Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great Training and Ride Day

All photos are of Windy, compliments of Tammy (

I continued working Savannah on the ground, asking her to give her hip both directions. My young 3 year old gelding, Duster, came over to bother us, as I was working Savannah in the horse lot. 2 things were very interesting. Since he was right there, I asked him to move his hip. Him without halter or lead, me holding another horse. And he gave his hip both directions. Secondly, this young gelding is never tense. As I was doing these manuevers, he would lick and chew. Hmmmm. After the Chat group discussion about Van Hargis saying licking comes from a tense horse, I’m seeing a young, very confident, horse lick and chew BECAUSE HE UNDERSTANDS SOMETHING. Him, tense? I think not. Bully in a non-pushy way, yes, but never tense. I adore him, as much as I adore Shaggy’s big puppy dog ways!

I’ve had Tammy’s, ( horse Windy here all week. She was in for a tune up on giving to the bit and collection work at the trot and lope, standing still while mounting, and side passing. Yesterday, Tammy came today to watch me ride Windy and to take a lesson on her. After we rode, we went to the field to ride.

Windy showed a little attitude at the trot, which she got corrected for, but then rode off without hesitating. She has learned to stay collected at the trot, giving nicely to the bit. We circled and made small figure 8’s, while she stayed in frame and had a very smooth trot. Coming out of the figure 8, we moved on down the rail at the extended trot. We stopped and reversed and went the other way.

Once her trot leveled out and stayed smooth, I asked for the lope. There was no kicking out and she kept her nose tucked. I am working on her stops, asking her to keep her nose tucked and stopping with her hind legs under her. She is starting to understand the moving with her body in frame is better for her. I’m wondering if the kicking out was a sign of soreness or defiance. But as I work quietly with her, she appears to understand that the collected movement is easier than head up and hollow back.

Tammy took a lot of pics and video. Hubby always said I should set the old camcorder up and video my rides. They are very insightful! I saw where I need to work on Windy. I saw how I rode. I saw how the horse responded with what I did.

Tammy rode and did very well. I had encouraged her to quiet her hands and she did a great job. I asked her to carry my hands a little higher, at the height of the horn, as this helps to lift a horse’s shoulder. I was amazed that I rode with hands a little lower than I wanted her to ride. But my hands are moving slightly, very little, and I really need to watch myself ride more often!

I had a wonderful time riding and teaching. Maybe it started because I Centered myself and started with some Centered Riding exercises with Tammy. Maybe because I centered myself and became calmer. Maybe because I centered myself and enjoyed the moment.

Tammy and Windy responded well together, and we took Windy to the point where working became hard for Windy. I talked about that with Tammy. Windy had worked physically and mentally, and all 3 of us were done. Let’s find something easy to do and be done.

The 3 of us walked to the barn. Tammy and I got a cold drink, I bridled Shaggy who was already saddled and standing quietly tied, and we headed to the field. How much fun is it to ride horses that are matched movers? I needed to be a little cautious with Shaggy, as he just came back from having a sore ankle a month and ½ ago. I have been riding him with sport boots to support his ankle.

We weren’t long in the field before Tammy wanted to move out. LOL Slow trot, extended long trot, then a slow lope for me and a little bit faster lope for Windy. We crossed the road and rode a ½ mile north, then a ½ mile west, weaving through the fields. Trotting and loping. Extended trotting and posting. Loping. We circled back around, adding another mile to our ride. Then letting a little bit loose and running. Tammy was ahead, Shaggy felt good, and I just HAD to let him out a little. Oh my goodness. Have you seen on the races when the TB is held back, let go, and he spurts ahead? Now, Shaggy didn’t spurt, but he went. I told Tammy I was behind her, then I was beside her, then I shot ahead. Tammy went sideways, lol. I pulled Shaggy up, as I didn’t want to strain his leg any more that I already had.

He is a mover. Maybe a better mover than Finny. Maybe things really do happen for a reason. We only know afterwards the “why”. All I know now is that I’m glad I kept Shaggy and I am enjoying riding him. I have always like his “looks”. He was handsome at 6 months, and at 3 years, and now. What a mover! I just need to balance my Centered Riding work, and my future dressage lessons, and the trail riding with his mind. I want to keep him as balanced and calm as I want my life.

Tammy and I ended the ride by walking through a CRP field, kicking out some deer, twice. We walked a tree lined field, enjoying the scenery. Walking back to the barn we only rode an hour and a ½, riding almost 6 miles. And the tension, and the last year and 5 months melted away, and I was in the moment.

The training and lesson day ended with 2 friends catching up, lounging on chairs, with a glass of Shiraz. The only sounds were the birds in the trees and the horses moving in the distance. The day was still warm, and there wasn’t a breeze, and it felt wonderful to just lounge.

Take time for yourself each day. I have enjoyed sitting with a cup of coffee at the end of each day, listening to the sounds outside. Today, I sat with a glass of wine with a good friend. And the peace and calmness was there.

After a deep breath, I sense the beginning of a different way of life. I life I want to share with my grandbabies. After many years with horses, I am still learning. I am learning that I am always learning.


Tammy said...

It was one of the best horse days I have had in a long time; a good escape from winter. Thanks for taking such good care of Windy. I had a blast!

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Me too! and I should have said all Photos "Compliments of Tammy", which I will do now!

Annette said...

Brenda, please keep these blogs coming. They are wonderfully informative and easy to follow and understand what is happening. Thanks for the journey!!


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