Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gate Work

It rained all day Sunday, which meant riding my horse was out of the question. It also meant the arena was going to be too soggy to ride yesterday, so we just played around a bit in the grass. I hadn't worked on showmanship in quite a while, but she did really well.

I thought for sure the arena would be decent enough to ride in today, but it was still quite soggy. We made the best of it, though, and did some walking and trotting and I decided to try some gate work. Alex suggested I work on opening and closing the arena gate from Lilly's back instead of leading her around and opening the gate that way.

She actually did really well! I'm so used to riding her with two hands that it was a bit of a challenge for me too, but we managed to open and close it without much of an issue at all. She struggled a bit at first because she didn't want to sidepass with the gate... I think she thought it wasn't going to move, but then when it moved with her, I saw the light bulb go off. She didn't get frustrated or upset and each time we did it, she got better. We went in twice and out twice.

With any luck, the arena will be nicer tomorrow... with even more luck, someone will drag it to help it dry!

After we were done riding, I took her back out to the pasture. I always give her a flake of hay and we've started doing carrot stretches again. I've been doing them for less than a week, but Lilly already knows where her next carrot can be found. I always stretch her left side, then her right side, and then I stretch her between her legs. After I was done stretching her right side, she went ahead and put her head down between her legs looking for her next carrot! I guess I'm going to have to switch it up and bit next time...


  1. Of COURSE she did great! She loves having a job, learning new things, and is super smart!

    I'm glad you guys did so good and had fun!

  2. Lol on the carrot stretches - Cash will stretch to "beg" for a treat! Some of them are just too smart for their own good!

  3. Double LOL on the auto-stretching. As soon as I take my pony into the grooming stall he's reaching back to his hips! Too smart for my own good!

  4. I just saw a really great clip on Julie Goodnight about maneuvering the gate. If you can find it online it's worth the watch! It's a lot more slow forward movements and less sidepass - never pull the gate towards you :) Lilly's my favorite mare ever!!!

  5. Alex, Lilly seemed very proud of herself after we opened it the first time... you should have seen her reaction when I latched it and rubbed her neck!! :)

    Jen, I completely agree! And we've only been doing it for a few days... she is a bit of a carrot whore. LOL

    SillyPony, I guess Junior loves his stretches too! I wondered how many other horses stretch on their own waiting for carrots...

    OBL, LOL! Thanks! I'll tell Lilly she's got a fan club! :)

    And even though I was sidepassing a lot, I always pushed the gate away from us. The gate swings both ways, so going in we push it into the arena and then I spin her around so that when we close it, I'm pushing it away again. Then it's the opposite when we leave the arena. I managed to do it without taking my hand off the gate too! Pulling the gate toward me would definitely be a bad idea! I'll have to try and find that video to see how she's doing it.

  6. Isn't it funny how quickly they catch onto a pattern? That's a particular trap I keep trying to stay out of when I working on teaching my horses something new. It's hard!

  7. I'm glad she liked it. Now to find other things like that to teach her. She will love it and be eager to learn something new each time you work with her!


  8. ! Awesome on the gate work! Are you guys gonna start trail classes too? Lilly would probably rock!