Counter Arcs and 2yr olds

Holding yourself accountable is easier said than done I hate to admit. The funny thing I’m learning with riding young horses is they will tell you where holes in your riding are real quick. If they aren’t picking up a cue or they’re getting frustrated, well then I suggest it’s time to do a little reflecting on what you are dishing out. 

To help Oakley soften up, I started incorporating counter arcs. 

Important notes when it comes to Counter Arcing:

  • Focus on moving the body (ribcage) not the face
  • Forward motion is key
  • Legs First
  • Don’t cross your hands over the neck 
  • A couple of steps in the arc, then straighten out
  • Work both sides

I got to a point where I was using my leg cues the same way I would ask her to pick up the leads and I was also over-focused on her giving to the bridle and what the neck was doing that I was allowing her to get away with ignoring my leg cues.

The Problem

She started picking up the wrong lead when I asked her for a lope. She also started leaning on my legs when I asked her to move off or she would just switch leads. You can see how this could all be really frustrating and we both started to overwork. 

The Fix

When you get in a bind where there is a miscommunication somewhere, slow it down and break it down into simple steps.

In this case, I went back to basics and forward motion. We worked straight lines, staying centered between my hands and legs, and then I re-introduced the Counter arc. This time around I was really aware of what my feet were telling her to do and also rewarding when she moved her body. (Guess what, when they move their body the neck softens!) Bam! Problemo solvo. 

Just remember next time when you are hitting a wall. Stop, pay attention to what you’re telling them and then break it down into clear baby steps.

I tend to keep a daily tracker so I can see where Oakley is progressing or not in her training with my Performance Tracker Journal designed for Barrel Racers. Find Here.  It’s designed for competition but it has also been a place where I can jot down training notes.

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