Nothing earth shattering happening over here. I have ridden several times since last posting all focusing on the one lingering fear that haunts my riding: running off.
Now, H’Appy is not going to really ever run off. Maybe to the next patch of clover or to the in gate but let’s be real here. Fat Boy ain’t going nowhere. But…I really dislike the feeling that I’m not actually in charge. It makes me very defensive and defensive riding is not the best.
So my rides of late have been all about making sure Mister knows who says what. To that effect I set up a very simple line of two verticals set at 60′. While I had the tape measure in my hand I went ahead and measured the height and then scolded myself for jumping so low and moved them up a hole. To a whopping 20″. I told you nothing earth shattering happening.
Anyway. The first night I started off trotting in and letting him canter out, then moved to cantering in and out but Homeboy decided he was going to decide how fast and where his feet went, so he got to canter in and then immediately return to the trot after the in jump and trot over the out. Then he got to jump the in, perform a 20 m circle and go over the out. I liked that it made him have to pay attention to me, but I worried that I was teaching him not to go through the line so I only did that a couple of times before returning to going straight through.
Overall that ride was pretty darn fantastic.
The next ride I added a third jump on the diagonal to give me something to focus on after the line instead of letting him sneak in a celebratory gallop lap before coming back to me. I started off wanting to really work on the bend on the flat before getting to the jumps hoping it wouldn’t take very long. I’ve been a little slack on that lately, letting him go around too straight.
Well, let me tell you Doofus was highly offended that I actually wanted real work and not just fun jumpies. He let me know it too. Lots of tantrums and lots of OPINIONS being thrown around.
You know what though? This was the worst he has been in months and it was still way better than his good behavior last fall. I remained calm, ignored him and carried on as if he was being the good boy I know he can be.
It took a while. Longer than I’d like, but he eventually got the memo that moving our rib cage is a thing we can do nicely and without giving me the bird in the process. It was hot that night, pushing 90F already, and humid with incoming storms so after he finally chilled out and gave me the flat ride I wanted, I popped him over the new three jump course once each direction and called it a night.
Phew boy but that ride was a lot of hard work.
I’m into the final push before my test so I’m not sure he will get ridden at all the next 10 days unless any local blogger wants to come down and hop on him. Free fun for everyone!!! I joke, but I’m also serious.
11 thoughts on “Tackling Issues Head On”
I love your arena! Also, love how you get to work in your rides and get so much accomplished!
Not jealous of 90 degrees and humidity though…
Thanks. The arena has been the bane of my existence since we bought the place but it is finally coming around.
Best of luck on your tests and its nice to hear that his tantrum rides are still better behaved than what the good rides were last year, it’s always nice to move that needle forward!
Yes it is. Any noticeable improvement is better than feeling like I am spinning my wheels and going no where.
“This was the worst he has been in months and it was still way better than his good behavior last fall. ” this is so much progress in one sentence. Well done!
It is a combination of him realizing he can’t get away with it and me realizing I have tools to stop him. We have come a long way this spring.
My trainer loves the circle-in-the-middle-of-the-line exercise and not once has a horse ever not gone well when we go back to going straight through 😉
Good to know! I was a bit worried I was teaching him to run out or something. I liked how it kept him focusing on me instead of barreling through me to get to the jump.
Exactly! Helps keep them listening, focused and helps maintain balance and rhythm!
It’s so awesome how far you’ve come with him in terms of getting that good ride outta him even when he’s maybe in a “nah” kinda mood lol! Good luck with your test 😉
It can take a bit of convincing him to come to work, but those rides are getting fewer and farther between these days.