dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Post Lesson Ride

The lesson was on Sunday. Steele had monday off but Tuesday I got home from work in time to ride. With the days getting shorter I need to ride between 4-5 so I can get some work in before it's too dark.

When I headed out the field both Steele and Irish were galloping around like a couple of race horses. I let them blow off steam and then brought both horses in and tacked up Steele. Irish stayed in his stall to munch on hay while we headed up to the arena. It was a windy day and the dogs and cat were about. He was a bit behind the leg to start and I was working on asking him to walk forward with more purpose when he spooked and spun away from some waving grass. Fortunately I was sitting on my behind and went with him without changing position. My hands did come up but were down by the time that the spook was done so I count that as progress.  What I realized was that his head was not in the game and he was repeating some of the behaviours from the lesson on Sunday. I threw the idea of cantering out the window and went to work on walk and trot. the focus on was on keeping him forward and listening to my aids. I also focussed on keeping the outside rein, laying off the inside rein and sitting up and back.

I recognized that he did not like being alone in the ring with the dogs and cat popping around but I decided to support him as he learned to deal with it. I have to say that we made some progress up until the last 10 minutes when he was tired. By this point we had been working about 40 minutes. I decided to finish on a 20 metre trot circle. He spun inside 3 times so around we went again. He repeated the spinning. I had to do something before this became ingrained behaviour. I came to a halt, took a deep breath and then asked him to move off. As we trotted to where he was doing his first spin I asked for a 10 metre circle. We circled once, came back to the large circle and carried on to the top - I repeated the 10 metre circle at every point where he had been spinning. Sort of like the diagram below:
Now I know that 10 metre circles for a horse at his stage of training is something to be careful about because of the stress they point on his joints. However, I figured that his spinning was also stressing his joints and his mind (not to mention mine). And do you know what? It worked. I was able to break the train of thought he had about spinning out. After doing this twice I asked him to trot around the circle and he did - with no thought of spooking/spinning or being foolish.

I came to a halt, walked him out a bit and dismounted. I was pleased that I was able to work through all this without getting upset and I was able to keep my seat in the saddle and not get dislodged.

I will update you on the other rides later (spoiler alert- they get better and better).

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Small circles do stress the joints, but I think it's more like a repetitive, daily thing that hurts them. I don't think doing it a few times in one lesson to get his brain back would hurt him at all. You obviously made the right call since it got him to focus. Go Steele!


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