We’ve started lateral work!

Well, we started a little while ago with some groundwork. She’s moved her backend away on cue for ages and about a month ago I started moving the front end too.  In true Abbey-style at first she got cross not understanding what I wanted and then it clicked.

Mixing up Parelli, Natural Horsemanship and classic dressage training she’s quickly got the hang of turns on the forehand, moving parallel to a fence and last week we started ‘proper’ leg yield.

We started on a small circle (about 12m), moving out to a bigger (20m) circle going through 180 degrees as we went.  As Abbey got the hang of this, we moved onto the 3/4 line to the track and finally from center line to the 3/4 line, using canter and walk transitions as a break.

“Push the bum and the rest will come” was the mantra and I’ve strict instructions to stop leg-yield and go straight if she wobbles.  Over time we will increase the number of steps we’re leg-yielding, but for now, it’s more important for the movement to be correct.

At the moment I can only ride in the school so it’s great for Abbey and I to have another couple of exercises into the mix.

In an attempt to keep boredom at bay and despite the rain, on Thursday evening I popped a couple of jumps. I set up a double across the diagonal and a ‘skinny’ on a long side.

Given it’s been over a month since she last saw a jump I was very impressed with how she handled my rubbish course-building!  The two parts of the double were on different angles (which I didn’t notice when I was putting them up) so the first jump through had a slightly hairy moment. Abbey thought that she I meant for her to jump the first part only and I don’t blame her given the line we were on and the uninviting angle of the second part.

But bless her! I opened the left rein, put on my right leg, she popped in half a stride and over we went….she’s so honest!

The skinny barrel on the other hand was clearly a horse-eating monster!  She started spooking at it before we’d got into the menage and she’d been keeping her eye on it while we were warming up and jumping the double. I was prepped for her to put the brakes on on our first approach but should have been so much quicker!

Second time round she jumped it….gave it some considerable air but jumped it nonetheless.

Today the snow arrived, it was only a flurry but it brought some relief from the wet and windy weather we’ve had for the last 3 months.  The gateway to Abbey’s field now resembles a swamp and I’ve considered getting a hippo for my next project on more than one occasion!