Monday, April 14, 2014

Riding Quietly

The other day I posted a video of Mark riding Trax, and how I wish I could ride quietly like that and like others that I have seen.

Here is another link of someone I have seen who rides quietly.

I guess the correct term would be "with proper equitation".

That is one of my goals as a rider, so today when I rode I tried to analyze what the heck it is I am doing.

Now I know.

But first let me back up just a hair.

You see, the horse in that other video, she is for sale.  If you have not watched the video, please go back and do so now....I'll wait.

Okay, so if you saw my comments on youtube under the video you know now that I have contacted this gal about buying this horse.

(I wonder how many of you are don't have time for the horses you have!- and you are right, luckily this is not a young horse who needs constant training and riding every day.)

 I was sick on Saturday so did not go to the clinic.  I knew Friday I was not going to make it, because I felt like crud then too.

However by Sunday I did feel better, and so I did make the trip down to see Miss Melody, the mare.

When I arrived the gal was just finishing up with a sorting practice and the mare was a little wound up. Not like fire breathing dragon wound up, just a little hot.   She put her through her moves, then hopped off (with perfect grace) and asked if I wanted to ride her.

Well duh!

This mare is quite tall.  I really had to haul myself up to get on her, about like Killian I guess.  And we set off in cute little circles around the arena.

Now I know what it really feels like to ride a horse that is truly soft in the face. My horse is not soft yet.  He is getting there, but he isn't there yet.

Now I know what it feels like to ride a horse that truly understands and accepts what leg cues are.  With this girl, it is all leg.  The owner kept having to tell me, "Ride her one handed!"

I squeezed gently with my legs and we were trotting, another slight squeeze and she had the sweetest little lope I have ever felt in my life.  All I had to do was sit there....

...and I was riding quietly.

Yes ladies and gentlemen we have a winner!

I fumbled around with asking for a lead change, a couple of times I got it right, most of the time I did not, and in spite of me, she figured out what I wanted and gave it to me.   She was a very patient horse.

Then I asked the gal how to do the spin.  I will admit to being a little bit nervous.

I should not have been. Melody took fantastic care of me.

"Drop your hand, push with the outside leg."


Then I heard, "Release your legs!"

So I did and wham!  We stopped.  Then we went the other direction. This time I did not need help.

I rode her around a little more.  In all that time, there stood TC with not one but 2 phones that take video. I finally asked him to take some video and he did.  The only video he actually got was one of us standing there and even then he cut our heads off.

I am in love.

She will be mine and I will learn much from her, and I will hopefully be able to transfer that from her to Trax and Sassy...and maybe even Killian.  Right now I am trying to move heaven and earth to make this happen.

In the mean time, I went back to riding my boy. He is a good boy and he is trying really hard....except when he isn't.

That's okay, at least he is trying some of the time.

His new favorite thing is long trotting while collected. I have not yet decided if he likes showing off his skills, or if he likes it because it is as close as he is allowed to get to loping.

Not that I never lope him, but I never lope him for very long.   Anyway, he did good today, we struggled with our lead changes, but finally sort of mastered them.  I know now that I am teaching him wrong. But I don't know how to get around that yet.

We did side passes, and leg yields and his version of spins, which he is starting to do pretty well as long as I remember to sit down in my seat.

I tried my best to just sit still and ride him, but it just isn't possible. He requires constant manipulation or he just goes off and does his own thing.  This true with everything we do except long trotting.  I can ask him to hold it, and just ride it out, and hardly move a muscle.  I guess that is progress.  I can speed him up or slow him down with just a shift in my weight, however walking has become non-existent again, so we went back to "rail classes" where we did lots of walk, trot, extended the trot, lope, trot, walk, and stop. Turn around and do it again.    By time we were done he was loping nicely, head down and not chargy at all.  We did some stops from the lope, they were fair, not perfect, but decent enough for now I guess.

So that is the key, I can see that now. When my horse is doing his job, I can ride just fine. When he isn't then I am all over the place just trying to keep control of his feet....and brain.  This isn't about me not trusting him either.  When he acts like a horse I can trust, I do so implicitly. When he acts like he could go either way...well self preservation takes over, and I take control.   I think I would be a fool not too at this point.

We did do some ground driving yesterday.  I did he and Sassy.

Sassy being a big girl

He never did get quite as nice as he did the
first time. However, he had been ridden
just a few horse before the first time as well. 

Here he is thinking about it all.
At one point he kept trying to spin around into the
the long reins. So I let him.
When he finally calmed down, I used my reins to turn him
round and untangle himself.  

So, I have much to learn, much to do, the weather is getting warmer now, and I'm less motivated. However the next clinic is in June in Flagstaff, and I would still really like to go.  I am developing an understanding about Trax.  I am asking him to walk before he as even learned how to crawl yet.  I am really start focusing our time together on the basics, and quit worrying about the fancy moves and such. For now, lets just learn how to ride correctly together.


  1. Love that mare!!! What an awesome girl!! I'm in a similar boat with my Quarter right now. He's super willing to please, very quiet, but he has an awful gait and I'm constantly...well, bumpy as opposed to quiet. ;) It's time for us to do the same, stop worrying about fancy training and just learn how to click together in the saddle!

  2. If you want I can come over again and we can get the ground driving sorted out. It shouldn't matter if he was ridden before ground driving or not and preferably you should be doing one or the other, not both on any given day.

    1. We did finally get it sorted out, it just took longer this time is all. However, I could really use some help with Sassy. We were all over the place.

  3. WOW, nice looking horse in that video and the girl looks like a very talented rider. Of course, riding a well behaved, well trained horse helps too :) Will this be your show mare and Trax will become your trail horse?

    1. The gal is a very talented rider, but I can really tell you that when I was on her, I also felt like a talented rider most of the time. It would not take me long at all to get confident on this horse.

      So yes, if I get her, and I'm sure gonna try, I will use her for show, and I will continue Trax on his manners, and learning how to do stuff. But knowing that he doesn't love arena work, once I have a horse that does, it could really open a door for him. I think endurance or competitive trail is still in his future and I think he would be stellar at it!

  4. I knew it was just a matter of time:) Congratulations, there is nothing like riding a nice, well-broke horse and she is a beauty. I hope she does everything you want her to.

    1. Yes, I knew it too. I was looking with out actually looking, and just "waiting" for something that felt right. She felt right from the moment I saw her and even more so when I got on her. Although don't congratulate me yet. She isn't mine yet. I still have to sell one of my vehicles to come up with the money.

  5. Yes, nothing like a well broke horse you give you confidence! She looks like a nice mare, and one you can go to showing on pretty much right away. Hope you get her.

    1. I hope so too Shirley, she sure felt nice under me. I keep watching the video of her trying to find some reason to not want her, but I can't. My biggest concern with this one was her age and being afraid of some hock issues, which is often the case. But I timed my visit perfectly and she had just finished working her butt off and moved just fine. I'm sure she has a little arthritis going on, but nothing that can't be managed with proper care.

  6. I feel like there is one thing I should make clear. Just because I am looking at getting a horse that is easy to ride, does not mean I am giving up on Trax. TC asked me if I got this horse if I would be willing to sell Trax. The answer is no. Not on your life, and if I have to get rid of him to have another horse, then I will do without the other horse. Trax is my horse. God brought him to me for a reason, and just because I want to learn to ride on a horse that isn't so mentally tough, doesn't mean I am giving up on him. His life is with me. Period.

    I am constantly reading and listening to a lot of big trainers say that the hardest thing to do in the world is for a green rider to try and learn on a green horse. I'm taking that one step further by being a green rider who is trying to fix a broken horse. My communication skills suck. I want to refine them. I want to learn how it feels to do it right, so that Trax and I can get it right. I still believe in him. I believe that somewhere in there lies a great horse. It is my job to help him find it.

  7. I'm just so proud of you I could bust!! That's the attitude that will make Trax into a better horse than anyone ever dreamed he could be...

    And if you get this mare (which I have my fingers crossed)...You are gonna have a blast with her!!

    1. Thank you, I needed to hear that !

  8. She's a beauty, and what a lovely eye she has. She can be your cow working horse and Trax can be your dressage horse. English style horses are used to steady rein contact with minute adjustments and communications going on all the time. I bet Trax would find that reassuring. No need to arc up and have to try to calm his hot self down again, and no ropes. :)