Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Under Saddle

Another Windy Day

I had to fix Tucker's door.  It's one of those metal half gates and I hang it from two eye bolts. The trouble is that the lower bolt was too short to reach into the solid wood door frame and had been just screwed into the stall paneling.  So, it would hold for a while, then work its way loose and come out.  I've tried various methods to keep in in including some wood filler, glue, and even a wrap of duct tape.  Each method worked for a while, but never quite solved the problem.

Today, I went to the hardware store to see if they had a longer screw in eye bolt.  I managed to find two of different lengths, and sure enough, one worked out perfectly.  Unless I am just kidding myself, this time I was able to screw it into the solid wood frame...although it was impossible to see exactly where it was going in...but it surely feels tight now.  Only time will tell.

Then I went out and poo picked the arena and finally I saddled up Chance for a schooling session.

The wind was whipping around in off and on gusts, so I wasn't keen about Chance's desire to go for a hack in the woods. The last thing I'd want was for us to get clobbered by a falling branch.  As it is, my arena is right next to the woods, so I do keep an eye out for falling branches ever when I ride there.  But it was fine.

The session had mixed results.  Chance was rather erratic to steering at the walk, tending to fall out on his outside shoulder on the turns, so I concentrated on initiating the turns with my outside rein, making sure my body stayed centered over him so I didn't push him off the line I'd chosen to ride.  His turns were better, but the walk, though a good gait to practice skills, lacks the impulsion you need to really work on correct efforts towards on the bit.

So, after a nice walk warm-up, I moved into trot. Chance needs to be encouraged to trot forward and he very easily breaks into his canter to evade.  But, once he began to stretch a little into the bit, his gait improved considerably.  He is not consistent yet, that's for sure, and it proves once again how little formal training time I have put into him.  But, each time I do a session, he always improves, so I know that if I just spent the time working him seriously, he'd be working to competition level in a few weeks.

The biggest sign of that is his canter.  His left lead always was pretty good, but the right lead was unbalanced and rushing.  Today, both leads were equally soft and he offered some nice contact with his head down for the full time in both directions.

After some nice canter, I practiced a few walk/halts and then asked for reinback.  If you remember, the last time I rode Chance, reinback was not in his "vocabulary."  I dismounted that time and worked him a bit in hand at the end of my ride. Today?? Although it was neither immediate nor more than a step or two, he gave me a reasonable reinback a few seconds after my first request.  We practiced a bit until he gave me three steps in succession and then, with a ton of pats and praise for his good work, I dismounted and led him back to the barn for supper.

My knees were fairly stiff this time, perhaps a consequence of the colder temperatures, so I decided not to ride Tucker.  If I work one horse a day for now, that's fine.

Dinner was served and the Boys settled in for the evening.  Of course, they will get their midnight snack, so they lack for nothing in the food department.

Good day at Follywoods.


  1. Anonymous8:33 PM

    Nice work with the canter and reinback - he's a quick study!

  2. Chance sounds like a sympathetic character. I bet he will be a good learner, perhaps not as fast as a TB, but a serious one ^-^

  3. Definitely a good day at Follywoods, and so lovely to hear :)