We started with the snaffle and worked on lateral bends which came easier this time than the last time. Then we rode around the round pen and worked on leg cues and flexing at the poll. He is so hard and so stiff in that snaffle. But he did eventually give some so I was happy with that. I got some half way decent responses from the leg cues. It feels like he is trying. I switched to the hackamore and actually got so much more out of him. We lopped in circles working on lead changes (he did pretty good) and stops. I did a lot with trying to remember to put my focus on where I wanted to go instead of the back of his head. (and body position) It seemed to really make a difference. I have a large dirt circle that used to be a hole till I filled it in. The grass hasn't grown there yet (not enough water) so it is a good place to practice stops. Obviously my goal of projecting my focus worked really well because one stride before the dirt I thought , "ok we will stop there" but he stopped right then, before the dirt, even though I had not asked for it yet. Gotta work on my timing I guess. But he sure knew what I was thinking. It was kind of cool, even though I made the mistake, the fact that he was "with me", that was a nice feeling.
When I have the hackamore on him he is much more responsive. With the snaffle he seems to be bracing himself to fight being pulled on. I work really hard on not pulling on him, but his tendency to run through that bit makes it hard. Any movement from me at all and he starts moving in any direction he wants and I cannot stop him without pulling. I have two thought process on this. One I'd like someone who already rides soft to ride him and I'd like to watch to see how they handle that, and see if they have a solution. Second, he really wants to go, so perhaps taking him down to the arena and just making him go and go until he is ready to let down mentally and then working on softness and not running through my hands. I feel like my second option is kind of a cop out, but on the other hand the day of the clinic when we did the 5 million laps (ok so maybe not that many- but a lot!) once I felt him let down, was a major break through. First time I ever got a leg yield out of him. Is it possible that he needs that exercise to get himself "in the zone"? I have never done this and then worked him in the snaffle. I think it might be worth a try. Maybe then I could get a little more give out of him. I need to get him to where he is responsive in an actual bit. In the ranch horse competitions you are required to ride in a bit. A snaffle doesn't count.
I also recall that on that day at the clinic. Ryane was trying to teach me how to get him to move his front end in a cricle while I was on him. (the reining spin) I could not get that out of him that day. I have ridden him twice since then. Never for more than a 30 min due to my own personal lack of time. Yesterday, with the hackamore on, I asked for a leg yield and he gave it to me, both directions although always better to the right. (abused rope horse- problems on the left side- go figure). Then I asked for the spin tapped my toe on his shoulder, opened the rein on the opposite side, and first he tried to leg yield, and then back up but then it was as if the light went on and he crossed his front and left the back still. Then he did it again and did about half a circle. It was a fantastic try!!!! We did the other direction and with a little work got it too! I was so damn proud of him. We did it both directions one more time and called it a day. Then of course he got candies after he was untacked.
He love Candies! (carrot treats really- but they are candy to him)
We didn't work real hard, he barely even had any sweat under the pad, but I really felt like we got a lot done and of course it gets darker sooner everyday now and the sun was almost down.
Here are some more pics of the barn progress. We are getting another inspection to day and then I think the siding will start going up!! Yay!
|It looks low from here because it sits down into the side of our hill|
|this is from the lower side and where the stalls and runs will be|
The runs are a little narrow, but since they usually get out on pasture all day, it will be fine. They will have plenty of room to move around, plenty of inside space to get out of the wind and snow and will still be able to see each other. The inside walls will be made out of 2x12s but will have gaps for air flow but not big enough to get any feet caught in. It will be low enough that they can see each other but high enough that they cannot get their heads over. Then I will treat it with anti-cribbing stuff. The run walls will be wooden pole fence. No more t-posts!! With good gates at the ends and good latches. Preferable no more chains and clips. There will be a big sliding door to load pallets of cubes in through one stall, and then a Man door on the end of the storage that I can get to without going through the stall.
I think it is going to be a pretty good set up. Better than having horse food in two places and shelters at opposite ends of the property. We will tear down the old crappy shelters at the back end of the property and seed for next spring. The other shelter will stay as it is in a separate pasture and if someone is confined to that pasture (danny) he will still have shelter.
Well I'd best get some work done today. Hope everyone who reads this is well and happy. If anyone has any suggestion for my "runaway paint" I'd love to hear them.