This week I have been trying to religiously longe Dusty and Blue to get them in shape. Dusty has been walking and trotting (a little) and I’m happy to say she looks really good and, even better, she is behaving on the longe. In the past this usually wasn’t the case with her. She would normally start out at the walk and then take off into a sort of running canter. This week I was very proud of her for keeping her enthusiasm in check. Her walk consisted of long measured strides and her trot was a moderate pace with lots of long and low, which in turn stretched her muscles and lifted her back. Dusty is working on a very large circle and she’s learned to halt square and wait patiently for me to approach her with her reward for a job well done. She got lots of rubs, muzzle kisses, "good girls" and of course some treats. When the session was over I did ask her where Dusty was and what she had done with her. She didn’t feel the need to answer so we left the arena and she hand grazed for a while.
Blue, on the other hand, used to be a professional on the longe. Seems he’s forgotten everything he ever learned about what is expected in walk, trot, canter and halt. For whatever reason he’s turned into a complete wing nut on the longe lately. He’ll start out with a nice walk then trot for a circle or two and then morph into a canter/gallop with a few bucks thrown in for good measure. Personally, I didn’t think he had a buck in him, but I’ve been proved wrong. The only way to stop him, because apparently he’s forgotten what "Ho!" means, is to cut him off in the corners. By this I mean I have to get in front and ahead of him which in turn makes him slam the breaks on. We’ve got this stop down now but we’re still working on the listening cues. Today we ended up with some decent work once or twice in each direction and quit with that. I know he knows better and I also know nothing is hurting him. What I think his problem is: he simply doesn’t like to be told what to do. He’s a very stubborn horse and likes things his way. Unfortunately for him that’s not going to fly and we’ll be working on his attitude adjustment in the future.
Not all horses have the same work ethic and it’s up to us to make exercise and work interesting and fun when possible. Another part of the problem, I think, might be that the entire herd has basically had the winter off and getting back into a routine may not be on their agenda. They may be feeling like a wild herd at the moment, but I’m sure they can be domesticated again, even if it takes a little time.
Until next time
Quote for Today
In training horses, one trains himself
- Antoine De Pluvinet
- Antoine De Pluvinet