Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 2 of the Makin Trax Makeover

Today is a 2 post day. The first one being on Sassy.

If you look to the right of my page, on the side bar, I have listed my positive riding affirmations.  I read them before I go out to ride, and I say them to both myself and my horse before I ever even mount up.  I cannot tell you if it is helping yet, as today was the first day. Positive affirmations have worked for me in other areas of my life so I expect it to work here too.  I tend to buy in to my own self talk sometimes, and I have to get over that.

I knew I did not have a ton of time for riding today, and certainly not any time for major battles so my goals were few but my standards were high.

I did not expect him to do anything other than continue doing what we did the other day....

stop instantaneously.

Today we did not lope a single step.

Well that is not entirely true.  He did overshoot my cue  for forward, a couple of times but if he did, I insisted that he stop and then backed him up.  His effort to comply, although not perfect, was real. He wants to get along for sure.

But mostly it was just walk, stay soft, collect, stop, back up, and then I would change things up a bit.  Sometimes it was "execute the turn"  Sometimes it was "Now stand still"

We rode for about an hour.  That is a short ride for him.

When I said, "now stand still" I would do all manner of things to get him to move, except of course cueing him to move.  I leaned forward, adjusted my seat from side to side, leaned back, flopped my arms around, you name it, I tried it.  One time he moved, and I stopped him and backed him up. From then on, he stayed as still as a stone.

Good Boy!

90% of his stops were very nice, a few weren't but we worked through them.

We did try a few at a slow trot, I set my goal at 3 good ones at the trot. When I had them, I didn't do it again.

We are having trouble with the back ups. Not that he doesn't want too, but that keeping him in a straight line is challenging for me/us.  I try pushing with my legs to get him back over but it doesn't seem to be working. I have not figured out if I am using more pressure on one side than the other, or just what the deal is yet.

Sometimes I wonder if he isn't wiggling all over to prep for the turn, or because he isn't sure which way I want him to go.  With that in mind I decided to ask for just a little less.

First I try to make sure that I have even pressure with both legs, and then if I can get 3 steps that are straight, I stop.  We did that a few times right at the end of our ride, and the last one was a gorgeous stop, a nice 3 step straight back up, so I jumped off right there and called it a day.  Next time I'll ask for more straight steps.

The thing I have learned about Trax is there is such a thing as over kill.  Once he gets something, he usually gets it, and as long as I am consistent, he will be too.  Beating stuff into his head until he is sick of it usually back fires on me.

I suspect that is true for most horses.  I'm sure he isn't special.  (well to me he is)

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I did work on the circles and asked for a few steps of a spin.  One time I think I got 3 or 4. They were awkward and choppy but I could tell the difference in him. He is trying so hard to get it right.  When I started in with the smaller circles, he knew exactly what I was going to ask of him, I could feel that.

His hip falls out after a few steps though. I have to figure out why.  It might be because I let it.


  1. Sounds like he is trying for you. It's all about communication, isn't it?

  2. I noticed your affirmations yesterday Great idea. as for today, sounds like its coming , keep up the good work

  3. The spins will come with time. Right now, work on the other stuff. Get it right, make it solid and stop there. Don't expect too much at once or you will get it, but it won't all be good. Slow and right beats fast and wrong. Focus on One thing at a time.

    Good for you for Not working on the lope. When you get it consistently right in the walk, then the trot, the lope will come easy enough. Do it right, then just change gears and add a little speed. It may all seem like it is slowly coming together, but you guys are making progress in leaps and bounds.