Oh, Sydney! Why, oh why, won't you bend? I don't think this is a new thing. I think this is me getting better and better at feeling his body moving where it should and where it shouldn't. I can now feel the running steps, the bulge in his non-circular circle, and the hollowness as I lose the contact on one side or the other. His latest thing is to blow through the corner as we pass the gate. And when I say blow through, I mean a complete blowout to the other side of the arena.
It's been very frustrating, but each day over the last week, I've gotten better at keeping him on the circle. The first three dozen times around, I have to almost do a complete counter bend with FIRM leg to get past that ONE spot. Each time around he gets less pushy until he can almost do it with no outside bend. And if I am really consistent, like last night, he can even do it with the correct bend, eventually.
As I work through that corner, I am CRACKING THE NUT, squeezing with my legs, and holding that outside rein firm. You. Will. Not. Blow. Through. This. Turn. Whew - we made it. The nano second that he relaxes at all, I slide my hands forward and give him the release. He stretches deeply as he begins the circle again. All is well during the first quarter. As we approach the top of the circle, I turn to look at the path I want to follow. I start to ask with the outside leg and rein ... turn, TURN, TURN.
At the beginning of the ride, we don't make it. Part-way through the ride, we make the turn, but there's a lot of ugly. The ride is nearly done when he makes the turn with even a hint of stretch. Tomorrow is a another chance to make the turn. No more whining. Feel better quickly, Kelly!