|The group. I am third from the left.|
|Getting Anna to stretch down at the walk(free walk).|
After doing it at the walk, everyone tried the exercise over trot poles. It was a sharp turn to get to the poles, so we had to make sure to keep the correct rhythm around the turn and over the poles. The first few time, I made it over the poles but not in a very good rhythm. The last time heading over the poles, I kicked Anna forward. This time, she really reached forward, keeping a good rhythm over the poles and on the straight line after it as well. Laura said that that was the rhythm I need to have all the time.
|More free walking|
|Over the walk poles|
During the break time, a saddle fitter taught about fitting both western and English saddles, particularly focusing on mules. Mules have straighter backs than horses, and their ribs start out narrow then widen out, so they are built much differently than horses. Consequently, saddles are much harder to fit. It is hard to fit English saddles made for Thoroughbreds, or western saddles made for stock horses. To fit English saddles, the fitter uses special half pads with three pockets on each side. She inserts foam pads into the pockets to adjust the saddles fit and fill in the empty spaces between the saddle and the horses back. Thus doesn't fix a too big saddle, but it helps a saddle to be custom fitted to a horse or mule. I don't think any saddle you would by online would fit perfectly without some minor adjusting. She also flocks saddles to help the fit as well.
|Over the trot poles. Straight-arming though|
In the afternoon, we worked on pats of Dressage Training Level Test 3, the test ridden at Bishop Mule Days, the mule world show(look Mule Days up). We practiced a serpentine loop, which is a loop that goes from H to X to K. The judge looks for a change of bend in this loop. The first few times I didn't quite get to X, and I used to much outside rein rather than inside leg, but the last time I tried it I got a fairly nice bend.
Connie then decided that I should rest Anna for the day because I Anna would have to work a lot over the weekend at the western clinic(1, 2).