Shy, as this was the only time she was skittish. The first time Beth asked her and Shy did backed up, Beth went to pat her a "good job" and Shy flinched a little. But then she was fine. Shy wants so bad to do what is asked of her the right way, she works herself up to be so tense. But, with more successful rides on her, my hope is that she will realize that no one is going to hurt her if she does not understand the cues. As long as she keeps trying and does bolt or toss me off, we will be good!
I had been borrowing Kathy beautiful bridle (I love this bridle on Shy!), and using the bit that came on the bridle. Shy was doing well with that, but Beth wants to try another bit for the next ride. Beth tried a few different ways of riding today, on a very loose rein and on a rein with more contact. Her consensus was that Shy responds better with more contact, but may be confused from the curb chain on the bit and the different pressure points. So we are going to try my rolly D-ring. 

To make this day even better, the weather was amazing! After Shy's terrific ride, I took her outside with Kathy and Casi to munch on some grass. The sun was out, the weather is getting warmer, and it was just beautiful. 


  1. Shy is really struggling to figure out canter especially on the right rein! Beth is a lovely rider & it looks like she's doing a great job with her. The more work she does the more she should loosen out on the right, but you're absolutely right to get her teeth checked out again.

  2. Camryn here:
    Shy you looks grrrrr-eat. I've never cantered under saddle, Mom says she'll let Beth teach me too!

    1. Beth is a really good teacher! Come on up, we have an open stall right now that is aching for another beautiful Haffie!

  3. Shyloh is so freaking adorable. The lady who owns all the minis and property where Pippi is wants one so bad but needs to get a bigger stall first. I tell her about you and Shy all the time.

  4. So funny. I swear Shy and Kaspin are the same. And yes, when Kaspin gets into his nice trot it is really comfortable and Kaspin can do it all day long also. I rode Kaspin today in the awesome weather and he too was great! Congrats on Shy today she really is aiming to please. Kaspin loves to please as well:)

  5. Looks to me like Shy's getting it with backing, and I think that Beth's doing it the right way. The thing that a lot of people don't remember about backing is that it's a forward movement. Which sounds really confusing, I know. ;)

    But the way Chris Irwin explains it, you set your hands for a block -- not pull -- and ask the horse to move forward so they shift their weight forward to take a step. But since you have a block set up, there's no exit for them, but to go back. Looks to me like that's happening, so top notch!

    She looks like she's coming together. It takes time. I know Mitch has improved vastly from the horse he was when I bought him, but he's got a long way to go too. Keep at it, and I'm sure Shy'll turn out really nice for ya.

  6. Awesome!! She's improving so much already. I'm glad your friend is helping you out with her. It won't be long before it's you up there!


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