Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Mediocre Ride

My new stirrups came yesterday, so the saddle is officially done! I wish I could somehow re-wrap the horn because the rawhide has come off the top, but I can't seem to find out how to do it and I'd probably have to take the saddle apart to make that happen anyway. The leather still needs more conditioning, but that will need to happen over time. I think it cleans up pretty nice!

Oooh, pretty!!
Lilly and I went for another barefoot ride today. I rode in the snaffle and we worked on the usual stuff... lots of trot circles, lots of cantering, and lots of stopping. She's been doing quite well with the cantering so I decided to incorporate a few canter stops into the routine today. She does really well with the transitions, but the goal of the canter stops is to get her anticipating the stop. She was starting to anticipate the stop, but she was also anticipating the canter cue as well, so I'm not sure what to do about that. We'd canter along, I'd ask for the stop, back her up, and then before I could ask for something else, she's trying to canter again.

After the canter work she kept doing this thing where she would walk super fast with her head down. It was like she was tuning me out and speed walking... to accomplish what, I'm not sure. I'd ask her to stop and sometimes she ignored me completely, sometimes she'd be a little startled but stop, and then she'd go back to speed walking. I had to do a lot of walk stop, walk stop, walk stop in very quick succession before she was finally paying attention.

I think she enjoys making my life difficult.

She was also being silly during our trot circles... I was trying to get a nice, steady trot and she wanted to be lazy, so I'd ask for a little more umph, and she'd start "cantering". The canter was strange, though, because it wasn't a true canter and she just kept popping herself up over and over in this super slow, strange canter transition. Granted, I liked how she was picking up her front end, but it wasn't even close to what I was asking.

While we didn't have a "bad" ride, I felt a little defeated and frustrated when we were done. I know we're working on quite a bit of stuff, but it felt like nothing went right and I had to fight with her on everything we worked on to get just a tiny bit of cooperation. I had to stop and take some deep breaths a couple times to get back my composure and it felt like I was in her mouth way too much. I don't like having to be that demanding with her but it just felt like she kept me tuned out for nearly the entire ride. Luckily Alex is going to rescue me on Saturday and come work with us, so hopefully she'll get me back on track in no time.

I took a couple body shots of her today just to track progress, so here she is before our ride.

Looking less pudgy all the time!
She's the cleanest horse on the farm! :)


  1. It's good that you have someone to help.

    I don't really have any suggestions because it sounds to me like normal 'training' stuff. Having an 'over-achiever' can be mentally wearing and sometimes frustrating, but you just have to separate your mind from your feelings and remember, It is not personal!

  2. I agree with BrownEyed Cowgirl. It sounds like she's trying too hard, which is a heck of a lot better than not trying. Keep it simple until you're sure she understands and does it well, then move on to the next thing.

  3. Well, Oberon is my little QH and he and I are working on kind of the same thing. I ride him with a loose rein and if I'm on his mouth, that means he really isn't listening to my "look, leg, lead". So, what I do, is if he starts trotting when I want him to walk, I gently run my hand down the rein and if he doesn't feel my "slide', then I gently pull up on the rein (half way up his neck) and if he doesn't respond to this, I bend his head around and possibly make him go in a circle by cuing him with my legs (no pulling on the mouth). Well, after a few days of this, today was amazing. All I had to do was slide my hand and he slowed down. No pulling on his mouth (although his ears did go back a bit as he wanted to go faster ;)

    I even took him out on the trail and tested it, because as you know, sometimes what one works on in the ring goes to pot on the trail. He was so good, we went all by ourselves, away from the herd in a wooded trail. When we hit the spot when he knows he's headed home he started trotting twice, but all I did was slide my hand down the rein and he listened.

    I am not sure if I did a good job explaining this.. it is hard for me to explain as I am just learning this myself from my trainer, James Cooler.

    Oh, and I am really interested in reading about your saddle issues... I have a short backed QH.

  4. R, just so you know, Cash is sending some mud Lilly's way. He says that no self-respecting mostly-white Paint horse should ever be that clean - well, for longer than 5 minutes anyway! Note Exhibit A in my barn - I now own a Palomino with black spots. ;)

  5. Bad days happen, don't let it get you down :)

  6. Thanks everyone!! You always make me feel better. :)

    Margaret, thank you for your suggestions! It can be a challenge having forward horses like ours. You never know what's going to work, so every suggestion helps!

    Jen, Lilly doesn't want Cash's mud... she's a princess!!

  7. After telling you how well it worked, today we battled it out and did a lot of ring work on slowing down. Boring for me and frustrating for him, but I really believe patience and repetition will win the day. I have my first true riding lesson tomorrow in the dressage saddle (I so want to get the western out, but I need to do this) and will have the trainers eye's on me and only me for over an hour... YIKES! Also, truly, let me know if you find out anything more of western dressage.

  8. You might try wrapping the horn with a dally wrap. Search for "horn wrap" on the Smith Brothers site. They have one that looks like rawhide. Or there are cheap rubber ones, too. I've never used one myself, I think they're for roping saddles, but why not?