Today was an interesting day. I brought him in and tacked him up. I put him on the lunge and he was a bucking machine. This is not uncommon when horses are in paddocks where they don’t want to run, and that is what is happening with the mud we are experiencing now.
At any rate, he got his bucks out and then was quite well behaved on the lunge after that. I got on and had the best session yet. He started out with some moments of resistance and tension, but ended up stretching long and low in walk and trot. Excellent work.
It is supposed to rain the next two days so I wanted to get her out for a hack while I could. The fields were too wet, so we went down the hill on the road. But then we saw this:
That is a little more ice than I am up for on a smooth-shod horse, so we turned around and went uphill. I had her walk all the way for a nice warm up. Then off in trot past the barn and the chicken ranch, turn right at the first road and then a canter for a bit. She was still very tight in her neck, so I came to walk and did some flexibility exercises and she came around a bit, but still a bit tight. Then in trot we worked on bending and flexing some more and we made some progress.
We saw the sign for the old cemetery, so adventurers we are, went to investigate. On the way there, she started to acquiesce to the idea relaxation in her neck and even some soft chewing on the bit.
Elsa realizing the futility of tension
At the cemetery I told her that life is too short to be tight and tense as a matter of habit and she looked at the sun setting over the cemetery and sighed. Or maybe I just thought so.
At any rate, I think it made an impression on her because she was quite the delight during this canter
Then we turned left and had a little relaxed trot home, then a nice walk for the last third mile.
She was a wee bit damp when we got home, so I put her in her stall with a flake of hay while I rode Harley. Then I replaced her blanket and told her what a good girl she is and turned her out.
I only had about 20 minutes to spend in the tack, but I went for it. We did a 5 minute walk warm up focusing on stretching over her back and she let go really well. Then on to trot and canter for about 10 minutes followed by a 5 minute cool down. She feels really good in her body. Strong and even and sound. Says it is time for a gallop soon.
The fields were too muddy to ride in, so we went down to the end of the road and back up. There was a scary white truck that he managed to deal with quite well. We trotted on the way back up the hill and he was wanting to tighten his back and canter instead of stay relaxed and push over his back.
Then we continued on up the road to the first house. We were coming back because the rain was starting and then the bus appeared over the horizon. I could have just stepped off to a driveway, but it also seemed like a good excuse to hand gallop, so we did. He enjoyed it thoroughly.
Then we continued past the barn and down to the end of the road again, but this time we cantered down the hill, had a bit of a walk, and trotted back up it. He was much looser the second time up the hill. Good day.
So, I got to thinking about Rylee’s suggestion of perhaps putting him in a bites bridle and I thought it was thinking in the right direction. So I got out my micklem bridle and attached two sets of reins to it – one to the bit and another to the dees. Before I got on, I tied a knot in the bit reins and when I got on I rode only on the dee reins. He was actually surprisingly not about it. He was actually a bit of a nerd for the first 15 minutes, throwing his head about and at one point stopping and planting his feet, at which point I got off and swatted him one on the butt and did some ground work.
I got back on and he was much recovered and by the end of the ride he was having some nice yielding to the right, which is a bonus.
I brought him in and brushed him and tacked up. He stood well. We went out to lunge and he was a bit inattentive, with transitions taking too long to happen. We discussed the wisdom of paying attention to his handler and he improved.
Then I was taking him over to put down the lunge whip and he was leading like a dairy cow at the state fair, so we had a discussion about being light on the halter aids, which morphed into yielding his neck down when being led. That only took a few minutes but seemed to be a real key for him.
I got on and had some very nice work in all gaits and in leg yield under saddle. It went so well that he earned a walk hack down to the end of the road. (Note to self: use the camera horizontally next time. LOL)
Had a training session and short lesson with Harley and Rylee (and Leah). Harley was very good at times and sometimes a little worked up, mostly thinking too much. He is coming along though and Rylee had some nice work with him at the end.
Beautiful day out and we may not have that many more like this so I took him out for a hack. We went down the hill to the end of the road at a walk and then back up in trot and canter, which he said was hard work. Then walk through the yard and clockwise around the field. We scared up two sets of 3 deer in two different areas and he thought it was really quite exciting, though I mentioned that he needn’t be so impressed. Then on to jumping working on the P exercise, which I will show you when the time comes. He had some difficulty with the stopping politely part of it, but came around eventually.
Steve put up some new very small jumps and they were fun to play on too. Nice day.
Met her at Walnut Creek and she offloaded beautifully and stood politely by the trailer while I tacked up. She had a good warmup and was excellent in her schooling, jumping more boldly than earlier this summer and yet maintained her ratability. She jumped ditches banks, combinations and even ended up doing the jump right before the water, through the water and the larger option on the other side. Great day!