Revisiting Contact

Having a snack before he has to go to work. The eyeball kills me.
I think it's safe to say that Dino the Wonderpony is officially back in work! 

He has mostly capitulated to the idea that he ought to move forward when leg is applied, although yesterday he was adamant about the fact that while he was willing to go, it was going to be in his Own Special Way. 

I.e. in the style of Deranged Downhill Llama on Crack. 

So homeboy got a reintroduction to the spiral circle, and he enjoyed that exercise until he decided to balance himself to avoid falling on his face. 

In my striving to get my broke, responsive pony back, I remembered the wise words of my trainer on not giving up my connection with the bit, no matter what Dino is doing (or not doing) underneath me. I came to the realization that Dino has learned over the years that getting behind my leg will make the contact go away. I have a habit of throwing away the connection in an effort to get him to just GO, and since he's pretty smart, he uses that tactic to avoid working. I really need to be diligent and disciplined about keeping the contact no matter what! Old habits die hard, though, and it definitely takes conscious effort for me to stay in touch with the bit. 

We spent a lot of time spiraling in and out on a circle (with no stirrups! thank you, full seat breeches) and did the most canter work we've been able to do in a while. I focused on having good contact in my seatbones, which definitely helped in the canter depart and bending departments. I think we'll be ready for a lesson soon - and boy do we need it! 


  1. Dino is the smartest Deranged Downhill LLama I've ever seen :D

  2. Suzie did the Deranged Downhill Llama on Crack thing on me the other day. LOL

  3. Horses are experts in getting away with whatever they can!

  4. Horses are too freaking smart sometimes!

  5. Oh man. Pig is the KING of escaping contact by going behind the leg, if by behind the leg you mean violently up and backwards. He's so athletic like that.

    You know what actually helps me get my horse in front of my leg, even though it's super counter-intuitive? Taking my legs off slightly, making sure I'm not clamping them, and just lightly thumping them along his sides. I always get super tight and tend to clamp my legs on to get Pig forward, and that just tenses him up and actually keeps him behind my leg. So weird!

    1. Dino is more "What? What's that? I can't hear you. Nope. Do not understand the leg. Why are you kicking me?! THAT'S NOT VERY NICE. Leg = does not compute." until I get so frustrated that I just let go of his face so he goes somewhere. I am trying reeeeeally hard to just leave him alone and only bump him up when he slows down without me asking, but OMG it's so hard not to nag!

  6. i'm super guilty of throwing away the contact too. oh, and nagging. yea... i rubbed all the hair off my pony's sides.... oops. but i'm becoming friends with the dressage whip and it's helping haha.

    in any case, it's super exciting that Dino is officially back at it!! hope you're having fun getting him back in shape, even if he's trying to convince you that he forgot how to horse :)

  7. Ah yes, a red-head who is an expert at training humans...I know one of those!!! ;)


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