Thursday, July 22, 2010

Body Control

Last Sunday (yes, it has taken this long for me to write this up!), Guinness & I met up with three friends at a local arena. Instead of videoing one lady for an assessment, as we'd planned, we decided to set up a little trail obstacle course.

We took turns trying each obstacle and coaching each other. One big hint that I got helped G & me a ton with directional backing: move the shoulders to get into position and don't disengage the hindquarters. Alyssa reminded me that in backing, the weight is on the HQ and to disengage the HQ you'd have to put weight on the forehand. Instead, I should square my shoulders in the direction that I want Guinness' to go, and then lift the forehand and direct it sideways a step. Then back a step. Then redirect the shoulders. Then back. Repeat as needed. Worked like a charm!

We also played a little with helping Guinness to find and maintain a particular gait. Alyssa hopped up on him (a first) and commented "he sure is a short horse!" meaning that he has way more whoa than go - it isn't just me! She practiced a little with moving her hips certain ways to help him to figure out what she wanted and you could really see a difference in the way he moved.

I got her to explain what she was doing and here is how I understood it:

- to bring up life, "stack your vertebrae," then tense your abs & butt ("hold a quarter") and perhaps kegels too! Get tall.

- to trot, move hips like you are climbing a hill on a bike or doing a little belly dancing figure 8! Loose pelvis, but not floppy, with a fair amount of up and down motion.

- to pace, it is more of a flat, skating motion with hips.

- to back, skate backward with hips.

- to get a lead while cantering, shift my weight to my outside hip and lift inside hand.

And finally, Guinness stood on a small pedestal with all four feet - MOUNTED! :-)

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