Since the judge from our last show will be one of the two judges at this weekend's Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC), I thought I'd better see what I can do to get Speedy to pick 'em up and set 'em down, even if it's just at the walk.
She goes on to say, "How do I do all that? By practicing correct repetitions and by tackling each movement individually, breaking it down into little chunks that are more manageable to deal with." That's exactly how I've been addressing the movements at Second Level, so I am glad that I am on the right track. She then goes on to offer tips for the turn on the haunches and the flying change (the horse first needs a good simple change through walk).
Lehua breaks down the steps to encourage the horse to listen for a whisper aid as opposed to a shout. Here is her list of aids:
- 1. Press with calf. If no response,
- 2. Then use the spur. If no response,
- 3. Then use a little pop with the leg. If no response,
- 4. Then a tap with the whip.
I've never asked for more energy in the free walk (at a show) because if I do, he'll break into a trot. I don't know why it never occurred to me to deal with this problem before now.
I took a page from Chemaine Hurtado's book for "ramping him up" for the medium trot. As I prepare for the medium trot, I half halt and add leg, in effect, getting his hind end prepared to motor. I figured I could do the same thing from the medium walk to the free walk.
As soon as I felt his energy go splat, I pressed with my calf. When that got no response - why would it as I've accepted a pokey walk until now? - I popped him with my leg (I don't wear a spur anymore). When he still refused to get a more energetic walk, I tapped him with the whip. Well hello there, smarter and quicker walk. Nice of you to join us!
The good thing about this exercise is he knows the whip is coming if he doesn't respond to my leg banging into his side. I've even been careful about insisting on an energetic walk while we're "resting" between more difficult movements. I want him to be thinking that a free walk is not the time to take a break. A test only lasts for six minutes. He can rest when we're done.
Better get your hustle on, Speedy G!