Friday, October 30, 2009

Let Me Sleep On It

Every time it happens, I am amazed.   You would think by now, after training dressage horses for 25 years, I would be used to it.   But that is not the case.   I am still impressed by this phenomenon.   And tonight, I again sit here thinking, "WOW !   How did that happen!?"

Piper Warrior, our 1997 Olympic Ferro x CandyBoy gelding, is basically a 70% Training Level / 63% First Level horse....   That's when he is not freaking out about judges booths, flowers, or oddly shaped pebbles.

When working at home, he is really good at leg yield, walk to canter, reinback, and shoulder-in.   A couple months ago, we played with travers / haunches in along the wall.   It was not pretty, but it was a start.   Taking it to the center line for half pass was quite unsuccessful.

Tonight, after a really good session of transition work, leg yield in walk and trot, and trot shoulder in, I gave the half pass a shot again.   I don't what I was thinking.   It is the normal progression of work with Jeddien, but this was Piper!

But sure enough, starting between the centerline and quarterline, I asked for half pass and GOT IT!   And it was satisfactory!   But why!?!?

This is the amazing thing about horses.   As ridiculous as it sounds, it seems like they actually sleep on it, thinking about the work presented to them, and getting their heads around it.   Really, it makes no sense!   Horses are not recognised as being deep thinkers.   And yet, over and over, I have seen this happen where the horse, when presented with new work, does not do well, but then goes back to his stable and thinks about it, and the next time out, does the work.

Impossible!   Or is it?   Do horses sometimes need to sleep on it?

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