After yesterday’s Horses Are Our Lives Chat Group discussion, I decided Savannah needs more ground work. I need her paying attention to me! And not looking everywhere but at me. (Click on name if you would like to join in the discussion or follow along).
After riding the other 2 horses, which I’ll talk about after this, I took a rope halter and cotton rope lunge line down to the lower lot. I planned on just working Savannah where the other horses were, so she had to pay attention to me.
I gave Sara my carrot stick to use, so I used a buggie whip in its place. Now, I know what it looks like to ask a horse to give its hip and I know how the horse is to respond, but I’ll sum up my time with this: Hubby asked if the horse is confused/getting it/learning or me?
I teach my horses to lunge, so giving Savannah credit, she thought I wanted her to lunge. Nooooo. When I point to your hip, you are suppose to move that hip away. Don’t lunge. Don’t run off. And Don’t run over me.
I shortened the lunge line. We went from a 20’ line to a 15’ line, and I could pull her head towards me easier when she went to lope off in a circle. I have the rope halter on, but sometimes it’s easier, well all the time it’s easier, if I use a chain over the nose for a little more control. Last year, that big girl would just turn her neck and pull the other way. The chain gave me the leverage that my body, and arms needed, so she didn’t pull away from me.
Shortening the line, and being a little quieter with the whip, helped. Finally, I got her to where she would just move her hip, and cross over her hind legs, and look at me. From both sides. So I petted her and left her looses. Enough for 1 day. Especially with me trying to hobble along and hold her with 2 gigantic blisters on the back side of my ankles, where a pair of old boots rubbed earlier in the day. I knew I shouldn’t have used them, but we were burning a little bit of brush, and they were the oldest pair I have. I was only in them for an hour, and I have the largest blisters that I have ever had! They still look nice, and now I know why. They pinch my toes, and after the blisters today, they are going in the goodwill bag!
Hubby thinks Shaggy is going to be his horse.
After burning brush this morning, the wind picked up. I free lunged Windy a few minutes, and she wanted to run. She is collecting up nice at the trot, and is staying soft and starting to extend at the long trot, instead of just picking up speed. She is starting to lope off while giving to the bit, but she still doesn’t like to be collected. Today, she gave me some kicks, and was told that wasn’t nice, and we reversed and loped off. Many times. I think she got it when one time, I reversed to the outside, and the next step was a lope step. Good girl.
I continued asking Windy (Tammy's horse, of Horsetrailriders.com) to stand still and mount from whatever I had around. Mounting block, upside down feeder, old water tank. Only when we approached something different was she hesitant. But she is learning to side pass over from the ground, and most of the time, she stands still.
Windy is starting to anticipate the side pass now. Today, I stopped and pause going over the logs, instead of just walking over them. Stopped and used some Centered Riding Breathing. Then asked for a step or 2 of the side pass. Windy likes to back up while going sideways, so I’m constantly asking for more forward motion. Anytime I work the 2 tract (half pass), I start walking forward first, then asked for the movements. My legs always need to be further back on Windy’s side, and I reinforce moving the hip by doing forehand turns also.
Shaggy is learning so fast. His lope has come a long way in less than a year. I really need to keep things slow for him, as he wants to think fast and do it. His trot is awesome, and I found myself working on the extended trot while in 2 point position. His trot will condition ME for CTR’s this year! Once again, I didn’t work him long, maybe 45 minutes, as I want to condition that leg that had been sprained a month or so ago. We loped both direction, and instead of working on him, I found myself working on myself and another Centered Riding exercise. As we lope, I lifted my shoulders, and I imagined my center going up and around, spinning backwards in a nice large pattern. I wanted him to slow down and have a lift “up” to his stride. What a difference in your own position when you do this.
I didn’t get to bring the 2 3 year olds into the barn and have them stand tied. I think I will add them to the agenda next week. But I did saddle Dixie, my 16 year old mare that I purchased last spring as another lesson mare. I took her to the field for a little over a ½ hour and for a 2 mile ride. That girl will be my extra trail horse. Point her and she goes. Down a short bank, straight down for 2 feet, and she couldn’t care. Through the fields. Ears perked, wanting to go. No whinnying. But she is out of shape and was huffing. I stayed out just long enough to get a few early sunset pics.
Next week, I’ll need to saddle both Chick and Dixie, and pony one so I can get them both to the field. I don’t pony horses, yet! But I will start. I wonder who will like to lead and who will like to follow?