Monday, March 11, 2013

Never Take Off Your Training Hat

Today I took Trax down to Kims house where she helped me with his wild mane a little bit. She put some strategically placed braids and the did a little bit of trimming. Not a lot just yet, but the goal is to get it to lay a little better and then we will even it out and trim it just a little. She also trimmed around his hooves.

Not a great picture thanks to the wind

You can see it better here

We had a nice visit while we watched him do the Traxster Dance beside the trailer, calling and whinneying to who ever would listen although none of the other horses around seemed to care about what he was saying.

After I left there I decided since he was in the trailer we might as well hit the arena, but when we go there it was packed.  It was pretty nice out so I took him back home and saddle him up. I decided we would just go for a pleasure ride.  Then I started thinking about his personality assessment. If "going" is where he is most comfortable, why not use that as my training ground for walking and trotting like I want him too?  I recalled Jay telling me once, "Never take off your training hat."

Once we got off of our street, he lined out pretty nice. I did have the Mylar back on him and before we even left the house we did some tests, and yes, it is a much better bit for him. Back ups were smooth like butter, with head down instead of nose to the sky.  Stops were as good as they were going to get for a windy day.
Here he is in the new low budget headstall and Mylar bit.

As usual his natural tendency was to go go go, so I let him, but with conditions.  If he wanted to canter, that was fine but it had to be with grace and control. I can say he didn't care for that option much as he was cantering at an angle which was awkward an uncomfortable for both of us.  So then he went for his "million mile trot".  I love this gait, it is smooth enough that I do not need to post, but fast enough to really cover some ground.  But once again, there were conditions.  I insisted that he drop his chin and collect himself, or just drop his head all together.  For a while it was a battle.  I set my reins where I wanted them which was with very slight contact on his mouth.  He would take off with his head up, which would get a very slight see-saw from me.  I do mean slight too, just a little bump with my fingers. then he would drop his head and I would drop my contact.  He would hold it for a few seconds and then we would start all over again.  Over time though, I noticed that he held that position a little longer each time.

He did something on this trip I have never ever seen him do.  Our route consisted of out our road to the main road where the cars fly by at 70 mph. (I love the fact that he is not phased by a vehicle coming behind him in the slightest)  Then we head south to the closest "intersection" and turn east down a very long dirt road. this road goes up and down some very large hills, sort of back behind our house.  You can see our house from the road but it isn't close enough that you can see my other horses very well. At least I can't, but perhaps he can because he was whinneying like crazy for a while.  We were passing a couple of places that I know have horses, and do some breeding, but we could not even see those horses, so I am not sure who he was making all the noise for. Not one horse ever whinneyed back.

We moved along at a pretty good clip most of the time. He rarely made the choice to walk, but when he did it was a nice walk with his head down and relaxed. There were times when we had to cross back and forth across the dirt road for better footing. When it was time to do that I asked with a side pass. Every time he did it wonderfully.  I also spent a good amount of time paying attention to my posture and where I was going instead of always watching him.

I'm going to guess that we went maybe 2 miles, or perhaps just a little shy of that, so it wasn't a very long ride, but long enough.  When I turned him for home he really wanted to speed things up, but again, I insisted on collection. Oddly enough, I rarely had to ask for it towards home, he softened up so nice, my contact with his mouth was minimal. I was even able to ride one handed for a while. It was nice.  Until of course we made it to the intersection. The minute we turned that corner he turned into a fire breathing race horse, which was unacceptable to me so we did a one reined stop, faced away from home and just stood there for a bit. then I asked for a lateral bend in each direction. One he was able to give that to me without spinning, we headed home again.

Naturally he reverted back to head up mode, so I went back to asking for collection, and he did give it to me with out too much trouble.

All in all it was a really nice ride, and even though I had not planned on it being a training session, it ended up being a great one.   I seriously think I accomplished more on that ride than I have in an arena in a long time.  Mostly though it was nice to just be with my guy out and about. 

While I was gone TC had gone to his shop...

It is kind of far away, I took this as I was riding
And got a load of sand and filled my round pen with it.  When I got home and got my boy all put away, I grabbed Sassy and put her in there for some work. Mostly we just trotted and cantered, and the better footing really made a difference for her. The last time i put her in there she wasn't really wanting to move. this time she moved out nicely. We went about 5 or 6 min each directions and then backed up around the round pen 2 times.

All in all it was a great day. I felt like I got a lot accomplished with out even really having to work hard at it.


  1. Sounds like an excellent ride! And his mane looks really nice.

  2. That's so good! It's so true about never taking off your training hat, that's how you get the super easy going horse that you can ride on the buckle anywhere!