Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We both seem to be running a lot lately

The store has been rather busy and it's hard to squeeze in a few moments to chronicle our training. Saturday we went out on the trail with Ranae and Dusty. We had a very nice ride. It was rather hot, but we managed to do a lot of loping. We are both getting the hang of it. While it would be nice to just let her run without direction we can't because of the gopher holes and uneven ground and she just doesn't always seem that sure-footed.

It's a bit like learning to drive. There is so much going on. I'm trying to be as minimal on the bit as I can, but while I'm checking my balance, wondering what my legs are doing, figuring out where she is going, my hands seem to drift into the mix. We both worked up a pretty good sweat.

Sunday we stayed out back and I set up the barrels again. It's amazing how fast she got the pattern. They are pretty close together and it's tough to lope the whole way, but I got to do a lot of little canters here and there and we just generally worked around the barrels. We also did some side-passing from a standstill at the fence, more bending, and backing up. During our GW I got on her bareback with the halter and lead and my handy stick and tried a few bridle-less/saddle-less maneuvers.
She stayed pretty calm for the session. It's so much easier using my legs bareback.

She got Monday off and this morning we went out alone. I had watched the serpentine exercise last night and when she balked at going down the canal road I tried to invoke that exercise. There just isn't enough room so I had to go back to the bending/yielding exercise. She was getting pretty feisty not wanting to go. Sunday we Ranae and I told each other that we had to lope with a big smile on our face because one can become pretty intense looking and I think the horse picks up on it. So this morning, I smiled and gave out a big laugh and had her move a step. Then she took two steps and stopped. I just kept asking her and after she walked about ten steps I stopped her, let her relax, then we turned around. We walked about halfway back then turned around again. The second time she walked all the way to my predetermined goal (a weir in the canal) so we stopped, I petted her and we headed back. We worked on some side-passing at one of the fences and then headed for home.

As calm as she is around other horses I think it was just too much to expect her to be brave out on her own. I just think we need to build up to it. Once she's out and away from the security of the other horses she looks to me for leadership. We just need to build on that.
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