Thursday, August 22, 2019

Addressing the Drift

Today we got back to jumping. Granted, we jumped a little log in the field that Tuesday after the show, but... not any real jumping until today. Mostly because I didn't have anyone around. And he was fine! Of course. Sigh... But you know.. I'm going to stick with the fact that God knows best and.. in hindsight, I will understand. But I digress..

Anyways... today was lesson day with Kelly at Silverthorn. It's sooooo pretty there! We had a group lesson with Caroline, which was fun. And helpful because she's so nice and quiet it was easy to see her subtle changes. We ended up diverging in our lesson... she did one thing and Dan and I did another because at the beginning... the right drift was intense. To the point of Dan stopped once because he basically ran into the giant plank wing. And Kelly was watching and despite me opening the left rein, blocking the right by moving my right hand to the withers, and digging my right spur into him.. he was still throwing his shoulder out. And it seemed to start farther back. So... we got creative and I got "weaponry". :) Because... to be honest... dan wins unless I have weaponry. Sigh.. I wish it wasn't the case... I wish that our relationship was more ... I don't know the right word... I wish I didn't have to resort to such stuff but quite frankly... I trained him and I created this and I'm going to have to fix it. And because *I* want to fix it.... *I* have to give myself little advantages. So... we took off his running martingale and replaced it with a draw rein/running rein. But only on the right. So we attached a long line from the girth to the bit ring, and back to my hands. Just an extra rein. That gave me some leverage. So... we set the jumps down to a cross rail and trotted over it. Ooooohhhhh... this is a nice tool! He went straight!! And I didn't have to change my ride at all. Just rode the same way as I did before. So we did a few times over the cross rail, moving up to the canter. And we also noticed that if I lifted my hands (Why??? WHY do I do that?!?!) it would make me ride his face instead of his shoulder, so... he was able to throw that shoulder and drift. But if I kept my hands low...  So then.... to make *me* behave... I had to grab my martingale strap so that I couldn't lift my hands. Good grief!! We're two peas in a pod. But it worked lovely! We did a few more jumps, all set low, although one was a vertical to see what would happen if we challenged him. And it was helpful. In fact, it almost made him too responsive and I over-corrected once and we almost hit the left standard. ha ha!! So yep... Very helpful. We finished the ride with the "weapon" off and put his martingale back on, with the right side shortened up a bit. And he was still pretty good but by the third fence he was starting to drift again. So... the plan is to ride him a few more rides, over small fences, with the draw rein on the right side to let him marinate. This will get him jumping straight and also help him strengthen himself so that if it is a weakness thing, he will actually strengthen. (It waill also remind me to marinate on keeping my hands low). Kelly said he was jumping straight and square and didn't seem to be too resistant. We are keeping in mind though that if it is a soundness thing... he will start to fight me more and become lamer, so... we're going to be careful. BUT.. my gut feeling is it's a little bit behind the leg causing it and a little bit of scar tissue and that hopefully this will help strengthen that weak right hind and fix some of our issues and we'll get back to rocking and rolling. :) #onwardandupward #exceptformyhandskeepthosedown. :)  Oh, and..

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