|" So I'm a working girl again this morning? Well, okay but don't forget the treats!"|
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. We’ve been busy with barn and property projects. The horses are all doing well. Rosie and I have been doing some training and hopefully forging a relationship with each other.
Rosie is a very willing and talented gal. There’s rarely a time she refuses what is asked of her except when she doesn’t understand the cue. Then she just stops and we figure a way to let her know what I want. Once the light bulb goes on, she’s fine and we continue on with the lesson.
At first anytime I took a slight contact with her mouth she would stop, so I assumed her previous training required her to go with no contact whatsoever and we rode on the buckle for a while and gradually inched up the reins in subsequent lessons. Now she can be ridden with a light following contact. We’ve done a lot of walking and circles with a gentle opening inside rein to teach her how to bend and use her body properly. I know some people subscribe to the training principle of pulling the horses head around to their side and think the horse will then learn how to bend. I’ve actually been at one barn where they tied the horse’s head to his tail overnight thinking that would do the trick. It doesn’t and it’s cruel. I’m more about starting with a soft flexion at the poll and letting the rest follow, so that’s what we’ve been working on.
Asking her to trot at first produced a western jog and we figured out that a second pressure from my legs would get a response and a smoother more flowing trot. I recently found out that she was a western pleasure horse. So it’s taken some time with her figuring out what her way of going was previously like and how to change it gradually so she understands what I’m asking. Everything we’ve done together so far is designed to reteach her to my way of riding and not to cause her any stress. I’ve tried to make each teaching moment a good experience and so far I’d say we’ve achieved that.
We’ve done a lot of groundwork on the longe and she’s learning how to open up her stride and loosen her musculature. The other day we free longed for the first time and that went pretty well. She even cantered a bit and looked great.
Small steps and gradual understanding of each other is our way of getting to know each other. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. It may sound impractical to some but I believe in letting it take as long as it takes to have a happy well adjusted horse who is willing to work with me. And for both of us to enjoy our time spent together. I’m happy to report that Rosie will now groom me back while I’m grooming her and she will let me kiss her nose and hug her.
Quote for Today
If the horse does not enjoy her work, her rider will have no joy.