dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Solid Foundation = Not Dying

I've had a few more rides on Steele and it's been interesting.

On Sunday my friend came to ride Irish again. As always I started with ground work. My view of the ground work has undergone a shift. I don't use it to tire him out but to confirm that he's tuned into me and responding. On sunday it didn't take too long so I mounted up. We did some walk work and then I asked for a trot. As I started to post a squeaking noise started coming from my saddle.  I had conditioned it the night before and it was my full seat breeches creating some friction in the saddle. Steele was a bit disturbed by having this squeaking coming from his back. He didn't know whether to trot faster or stop. He compromised by staying in the trot but trying to swivel his head to see what was up. I couldn't help it- I started to giggle. That seemed to relax him and he settled down right away. After a few rounds around the ring and the squeaking went away. We had a great time walking, trotting, steering and standing stock still while Irish cantered around us in a circle. t have to say that we had one of our best rides to date.

Tuesday was a very blustery day. My riding ring is surrounded by tall grass and bushes. Our ground work went very well but when I mounted I could tell that he was very uncertain about the way the grass and leaves were blowing around. Once Belle came bouncing out of the grass and he spun away. I sat up and said 'whoa' and he stopped immediately. Good boy. And thank you Royce. We went back to work and he spooked again- this time with a small hop. Again I said 'whoa' and he did. I realized that he was really uncertain. It's one thing to deal with this with me providing leadership on the ground. it's a whole different kettle of fish with me on his back. I could have dismounted but I don't think that would have helped. I decided that this called for some finesse.

if only you could buy it in a bottle!
My views on learning (whether animal or human) is that you can introduce something new in a known context, or try what's been learned in a new context. I decided that in this case the wind blowing a new context so I would stick in our comfort zone- mostly walking and steering.  So that's what we did. I did a little bit of trotting but not much. I just wanted him to understand that it was all fine and that I wasn't worried. I have to say I was pleased that he continued to listen. In fact he completely outperformed Irish in this regard.  One thing that was freaking him out a bit was walking through the shadows of fluttering leaves. He really thought we should play it safe and go around but I was patient and helped him to figure out that it wasn't dangerous.  I ended by us halting on top of the leaves and dismounting.

Today was also breezy. However it was also hot and humid which may have helped. But this time there were no issues with the blowing grass or leaves. And we were able to work on our walk-trot-walk transitions and serpentines. Sometimes, as we cross the ring it becomes interesting because I think we should go left and he thinks that we should go right. It reminds me a bit of Ed and my early car trips and me helping him navigate Montreal.
keep in mind that we are country folk 
What I realize is that the more solid the foundation the safer we are.

And that I really need someone to come and take some photos. (hint, hint)

1 comment:

  1. Yes we need photos!!!! :D I'm glad Steele figured it out. He's such a good boy.


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