Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunshine On My Shoulder

And Sunshine All Around

Lovely day today.

I rode Toby first. I did a short workout in the arena, just walk, trot, canter with a flying change on each lead. Then we headed out for a nice hack in the woods. I trotted him all the way along the edge of the woods back to where the flooding is. What can I say. Nice ride, good horse, and sunshine!

When I got back home I picked out the arena as it is part of the Boys' turnout area. Had I been more ambitious, I would have dragged it as well but opted out and saddled Tucker up instead.

Not that he would drag the arena. *G*

Interesting ride. I started off with a pretty good walk session. On the long rein he was fine, but when I picked up the contact, he simply could not manage it. He stopped, pawed in frustration, then minced off, then walked nicely, then stopped, then minced, and so on. Once or twice, he stepped into a super collected trot trying to figure out what to do.

When I finally did ask for the trot, it seemed to make him far happier with the contact. So, I spent the next session just doing transitions. Trot, canter, trot, walk, canter, trot, over and over until he figured out that he actually could go in all three gaits on the bit.

Then I started some lateral work. More frustration as Tucker simply would not move away from my right leg to the left. I finally got off, worked him off the whip from the ground for a bit just to establish the concept of moving laterally to the left. Mounted back up and managed some good leg yields, then half pass at the trot, but even getting one stride at the canter was simply too hard.

Once more, I repeated trot half pass left, then walk half pass left, then trot and finally a few good strides of canter. I can see this is going to be a bit of a training issue for a while. As I recall, Tucker had a hard time learning leg yield to the left as well, so ther is definitely a question mark in his body about going that way. It is a bit ironic since every other horse I've trained has had more difficulty going laterally to the right.

I do have to question myself, though since I tend to let my right leg slide back when I am working, so I think Tucker may have learned to ignore that leg as a special aid. So, I have to concentrate on keeping it at the girth. Rider flaw is as much as fault here.

I just put the bridle on Chance to work him in hand, getting him to give to the bit. He is now pretty ready to bend to the right, so that's good. the interesting element was how he simply would not move his shoulder to the outside as well. So, I turning to the left, he would fall in on the left shoulder instead of actually bending through his body. When I put all my weight against his shoulder to push it over, he was quite happy to just lean on me instead of moving away.

I picked up a short, about one inch diameter, stick and poked his offending shoulder with that. Instant reaction! Instant over-reaction as he leapt away. After that, all it took was a little pressure from the stick and eventually, just a point of the stick and he put his shoulder exactly where I wanted it.

Chance is an interesting fellow. He goes from ignoring me completely to sudden alertness and over sensitivity in a second. Quite unlike my Thoroughbreds who hard ever ignore and are always quite ready to react. I think it's easy to mistake his ignoring the aids for being quiet and calm when it's actually a deliberate evasion. Not that he has a bad attitude, it's just that he is not tuned into me yet and still lives in his own world.

Training, time, and some good consistent handling should fix all that.

Nice day, good horses. Who could ask for anything more.


  1. I recognise the "lives in his own world" evasion. Scooby used to be like it and then overreact completely when he tuned in. It's a frustrating evasion because it can make it seem as though they just don't care about connecting with you as a human.


  2. Happy Easter Jean!

  3. send us that weather, pronto! (well, perhaps not - that would be another gale! :-)