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)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm back to riding and training this week. It's been a long winter, and even a longer time for me to feel this good. I plan on blogging nightly about my day, but as you see, I'm alreay to days late, lol! I'll have 2 posts today for the last 2 days!

I'm also talking about Training Tips and Centered Riding Exercises on my Horses Are Our Lives Chat Group. Click here if you would like to join in or just follow along.

Tuesday and Wed's thoughts:

Gorgeous Days

I’m going to lump the last 2 days into one post. The last 2 days have been just plain gorgeous. Both Top 10 days. Warm 60-70 degree weather. A little bit of wind but we’ll take it if the days are this warm. When I was in the shelter of the trees at the outside arena, there was almost no wind. I just love sun and warmth!

And I will repeat what I said the first day of the week, I sure loved being in the barn the last 3 days! The horses didn’t agree. Shaggy whinnied the first day, then stood quiet. Savannah whinnied and tried to climb out of the stall both days. She didn’t succeed.

I had always used web halters, but I had a rope halter on her yesterday. I’m sure the extra pressure of the rope on her poll told her to stay down. She didn’t learn the lesson and tried to go back up today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Windy is such a good girl when tied. She just stood there, waiting her turn. She was good until we went to the arena! And then she just showed me some mare attitude with “I don’t want to work” attitude. We worked through all of that.

Good riding days. Yesterday, (Tuesday) I worked on Tammy's Windy, as well as lunging Savannah under saddle, and lunging and riding Shaggy. Shaggy's leg is better, a little bit of puffy area, but no swelling and no heat. I put sport boots on him for support and I saw and felt no gimpiness. and boy did he move! I think he is even a better mover than Finny was. I had a great day outside, can you tell? :-)))

Savannah was only free lunged under saddle. She could have cared less if I was there, flapping the lunge line, that had a baggie attached to the end of it, around. I kept moving her and she kept paying attention to something else. Is this a THW trait? She was sweating after that first day, but she never really paid attention to me. I don’t know why and I don’t like that. She should have, eventually, turned and come to me. I guess we’ll be free lunging a lot, to set me up as her leader.

Shaggy through the logs

Shaggy lunged beautiful, with no signs of soreness. And boy, did he move. He trotted and loped freely, with a little playful horse play amongst the loping. I flapped the baggie around him too, and he didn’t care. Every time I stopped flapping the lunge line with baggie attached to it, he would walk up to me. I rode him lightly on Tuesday, as I didn’t want to aggravate his leg and any potential residual soreness. We trotted, and I worked him at a posting trot and at a 2 point. Boy, is he a smooth ride. And he can cover ground. Shaggy is my Centered Riding horse, and I plan on taking dressage lessons with him. I didn’t lope him, just walked and trotted the arena and logs. I cooled him off by walking, side passing, 2 tracking, and walking the logs.

Windy saying I'm done lunging and I'm watching you.

Windy went back to work. I free lunged her again, and she left me know when she was done lunging, as she would stop and look at me. LOL She didn’t walk up to me, but I’ll continue to work on that bonding. She needs to learn that I’m the leader and she needs to learn to accept the human as leader. She watched intently though, and I just loved her expressions. As I put the lunge whip away, she did approach. We are to work on quietly standing still while mounting, so I had her approach the mounting block from both directions, getting on and off both sides. She did well.

We continued working the collected trot, both at the sitting and posting trot. Once she was moving freer, and moving more willingly forward, we worked on the collective lope. This takes some leg from me to hold her in that frame, and this takes a mental mind from her, as this is a mental and physical job for her. Once again, she left me know that she didn’t like this job, and with a toss of her head, she left out a kick as we loped off. Stop, one swat, reversed, and lope off. 2 times around, no kick out. Stop, reverse, lope off, no kick, just ears back, lope a few times around. Repeat until ears where better and Windy was puffing. Now we have the mind, and we walked off on a relaxed long rein. She side passes and 2 tracks but her hip lags behind. I worked on moving the hip more. I worked on more forehand turns, asking the hips to move around. I think the trick with Windy is the leg needs to be further back to encourage the hind legs to move. She anticipates the side pass, so I worked on stepping over logs and waiting, then just ask for 2 or 3 good side pass steps, then moved forward. On the side pass, she has a tendency to back up.

Today, (Wed), I worked and rode all 3 horses. I just need to add the 2 3year olds to the daily routine now, as well as Dixie and Chick, the 2 lesson mares. They need to be in shape for the trotting that the lesson kids want to do!

Savannah, standing tied after being worked. She needs to learn patience!

Wed was a repeat of Tuesday’s work. I lunged Savannah a little less, working on getting her attention on me and not on the trees, the birds, any movement, the horses that she can barely see in the other lot, and…. She was calmed and walked up to me. I rode her at the walk and the gait. With Savannah, I’m learning to hold my hands a little higher above and forward of the horn and take a light hold on the reins. She will gait easier that way. With her tendency to want to see everything, this helps to hold her straight. Her response to something that unrepentantly happens is to always rush forward, holding her helps me to keep her from jumping ahead of herself. I worked on bending any time she gave an inclination of excitement. Any time she wanted to move forward too fast, I stopped and reversed out, and moved on down the opposite rail. I think she got the hint. I’ve decided I’m going to work her like we work Chick, our reiner. She is going to physically work until I have that mind. She will be a broke quiet horse!!!

Shaggy appeared just a little puffy on his one leg, which could just be residual swelling. So after a little bit of lunging, I rode him at a walk with minimal trotting. I’m in no rush with him. He doesn’t buck and he doesn’t bolt. I want him quiet. So we walked and side passed and worked on a few logs. My phone beeped as we went by a stack of logs, and wouldn’t you know it, he thought those logs were after him for the next couple of passes around the arena. We stopped and studied the logs after that. Isn’t it something what a strange sound at a particular instant can do to a horse’s mind? Those logs meant nothing until a sound was made as we were by them.

Windy free lunging easily, going over the logs.

Windy showed a little more attitude today, but I find that happens as I work horses. They don’t like work mode. Her trotting is smoothing out and she willingly lopes. She now tries to lope too fast. I hold her in a collective lope. Each time I let her have an inch, she takes it and sticks out her nose. We stop, trying to get her to stop collectively, and I am always asking for the back at the stop with her. In this way, she’ll start to stop, using her hind end. I always end on a relaxed walk with her, as she enjoys walking out, and I want to end the training time on something fun for her.

Tammy has been working one of her other horses at home. She’s going to be ready when Windy comes home! Windy needs to have a little work time each day, just for the mind set, then she’ll always be ready to go down the trail!


Sara said...

Roz is a lot like Savannah. Just free lunging her wasn't work and she continuously showed disrespect. So maybe lunging Savannah like you saw me do with Roz a couple of weeks ago may help establish you more as a leader. Putting her on the line and making her watch your body language for cues to stop, move her hip, move her shoulder, turn. It sounds like she is desensitized to the flag which is great but she may also be blocking you out instead of respecting what you are asking her to do. Plus, the little extra work may help her wear down and help her willingness to be a little more patient when she is tied. Glad to hear you had a couple good days in the saddle! Can't wait to hope on Shaggy soon...maybe we should plan some trails the next time you are here, bring Chick for Dad and take Peaches, Roz and Pody. There are some gorgeous places to ride that are really close!

Horses Are Our Lives said...

I worked Savannah on the ground today. Dad asked if the horse was confused or if the person was! lol I got the effect that I was after...I wanted her to turn and face me, and she did, without running off.


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