Pas de Deux
“I’m looking forward to getting the two of them into the arena to play with this stuff again – I’m wondering just how much I could do with him from the back of another horse… “
I said that just eleven days ago, when I blogged about ponying Aero from Flurry.
Today I went into the arena to find out.
I did a little prep work before mounting. I asked the two of them to reverse and return to me. We did a little bit of following work, with both horses following me reasonably well at liberty. Then I stood beside Flurry and did some lateral work with Aero, asking him to move sideways and then to move hind hindquarters, away from me and towards me.
Then I mounted and started asking Aero to repeat the same movements, only this time I was sitting on Flurry. Aero cottoned on straight away. His reverse/return was not bad, just the return was not always straight back to me. I asked him to move sideways just for a couple of steps at a time and he did it really well. That’s something we can easily build on. Moving his hindquarters worked well, too. We also did a couple of tours around the arena with turns and circles, in walk and trot. Aero was excellent, keeping his head more or less level with my knee most of the time, without me having to pull or tug on the rope. Finally, I attempted to get Aero circling around Flurry in walk. That didn’t work too well. You’ll see on the video. Any tips are more than welcome if you’ve done this sort of thing.
While Aero was a star, Flurry was… well he was very funny, actually! First of all, when I started asking Aero to reverse, using the word “Back”, Flurry started to back up, too. The same with the sideways stuff – I’d say “Over” and Flurry would start to move to the side until I stopped him. When he realised that I wasn’t speaking to him, he started tuning me out completely; ignoring both my voice and my aids while riding him. He was lazy, his steering was only so-so and his halts were crap – right back to six months ago when I invariably ended up hauling on his mouth to stop him. So Flurry is having an intensive flatwork session all by himself tomorrow. After all, we have a dressage competition in just over three weeks time – it’s time to get him back in shape again.
After running through the exercises I had wanted to try, I turned on my video camera and messed around for another while. I’ve edited the video down to five minutes, so you won’t get bored! The funniest thing, for me, is Flurry’s reaction when I’m asking Aero to leg yield near the end and Aero has to think about it for a while. Flurry is all but jumping up and down, waving his hand and shouting “I know! I know! Ask me!”
When I got home, I told the LSH what I had done with The Boys. If I had two Aeros, I said, I’d be unbelievably brilliant at this stuff! But I’m blessed with a keen-to-please, super-intelligent Aero and my lazy, slow-thinking Flurry.
I wouldn’t change them for the world.