Monday, May 11, 2009
I had Aubrey take a short video of one of the things Rem and I have been working on. Rollbacks!
I think out of the three rollbacks in the video, the first one was the best(shown 2 times). We worked on rollbacks in the last couple of lessons that I took. I took a break from them for a while because I was getting a little frustrated with Rem and myself. I picked them up again a couple days ago, and the break seems to have helped Rem get things together. He is a really fast learner, which is good and bad. He can learn a bad habit pretty quickly, so I was a little hesitant to continue the rollback work by myself, without my trainer there telling me what I need to do. But, at the same time, if I just wait around for a lesson to work on this stuff, we probably won't get much better.
Anyway, here is what I learned about rollbacks from our lesson... you can watch the video and tell me if I'm following the correct sequence.
The single, most important aspect of the rollback is to GET OUT!!! Heh heh. You can do all the other steps, but if your horse doesn't think he needs to get out of there, it won't be a really good rollback. Rollbacks are supposed to be complete 180 degree turns. You can see in the video that Rems rollbacks could be tighter (the first one was okay, probably because we rolled back into the fence). I think I need to get him back on his haunches more when I'm asking him to leave in order to achieve this. Anyway, back to how I cue.
I trot Rem in a straight line and stop. It's important to trot your horse into the stop when practicing rollbacks so he doesn't learn to run off. Once stopped, I ask for a back, first with my reins and once he is started backing I ask him to continue with my spurs. It's important that your horse backs off of leg pressure, and not reins because the rein is what cues him to roll back.
The reason we back our horses before the rollback is to get POWER. The power comes from their hind end, and they're already on their hind end when we ask them to back. Once my horse is backing in a straight line off of my legs, I move my inside leg back, and out of the way to allow his shoulder to come through. I turn my head and look the way I want to roll back, past my horses hip and then I cue him with my neck rein. He should follow my gaze and respond to the neck rein by rocking back on his haunches, doing a complete 180 and GETTING OUT of it.
It's a lot to remember, but Rem has learned that when I move my leg back and out of the way it's time to move. It's a lot of fun, and I'd venture to say that he enjoys it too!