Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rider Up!

Another Warm Day

It was in the upper 70's F today with lots of sun.  I went out to the barn in the early afternoon to ride--I seem to be an "afternoon metabolism" person--and decided whichever horse got to me and the treats first, would be the one I rode first.

Chance won, with Tucker coming an a close second and Toby cautiously pulling in last, always wary that I just might put the halter on his head.

Chance and I went out for another hack in the woods. He is the only horse I've ever had that definitely goes faster on the route away from home and slows down heading home. That's one of the reasons I haven't schooled him as much in the arena as he really needs.  He just thinks trail riding is a grand adventure. We looped along the edge of the ridge above the trail that goes around the lake. I'm pretty sure most of the lake trail is largely impassible--except with some serious caution--because the minibikers and ATV riders have eroded the path so badly it has huge ruts. That might be OK, but the land is low and borders a swamp, so it fills with water. Then the problem is that if you do try to ride across, it's nearly impossible to tell where the good, safe footing is and where the "sink into the muck" places are.

We came back through the woods with Chance occasionally trying to jog until I turned left to head home. Then his pace slowed to a leisurely walk, almost completely lacking in the concept of "forward."  I should have headed the other way for a bit to see if he marched off again. *lol*  Maybe next time.

Once home, I sponged him off and brought Tucker in with a specific plan in mind. I was not going to tolerate any challenges from him about responding to my leg cues--in particular for the canter depart.  He's not fit enough to do high quality "rock back on the hocks" canters, that's for sure, but there is no reason he can't just canter from my leg aid without "snarling, fussing, pinning his ears, or just generally acting crabby with a final....'Well, all right, if you really mean it, I'll canter' attitude."  It's so typical of him to challenge being told what to do.

I carried the dressage whip, which I did not need,  and once we'd trotted a little to warm up, I cued for left lead canter. (Snarl) I snapped the rein back where he'd tried to shake it from my hand, returned his snarl with one of my own, and off we cantered. Once more challenging depart later, he was once again responding like a trained horse, cantering off to the least cue of my leg like he's supposed to.  Both leads were just fine, although he's a little crooked going to the right.   Then we walked a bit, and I followed up with equally responsive canter departs from the walk.  Three on each rein were enough so we finished up with some trot shoulder ins and a little effort at half pass.  Half pass to the right is good, but he's not quite as willing to go left. The leg yield left is fine, but the half pass---well, half baked.  But he made an effort and didn't fuss.

So all was well to end the ride on a good note.

A good sponge off for Tucker--he rolled in the dirt about 20 minutes later--and carrots for all.

Another warm spring day has passed, and I'm tired. Obviously, have some work to do to get myself fit again.  Thank heavens there's no hurry.


  1. sounds good. haven't cantered my boy yet at all, no doubt i'll get to it when my head is in the right place!

    but i reckon Chance would sharp tell you if the going was dodgy, they're good about that - my old mare queenie used to spook at the bottom of the arena at that yard, we never knew why - until the following winter after 3 days rain the arena collapsed into an old mine seam! she knew!

  2. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Nice rides - glad you managed to get out and around!

  3. I always like to ride first thing in the morning, I find I'm too tired in the afternoons. Glad you got out on the trails. This is probably the first horse that goes slower on the way home that I've heard about.

    Glad Tucker decided to listen to your cues. Guess he figures one of these times he might win the battle! Ha!

  4. Life sounds bearable over there.