dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Good Decisions

The more I work with my horses, the more I realize that training is a series of decisions- some good some bad.

Sunday dawned cloudy and cold. As I drank my coffee I saw that the sky was getting heavier and  even more threatening. I sent a quick text to my friend that if we wanted to ride we better get on it. While she on her way I brought the horses in and got things ready. When she arrived we tacked up quickly and headed up to the ring. As we rode it began to sprinkle. However, once I'm on I don't want to quit. So I decided to keep riding. I like having a horse that is used to being schooled in the rain. That way if I'm at a show and it rains it's no big deal. And I'm not so sweet that I melt.  I'm glad that I decided to carry on with the riding because it went really really well. The trotting poles were easy and Steele is starting to pick up canter with just the leg cue, and not needing the voice cue. We stopped before the rain got too heavy and then dried off and conditioned the leather. Later that day the rain became torrential so I'm glad we decided to carry on riding.

Monday was back to work and I needed to go to the city for meetings. The drive in was long due to to traffic and the drive home was longer because there had been a fatal accident on the highway. We were diverted off the highway onto a secondary highway. It doubled the commuting time. Today I had to head back to the city and again it was a long drive. The weather was also cold and dark. As I drove home I decided that I wouldn't ride when I got home- I was tired (physically and mentally) and cold.

However, when I got home the sun was out and it was warm.
So I put on my riding clothes and went out to get Steele. One thing that I'm careful about is to not ride if I can't be patient. There's no point and it can do more harm than good. So I decided that I would monitor my mood. He started off with a nice forward walk but then got distracted by Irish (who was throwing a tantrum down in the small paddock). So the work, I decided, would be on keeping his attention. And it really didn't take long at all to get him on my page. As we trotted along I slowly made it more complicated. We started off with a circle on one end, cross the diagonal and circle the opposite direction and repeat. A few times he began to rush so I simply brought him back to walk and then back to trot.

Belle decided to do some hunting in the long grass beside the ring. As we trotted down by her she popped up her head which sent Steele in a spook and canter. However, now that I'm getting more consistent in keeping my core engaged (thank you Jane) I went with him and simply brought him back to trot and then we carried on. Because I didn't react emotionally he settled right back to me.

I gave the cue for canter and he picked it up right away. We stayed on the circle and I tried to use my seat and legs to get him to be more relaxed and not quite so excited. As I asked and stayed patient I felt him relax under me and blow gently. I asked for a trot and he came right back to me. After a walk break I tried it the other way and it was the same thing. I finished there and told him he was genius. All he said was "I know, right?"

I'm glad that I made the decision to ride today.

Steele making his favourite decision- which blade of grass to eat


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