Monday, April 25, 2011

The Herd Instinct

Saturday afternoon we were on our own as the clouds rolled in and the wind kicked up. Saddle time has been scarce, so sorry dear Jessie, but we are going out. As we reached the canal we could see a pair of horses a quarter mile away and you wold have thought they had three heads. Jessie desperately wanted her buddy along side so these monsters' appetite would be filled long before they reached her.

As we headed south, like we've done a hundred times before, everything was new and scary. It's really difficult to know exactly how to handle this. There really isn't enough room to do more than yielding of hindquarters. A couple of times in the past I've gotten off and worked on the ground, but that just seems to jack her up more (probably an indication I'm doing something wrong there too). My approach was to pretend it was no big deal and just ask for forward movement and when it happened, back off. Sometimes that was only one step. It was a bit frustrating riding down the canal one step at a time. She kicked up a couple of times and I really got after her hindquarters to let her know that was not acceptable.

We finally got out to our riding area wand I got to lope her around a bit. It wasn't much. The weeds and brush in our open riding areas are up to her cinch, but after getting a couple of good circles in each direction we headed back. It was amazing how fast she walked back home. There were a couple of stretches that were wide enough to do the serpentine exercise. And, because I had more control of her, at the places she balked on the way out, we did the rollback exercise.

Sunday mornings ride with Dusty was much less eventful. It was a fairly casual Easter Sunday ride before meeting up with the family. We did get our ten minute lope in which I did, I must admit, with a little more zeal as payback for the Saturday adventure. Just more evidence that we need to get out and ride alone more.
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