January 30, 2021, Volume 16, Issue 4
This week in ranch happenings, we have been continuing to expand our horsemanship horizons with flying lead changes! The first time I tried the pattern Shayne was teaching, I was on Leroy, another favorite pony of mine. I think they are all my favorite at this point, hahaha.
Our pattern consisted of a leg yield at the trot to pick up the canter, to a short circle and coming out on a straight diagonal line to change leads. Shayne has been encouraging us to challenge ourselves to the next level and explore cantering short circles. For awhile, I didn’t believe I could canter short, not with elegance any way. But after an empowering dad talk from Shayne 🙂 I trusted myself and did the exercise. I found that by cantering Leroy short, it caused the hind end to step up and underneath himself giving us a new kind of power. As we came out on our straight line, I gently switched my legs asking for the new lead. With a little bit of thought, Leroy switched to his new lead and I was grinning ear to ear.
Up next for the exercise was Des, starting out with a beautiful canter depart. I watched intently as Des cantered a perfectly balanced small circle and came out with a gorgeous lead change. By setting up the hind end in the small circle, it’s
easier for the horse to change leads because the hind is already engaged for the change. Changing leads in this manner is more comfortable to the horse and they start “hunting” the change because it feels good to them.
Throughout the rest of the week, we continued to revisit this exercise. Or “refry the bean” as Shayne now says. Between our roping routines and cutting flag sessions, we practiced flying lead changes out of our short circles. All of the horses became more balanced after this exercise. Some even standing with their hind more underneath them. At the end of the riding week, we refried the seat position bean. Yep the quest for the perfect position of balance still continues!
With a light dusting of snow over the last few days, the mountains feel fresh and we had our first full moon of the year. To finish out the week strong, the new arena got a deep cleaning. With the tack rooms organized and the rails shining, the arena is ready for another week of horse and human connections.
And so the journey continues…….