Monday, 13 February 2012

Danni's spanish walk

Danilon Spanish stallion

Danni's blog has been distinguished by its absence lately so here's a quick update of his progress with his Spanish walk Olay!! The camera clicked just before he pointed his toe out to its full extent but you get the idea. I put this picture on Enlightened Equitation Forum and one member asked how we had progressed so I have idly copied and pasted my reply for you below!

" It was the blind teaching the blind but here goes! My first clue came from a Spanish facebook friend Pedro Blesinger suggested tapping Danni's back legs to get him to lift them up in turn, as a prelude to Piaffe - seemed odd to me, as being English I thought it would make a horse kick but as  predicted he learnt to pick up his back legs in turn from and indication of the whip. We moved on to a little Piaffe but then I reasoned if he would learn to pick his back legs up he could learn to pick his front ones up too - particularly as my husband was in the habit of stretching Dannis legs forward from his girth each morning, before I went out for my hack. So at the time Danni was thinking "leg stretch now"  I introduced my tap and the foot came up and he got a pat. (The pat is a surprisingly effective tool I taught my Anglo Arab to Piaffe* by using the same spot each day on the lane home and patting him when he got it right! I think they call it Gestalt) When he could lift his foot a few times on asking he got a polo! Next step was to gt him to move - So foot up not high just up (i think I put a photo of him on hear about then) the polo was held just out of reach so he moved forward - it was slow progress as I haven't done this before and Danni would forget to move his back legs so end up like a stretch limo. Over time, before i mounted each day i would do a few steps and reward then go for a ride and enjoy ourselves. When i worked in hand he was always keen to offer this but on these occasions I would keep it until the end, and point him towards his stable, as horses are always eager to please when a haynet is in sight!
So we had a walk but not spectacular one but as I continued my other schooling and as his engagement and collection improved so he offered more and just lately Wow his feet are flying out - i have done nothing different but as he found he could, so he has chosen to give more.

* I was lucky enough to have my first proper dressage lessons with Baron Blixton Fineck who used to live in Lelant, Cornwall. He said when teaching piaffe to start at the beginning of the session when the horse was fresh - this idea I transferred to spanish Walk by starting first with it in the morning.

and to finish Danni working on his power trot - I am trying for engagement and swing - notice his back foot will reach the ground just before the front one and that is as far as we have come so far - just another two hundred miles to go!

I try to lunge Danni once a week for a jolly for him