Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 2 of Ride Week

Day 2 was pretty uneventful. The weatherman didn't lie about the temp but he forgot to mention the bank of clouds that was going to roll off the mountain and right over our arena at the exact time we would show up to ride.

I took my rope gate that TC made (which is made for a pony sized horse and not a big horse like Trax) and some poles to put on the ground.

I remembered to start with prayer, and then went to desensitization.  We used Simon s chinks this time and the bag/flag.  He was not near as relaxed this time as he was the day before. I'm sure it is directly related to no being at home.

When I stepped up on him he was a little run offish, but a few one reined stops helped that.  At least he doesn't run off while I am mounting. He is very good about standing still while I get both feet in the stirrups.  But the second I pick up the reins he starts to walk off. So we stop and go back to where we started and then when I ask to go, we go.

Again he is good with his flex to the right, but fights me to the left. In fact he tries to back up instead of going forward.  Last lesson with MK I was doing some serpentine like Jay had shown me and MK said that since we are trying  to get him to quit moving his hind around so much, to make my serpentine more like a 2 track to the left then a 2 track to the right while always asking for forward.  So I did that yesterday. Oddly enough, in a short time I had him giving me that left bend without backing up by doing this.  So now I know that I have a good tool to use.

Then we went to the chinks which were laying on the fence.  I was able to ask him to stand next to them without issue, and then bend over and pick them up and flop them around his shoulders.  Well done Buddy!

Next was the rope gate.  Can you say "EPIC FAIL"???  I finally got him to stand next to it and relax and lick and chew. But I went too far this time, by trying to reach over and pick up the rope. He did his usual bolt across the arena move, and then refused to stand next to it again.  So we did more work on the other side and then rested at the gate without attempting to pick up the rope.  From now on that will be the drill. I will work his butt off everywhere but there and that will be the only place we rest. Period.

Next we moved on to the poles. I set them up in 2 lines like the were at the clinic.  I am blown away but how quickly he picked up on what the routine is for this task.  I have not quite got him to where I can start at the outside of the poles for the side pass, but I did start him almost at the very end and then side passed him all the way down to the other end. He naturally lines up for the "go through" although got stuck there and kept wanting to side pass again.  I backed him up and we just walked through the middle of the poles 2 times and then started again. A near perfect side pass all the was down, flipped his butt, walked through, then backed back through them with maybe 2 faults for touching the poles.  Kim tried to video it with her phone, but something went wrong when she sent it because the pixels are all jacked up.  All you can see are squares and something moving.

I realized though that I was only asking for hm to side pass from the right, so then we did it from the left and he fell apart.  Knocked all the poles out of place, and got himself all worked up.  So when stepped back a notch and asked for one step at a time. Step, settle, step settle. Things went much smoother then.

His spins are coming along nicely. He can make it almost all the way around before his back end falls out of place. That is major progress as far as I am concerned.

I feel like I am really starting to put things together in my rides.  Looking where I am going instead of looking down is becoming second nature, and I feel I am much better with the way I am using my legs and spurs. More solid contact with the calf first and then rolling the spur on with solid pressure. It shows in how Trax responds, which is less reacting (tail swishing) and more doing.

Holy Crap, you can teach an old woman new tricks!

Tonight we will meet up again for just a trail ride. This is when I will really work on that flex while moving forward routine.  Kim says she has a 2 miles loop that she does, which takes about an hour at a trot.  That should be perfect for what I want to accomplish.

Happy Hump day everyone!


  1. I wonder - and this is just a thought - whether Trax has some physical difficulty to the left. I wouldn't be surprised if an ex roping horse had some stiffness or something. Maybe some stretches or massage/chiropractic would help? Or maybe that's just his difficult side mentally.

    1. Actually Andrea, I suspect you may be absolutely correct in that thought. MK and I even discussed this possibility. I got the number of an equine chiro recently and my goal has been to get her out there and assess a few of my horses. Unfortunately my financial situation hasn't permitted it yet. I think it is very likely both mental and physical.

  2. Sounds like you guys are making progress! I find thats the best thing to do with high strung horses when they get worked up over something (like a rope gate) is to refocus them on something else and come back to it later. He'll definitely get over it if thats the only place he gets to rest!!