dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Oh, You Mean it's Leg to Hand?

First of all, my post about the great Hay Crisis received a lot of comments.It clearly is an issue near and dear to the hearts of horse owners. I had a number of people reach out to me on FB and offer their hay. Which goes to show how good and kind people are.

I recieved a call last night from the people who I get my hay from and they assure me that I will be able to get hay Friday (or possibly Saturday at the latest). Or as she put it 'it's full on haying'

So phew.
I won't be fully relieved until I see this. 

I have been putting Irish and Carmen up in the ring after supper to graze. I don't fully trust the fencing so I stay out in the barn and do chores while keeping an eye on them. I can see a real benefit for Carmen as she taking herself to all the scary parts (because they are also the parts with the most and best grass).

It's really hard to take her seriously when she insists that an area is too scary to be ridden through but I've seen her there eating away. #busted.
yup. totally terrified

I've been shifting the focus of my rides to more on the task at hand and that she can't blow me off because she's looking for trolls in the trees, grass, sky and whatever. We start with a longish rein walking around the ring. If she wants to look at something I let her. Then it's time for work and I expect her to stay with me. 

Some rides that easier than others. On Tuesday she started off quite tense but relaxed into the work and I was able to finish with working on the stretchy trot circle. I started at the walk to explain what I was looking for and then picked up the trot. What is key is keeping her forward and reaching for the bit. 

This was made clear to me at the clinic a couple weeks ago. It's not that no one has told me that  horses need to reach for the bit and a backwards hand solves nothing. But watching riders with the same issue being coached through it really helped it to clarify in my mind. So at the trot I made sure that she was forward and steady on the bit. When she wasn't I put on leg. I refused to take back with my hand (trust me that is really hard to avoid when she sucks behind the contact). Once I had her there I released a little bit to invite her to stretch for it. If she grabbed it I shortened the contact and we started again.  

 I started off with a small reach and then gradually increased it. I could feel her really start to understand the ask. Oh, you want this? After a few rounds of this I called it a day. 

Yesterday she started off calm but was less in a mood to go forward (Carmen: what does she expect, it was close to supper time and I was STARVING).  I didn't give up, even when she threatened to spook. I kept a short rein, steady contact and pushed her forward to my hand with my leg. At times I needed a few pony club kicks to get my point across. 

forward and reaching 

It wasn't a horrible ride, just one with a few more discussions. I didn't work on stretching, instead I focused on transitions and staying over her back, not accepting that she can hollow and fall on the forehand. It was far more work for both of us but it ended with some nice square halts and some true double transitions (trot-halt and halt-trot). And she didn't spook at all or run out through her shoulders (although she tried a couple times).

It's funny how you can hear something and even think you understand it but it doesn't truly resonate until you see it with someone else.

post ride bath and snack


  1. I’m so glad you will be getting hay shortly!

  2. Oh right... LEG to hand. It seems so logical, and yet my hands love to get all grabby.

  3. It must be so wonderful when she understands what you ask of her.

  4. omg she is SO busted about that 'scary" corner hahaha. but also yea i totally hear you on sometimes needing to see, listen, observe with someone else in order for a concept to really click


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