Sunday, April 27, 2008

I hope you all have the ride I had today

Well, go figure. I am starting to think I have cured myself merely by blogging this out and hearing all of your stories!

I had the perfect third ride tonight. I mean, perfect. I have a witness :-)

First of all, we started out being so, so, so much better about the girth! No kicking out, very minor fidgeting. I was thrilled and gave him a lot of praise for his good behavior. I had a feeling it was going to be a good night when I turned him loose to trot around with the saddle on, as I usually do, and he just wanted to mosey back to me and get petted some more. :-) I called my witness/ground person in and said we were going to go see if our ground work last night about standing still by the mounting block had helped.

OK, the darn colt stood like a freaking statue at the mounting block! After one night of working on it. He's never done that before. He let me move the block, get it just right and get on. I was so surprised and so pleased. We went right to our goal of walking all the way around the arena and not staying in a teeny little Circle of Chickenshit. He wanted to stop at the back door and stare at the mustangs, but was convinced to move out with minimal effort.

After that? Seriously, the horse was perfect. He walked all the way around the arena and stayed on the wall as if he were already trained...with a headset that was show-ring ready. (And yes, Cut, I kept thinking of you saying lower my hands and pitch him away, and I did.) Never picked up his head, never tried to stop. Didn't care what was going on outside. To the left he never even tried to bulge off the wall. We reversed through the middle and went to the other direction and he tried to bulge a little bit but it was easy to correct. He doesn't mind leg at all - it's so cool. Absolutely no pissy/swishy response to leg. (Yeah, I usually ride mares...LOL!)

So my ground person says "you gonna go for it and jog?" and I thought, ah, why not. I didn't want to push him hard so I let him take his own time to break into the jog - just kept clucking, light leg, and saying "trot." We probably jogged a third of the long way down the wall and then I just let him walk and petted him. He is so comfortable. Just a big couch. We walked one more time around and then I got off and he got major petting and berry treats.

The best part? I had no fear tonight. It just wasn't there. I felt like I used to, confident, secure and relaxed. It was easy to be relaxed because, as my ground person pointed out, he was completely relaxed. Darn colt is acting like he's been under saddle for a month. You know what? You can't train in brains. He's just got good sense and it's such a joy to deal with a horse like that.

I love him. He is so awesome. He is the Best Colt Ever.

I know Masquerade had a similarly wonderful first ride today on her VLC so kudos to her! How about the rest of you? Who rode today? How did it go?


Jan said...

congratulations on that skerry third ride . . . I started a gelding a few years ago at a Ray Hunt colt starting clinic and my little horse never did try to buck. Was gonna tell you that some of 'em jes have good minds, but figgered I didna wanna jinx ya . . .

I rode my favorite Ole Paint out on the trails overlooking southern San Francisco Bay (Milpitas). It was a fabulous clear day, warm but with a good breeze on the hilltops. Doesn't get much better than that, me thinks . . .

Congrats again!

artdoc said...

Congrats! That's fantastic.

No I didn't ride today, because of my bum knee. Gonna give it another week of recovery from surgery, then try to start conditioning with some steps, so I can actually get on a horse.

However, I did order a super humongous headstall for my big guy. We are just going to dink around this week the clippers and and me standing on a mounting block next to him - he always wants to back up so I'll be at his head instead of his barrel.

Neb said...

That's great! Sounds like you're on the way to having a great horse and building some confidence!

Malarkey said...

I rode today ;-) My new lease horse, who was a stallion till he was 6-7, then gelded and has been under saddle for a couple of years now. (yes, he came from a BRB) This guy has no "go" button, but I find that easy to work on, certainly less scary than a horse with no "stop" button or a horse that tends to be high/unpredictable. We trail rode through Bridle Trails; worked on walking with energy ;-) while on the trail, and worked on being responsive to leg in the small arena on the powerline. He's a good boy, and I narrowly avoided the late afternoon rain.

DC said...

no riding for me today as it was raining. Got the thumbs up from my vet on my mare though so both the ferals could be turned out again.

I spent the day cleaning rugs and sorting out the ones that need repairs... Large pile there. And doing an assignment.

Yay for VBC and VBG and all the other mounts today!

I keep thinking I have spiders on me from the rugs. bleagh

icepony said...

Was going to ride today, yes, by gum, I WAS! And so whipped out loaner headstall (this is my first horse of "normal" size, the rest have been ponies or elephants, so I only have weird-sized tack, lol) and the nice loaner Myler training bit. And discovered that my 14.1 Anglo-Arab has the TINIEST head in the universe! I'm gonna have to dig out one of the old cob-sized bridles for him, and hopefully find a nice 4 3/4" bit attached to it.

So saying, I bitted him anyway, but thought I'd challenge both of us. (When I got him a month ago, his teeth were so bad that he had sores in his he's just awful about having his head handled anyway.) So I turned him loose in the inside arena, and then put on and took off the headstall a few times. NO PROBLEM. He tossed his head up high at first, but came right down and let me do it each time. I'm so pleased with him! I'd just assumed we were in for a lot of walking around the arena, but he stood like a rock for me.

So, no riding today, but still progress, at least in my mind. I'll take anything I can get at this point. ;)

icepony said...

Ugh. Edit above post to say 15.1 hands, not 14.1! At last, a nice, normal-sized horse!

ellen said...

Way cool! I love VLC, and he seems to be a winner.

Had a great weekend with the ponies, the biggest success story was with Morab Drama Queen. It started out awful, with her being rushy/bracy/pushy and shooting out over her right shoulder to avoid using her weak (not sore, just lazy) hind leg. Demi-rearing to avoid lateral work L to R, and generally being a butthead.

On to the double longe, after we determined that the Princess of the Pea would rather have the girth billets OUTSIDE the saddle pad straps than UNDER them....this is the level of sensitivity one signs up for when one breeds a prima donna Ay-rab to a Morgan.

More pushy/rushy/bracy much bucking and tantrum-having (stomping patent leather mary janes and scowling -- mare, not me), I just stayed put and let it rain, although it was frustrating and I was concerned because of how much she was pulling on me.

This is a well-trained horse having a Bad Mare Day, I would never have done it this way with a youngun, but she finally realized that it was just a lot easier to CARRY herself than to haul me around by her mouth, so in about 0.6 seconds, she gave it ALL up and came up round, found a rhythm, and the rest of the ride was like butter.

She is so much fun to ride when she is being herself that it's hard to stop when it's time, but we just did a little suppling work and some transitions, and I got off. Major breakthrough, though,as the tantrums and pushy/rushy/bracy stuff has been very frustrating.

Had a good time with the others, too -- Cute Little Gelding got off his left shoulder on the longe and is about to realize one doesn't have to go through life with one's poll locked and one's chin poked out.

Silly Black Mare decided it was OK not to whiz around being a ninny on the longe and found some rhythm.

Picked up enough dead hair from the grooming area to stuff a moose, and a good time was had by all.

which_chick said...

I did rides #3 and #4 (Maybe five minutes total on the horse, here. I'm being generous in calling them "rides".) on Project Horse today and accomplished two goals.

Goal #1: Did not have a ground helper. Got on horse (stood like rock) by myself without anyone to save me, once from each side.

Goal #2: Once aboard and settled, I asked the patiently standing-still horse for several strides of walking (nobody leading us, didn't have ground helper), got them, then asked for a halt, got that, stood still for a bit, then hopped off. I did that with mount/dismount once on each side. Whee! So exciting!

So, I have proto-steering and proto-brakes and I can get on the horse by myself. (Small steps. I can do this. I can. It's OK if she turns her head to sniff at my foot there next to her side. That does NOT mean she's going to buck.)

Next up: Putting some buckets (five gallon buckets) upside down in the yard so that we can practice walk-halt-steer in figure eights and stuff. So exciting!

which_chick said...

Oh, by "today", I meant Sunday. Even though I posted Monday morning. Sorry if anyone was confused.

4Horses&Holding said...

Congratulations, FHotD! It sounds like you couldn't ask for anything better.

A question: What did you do in regards to his girthiness? If you posted how you handled it, I didn't see it.

There was no riding here at all - the rains rolled in, and stayed pretty much all afternoon.

barngal said...

Congrats to a good ride! Venturing outside the Circle of Chickenshit can be scarey. I only have a field to work in and I remember the feeling I had when I finally rode to the end of the field. Even the neighbors' kittens bouncing out of the grass didn't bother him.

You're right that you can't train in brains. Some horses just get it and continue to be like sponges and suck in the training. My Big Cool Guy just loves adventures.

We didn't get to ride yesterday because, just as our field were drying, we had more rain. Looks like we'll have to haul to an indoor arena again.

I hope everyone is taking pictures!

mulelisa said...

Congratulations on the third ride; that is wonderful! Your account made me smile and was a good start to this Monday morning.

We didn't ride this weekend--too many conflicting outside activities with the kids--but we did get our riding animals clipped so that we can ride in the 90-ish heat without them sweating to death.

I haven't posted my goals yet 'cause every time I put things in writing, life seems to get in the way and bite me in the butt. But....keeping it vague, I'll take a chance: My mule just turned 3 --we got him as largely unhandled 2-year old-- and he is now standing (mostly) for hoof trimming, bathing, and shots. Once my oldest daughter gets her driver's license and my taxi duties ease up, I want to make some serious progress in his ground work so that he will be ready to ride (or even rideable!) by age 4.

LongBranchFarm said...

I had the perfect ride on Sunday! My very small colt (as compared to your 16.2 hand huge guy), on his seventh ride ever, went out on a TRAIL RIDE! Ok, it was 20 minutes, but it did involve a trail and woods. And leaving the barn area. He was perfect. He got a little jittery just as we turned off the property and into the woods, but the friend on the old confident horse just kept on slowly walking, so Merlin didn't do more that wiggle a little bit. After that, he was perfect. Alert but relaxed, and even led for about half the time. Merlin is going to be the most awesome trail horse ever.

verylargecolt said...

>>A question: What did you do in regards to his girthiness? If you posted how you handled it, I didn't see it.<<

I did work with him a bit with a rope around his belly, but honestly I think he's just coming to see that he gets saddled and the girth tightened whether or not he acts like a drama queen, and when he stands still, he gets praised and the part he doesn't like is over more quickly. He is fine as soon as it's done - it's the process of tightening it he doens't care for, even with going slowly and giving him time to adjust.

He really wants to do the right thing. I just think the girth has been a weird experience for him. He's never been blanketed, so he's never even had straps under him before. I am sure he is going to be just thrilled when get serious and he actually has to wear a sleazy and a tail bag like a big grown-up show horse. :-)

Sarah&Eb said...

YAY! Supa congrats! I know exactly the feelings you have been blogging about, good and bad:-)

I had the second ever trail ride on my adopted OTTB (well, she is in her teens, but she WAS on the track many moons ago:-).

I just FELT like it would be a great ride as I was driving out to the barn. Surprise surprise, it was:-) She's so darn FUN - no poking along the trail for her! Had the best. time. ever.

Alas, it wasn't always so. And I don't expect every ride to be so great. We're in a reallllly good place right now, though:-)

I wish you many big circles in the area and eventually many happy trails!

Karen V said...

I rode my Angel. I haven't ridden since being dumped by assbag sorrel April 10. I knew I was pushing it. It felt SO GOOD to be back on my baby. We walked, trotted and loped for about 5 minutes both ways. THEN...I picked my butt up to adjust and mis-cue her and she rolls into a sweet little lope and hit my butt with the cantle. I thought I was going to puke - it hurt that bad. It wasn't her fault. It was mine. She stood quietly while I tried not to vomit down her shoulder. Obviously, I'm not healed enough to get back on.

readytoride said...

I rode my GoodBoyApp actually twice Sunday. GoodBoyApp is a nice-but-not-real-bright and not-very-well-trained 12 year old grade Appy gelding . One ride was for about 40 minutes alone at home and then in the afternoon about 2 hours at a nearby arena. There was a 4H member’s birthday party there so about 8 kids and one other mom riding in the large covered arena. There were more moms sitting by the arena. Many of these are horse show moms that used to ride but now are content to watch their kids ride and show at AQHA shows.

Negative points about the ride:
He was very heavy and stiff, especially to the left. This was much more so then the day before. I can’t decide he has somewhat slow reflexes or he is being intentionally resistant. We did a lot of flexing but it did not have any obvious immediate effect. He also spooked a bit in the arena, jumping sideways at a canter. However, he is quite the amateur at this compared to other horses I have ridden so I basically ignored it. I didn’t make a big deal about spooking one way or the other- this means I did not stop and show him what he spooked at, I also did not specifically work him near the spooky end. Instead I just ignored the spooking- pushing forward and acting as if it did not happen at all.

Positive points about the ride:
At home, GoodBoyApp picked up his leads just fine. In public at the arena, as usual we picked up the wrong lead. Instead of stopping and admonishing him and getting tied in a knot, I just rode around on the wrong lead in a counter canter. I find it very embarrassing to ride around on the wrong lead. However, this approach seemed to work as by the end of the day, we calmly picked up the correct lead several times, with the same minimal cueing that I can use at home. I think I was psyching myself and the horse out about picking up leads. Can’t say yet that this is a permanent improvement.

GoodBoyApp has also improved his overall ridability greatly since I first got him. He is easier to guide and can transition without too much excitement through all three gaits.
In any case, we did several hours of riding and he is getting more compliant and just plain “broke”. However, we are still a long ways behind where all of the show horses the kids are riding are at- especially in terms of head carriage, collection, and speed rating.

Lisa said...

Congrats on all the great rides!

I rode my filly on Saturday and she was fabulous. She trotted several times around both directions and was really moving off my leg nicely. We also took a little hack up and down the driveway and she was terrific. Now I just need to convince a buddy to come out so we can do a "real" trail ride.

My filly really seems to enjoy having a job. I thought I'd start getting her usual attitude once the novelty wore off and she got her balance under saddle. But no, she's been willing, happy, and relaxed for every single ride. Knock on wood, so far she has surprisingly been the easiest horse I've ever started.

crazyhorse said...

Yay for happy progressive rides! By the 10th ride you will be trotting around and around the arena establishing his cadence,which is what I am doing with the Doofus. Lope departures have progressed with him framing himself and making less and less trot steps to get into the correct lead. heading out to ride right now before it rains this afternoon...

mulerider said...

I rode Sunday evening. Not my own VLG, because he won't be ready to put under saddle until next year at this time. But, I did ride the mare who is responsible for scaring me back out of the saddle a year or so ago. What scared me was that I fell off when she did a spook/spin. A fairly small, well-telegraphed spook/spin while we were walking across the pasture and I just flopped right over her shoulder like a rank beginner who had never been on a horse before. It scared the heck out of me. I mean, if I couldn't stay on for that, what about when something BIG happened?

We didn't get too far, just up and down the driveway a few times at a walk and one very short trot, but I rode her outside the round pen and nothing bad happened. Maybe we'll get farther next time.

Anonymous said...

Wow- congratulations! It sounds like he actually *likes* being ridden! Maybe now that he knows that big scary things don't happen when you get in the saddle he is enjoying the closeness.

No, I didn't ride. Between job, kids, and sleep I haven't had time BUT this is my last week at work and there is a trail ride coming up in May so I will be spending time preparing for that starting May 2nd! Yay! No more job...until I get tired of pork and beans...

deanna may said...

I have not ridden my Very Large Gelding in way too long. He's had about a month off. He is ever so fat.

May will be the month of conditioning, June will be the month of really schooling, and July will be the month of -- at last -- eventing! I really don't like going out on a cross country course and feeling unprepared, so I'm going to take it slow.

Also, I'M ridiculously out of shape, and I'm pretty sure I'd die if I tried to ride a whole course right now. Haha!

Congrats on VLC (or should we now call him BCE?)'s marvelous ride. Sounds like he's going to be great. Soon you can work on smaller circles and a little flexion, yes?

Sagebrusheq said...

Very good Fugly. Glad to hear it was a nice day other than weather wise.

I have 2 days in with a 5 yo G (Merlin). Big, for a morgan. A nervous Nellie. I hate to jinx myself but let's call him whirlin' Merlin. No, let's not. Besides, I don't care for names like Dynamite and Bewitched. floating trot, seems smart, very friendly, suspicious. Very athletic, I'd say. At this point I'm prescribing a lot of ground work and ponying. First off I need to trim his feet and we'll see how he does with that today after a little work. Not much else to say just yet. I'll shoot a 'before' of him today, mud and all.

Sagebrush eq

PS: Oh yes, goals: dressage prospect (?) some kind of jumping game. Get him to my teacher after he starts picking up the bit, whenever that is*, and see what she thinks of him.
* I'm not much on the flex-o-matic school. Fine for geniuses, maybe- there seems to be at least two schools of thought on that- but it strikes me as full of perils for lesser mortals who plan to pick up the reins some day.

beautiful morgan said...

I have my own Very Large Colt, mine just isn't as large as yours, but he is pretty damn big to me. Reading your blog has helped me a lot, I am not the only one afraid to get on my horse. I am further along than you are but not by much and it sounds like you will soon be sailing past me. This is my first horse to train myself. I have ridden a lot of green horses but this is my first time to start a horse. It is very scary at times, now I think that if I was younger I wouldn't have thought twice about it. But I just don't want to get hurt or die.

I have found that there are certain things that I can do to relieve some of the fear. Such as making sure somebody is around every time I get on him. Also I feel better getting on using a mounting block. I can certainly get on my very tall boy without it and I never use one for my old guy but I have found it to be comforting for me. These may seem like small things but they lead to me being more comfortable and secure which I in turn send to my horse. Also Every time I get on I get braver, because nothing bad happens! I am really lucky, my guy is just like okay so you are on my back now, cool. Okay so we walk now with you on my back, cool. Okay so we walk, trot and backup, cool.

We had a really great ride this weekend; I am still on cloud 9 from it. I feel like I am glowing. Tell me am I glowing?

verylargecolt said...

Sounds like a lot of us had good rides. Yeah, Lisa, I think we both need to knock on wood! I feel the same way...what's up with it being so easy? LOL...

>>A fairly small, well-telegraphed spook/spin while we were walking across the pasture and I just flopped right over her shoulder like a rank beginner who had never been on a horse before. It scared the heck out of me. I mean, if I couldn't stay on for that, what about when something BIG happened?<<

That is the WORST, when you go off from something stupid and you know it was stupid. It really rattles you. One time many years ago I got on my student's (yeah, prepare for the humiliation) big ass elderly warmblood as he would not go into the spooky corner. I confidently booted him in the ribs, we went into the spooky corner, stood there for a minute...and then he ducked and zoomed out from under me. I landed on my knees, very very VERY surprised and totally embarrassed that I had gone off from a spook! Especially in that context...yeah, I showed HIM, didn't I? *rolls eyes*

Karen - did you break your tailbone? I did that off an eeeevil pony when I was 12 and it took FOREVER to heal. You're going to have to take up hunt seat so you can ride in a two-point!

Allison said...

I had a great ride! I'm riding a 7 yr. old 16.3 off track TB we've had for a year. He's been off the track since age 4.

I am riding in a “soccer field” next to our upper barn right now (outdoor arena is in lower field, almost finished.)

We walked and trotted up, down, around and through the field. He played with the bit a lot and craned his neck. He acted like he didn’t know what I was asking for when I told him to trot. After I used a voice command to trot, he came into it much more easily.

His first trotting gaits were pretty fast and rough. Half way through, he collected more and settled down some. Trotting in a cirle was very nice!

We also meandered around the front and side yards for a little relaxation. I can feel his confidence in being on a place he has known for a year now; he has settled in a lot.

The rides around the yard were cooling in the breeze. I didn't let him boss me around...that was good.

I just felt very HAPPY when we were done...each ride we get to know each other better and it feels like hope for the future.

EquineSpirit said...

Sounds like things are going well for you and VLC! By the way...he's beautiful!!

Anyway, I rode yesterday too (third ride of the year)! It was a great ride...considering our last ride landed me in the dirt shortly after mounting! *embarrassed grin* Thankfully he's only about 14.2 so it wasn't far to the ground...LOL!! I started my gelding (just turned four last Friday) under saddle last fall and had about half a dozen rides under our belt before winter set in. We're pretty much starting from scratch this spring as our "winter break" did nothing good for he nor I...LOL!

CutNJump said...

Hooray! For both Cathy and Very Large Colt. I could just hear "Get your hands down." every time I look at the pictures of you on him. Funny because I hear those same words all the time too.

Heard them on Saturday while riding the crazy ancient black mare.

On a funny side note- the Arab filly I keep after Johnie Rotten about was turned out in the arena next to the cow pen. I keep saying she wants to play and join the fun too. JR doesn't know if she 'has it in her' for cow work.

He looks out the window on Sunday afternoon and asks, "Did you put the cows in with her?"

"Um, No. WHY?"

"Well they are all out in the arena hanging out together."

She opened one of the gates and had turned the cows loose into the arena with her to play. When I went out to see them, she was standing facing the herd, head down between two cows. She looked up to say "Hey these cow thingy's are kinda cool!"

She was sooo proud of herself.

Sagebrusheq said...

In an effort to assuage some of the concerns here regarding height: I don't see that it makes that much difference, except for getting on where it makes a big difference. But as to getting off unexpectedly, at a rate of 32 ft/sec/sec eight or ten inches doesn't figure out to much additional acceleration. Plus the little ones TEND to be more athletic that way. When was the last time you saw a 17h bucking horse? Not to say that a big one can't send you flying but I'm more wary of clever 15h close coupled cats.


animageofgrace said...

Good Job Fugs!

I rode both days this weekend. Saturday I had the opportunity to practice mounted shooting again (2nd time!). My mare still flinches when the gun goes off (or is that me?) She was more comfortable this time and by the end of the practice I was able to lope the course while hitting targets.

I just picked up some toy cap guns at WalMart so I can practice on my own and get her used to the noise. Hopefully the IRS will help me pay for my own set of pistols!

robyn said...

WHOOHOO for you, Cathy!! I bet he did much better b/c YOU were more confident! I was reading an article about Allison Kroff and how she'd had problems w/ one of her jumpers. A previous fall had caused her to ride defensively to the jumps, and this particular horse, altho talented and bold, is very sensitive and was picking up on her caution. So she has been working on rebuilding his trust in her by showing him in smaller classes and lower level jumper divisions.

Anyway, I also had a most awesome ride on my own greenie, my Icey who's turning 5 this summer. We've been working w/ a great trainer on the basics--we worked on that some, then CANTERED for the first time! And it was great!! His canter, like the rest of his gaits, is very smooth and easy to sit. Then we went out on our little road and putzed around, visited a neighbor (which required him to practice standing, a very good thing! He spooked and whirled a couple times, but I stayed on and stayed calm--also very good, for me!)

wolfbitch said...

Wow - good riding days all around, yes?

Well okay, not me, of course. I did get directions to the stable and since I have today off and they're open until 7PM, I figured I'd drive over.

Nope, sorry. Decided to have a panic attack instead. What a pain in the ass I've become to myself!

Okay, so I work nights, that means I have mornings free, and there's more mornings coming up this week. My goal is to get to the stable, whether I ride or not, this week. Before next Sunday. Yep, that's the goal.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Wolfbitch - make it really easy for yourself. Set your goal at a level that you know you can do it. Even if that's "I'll go out and brush today" or "I'll go out and feed a carrot." Once you are physically there, it's going to be easier to talk yourself into more. It's like going to the gym, the hard part is making yourself go!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

CNJ - Check this one out - it's my friend on her rescued Arabian mare. This is the 6th ride ever and they are playing with cows!

This little mare just got adopted. Quite an upgrade. She was found on DreamHorse, halfway up to her knees in mud, with a stock trailer for a run in shed, and bred to a zebra (thank god THAT didn't catch!)

readytoride said...

OK, a little high school physics here- I think those of you hung up on “10 inches does not matter” between a tall and short horse remember that there are other, more relevant physical laws then the acceleration rate of a dropped object under earths gravitational pull. Well, maybe if you do all of your falls at a standstill. Not to say that I haven’t fallen off of a standing still horse-

Two other formulas to consider are:

1. F = ma
(where F = force, m = mass, a = acceleration)

This means that that if you are stepped on, kicked, or clonked upside your head by a large horse, they exert a greater smashing and crushing force on a rider. I have seen slow, non-athletic large horses effortlessly destroy wooden fences with gentle kicks without trying hard. These same fences would take a determined and special small horse to break through. I have also seen more large horses break noses by hitting the handler in the face.

For our next example let us consider: centrifugal force

A taller horse is usually also a longer horse. When a longer horse does buck, there is more centrifugal force being exerted on you, the rider because of the formula:

2. g = RCF (where g = Relative centrifuge force, c = constant (0.00001118), r = rotational radius (centimeters, cm), N = rotating speed (revolutions per minute, r/min)

centrifugal force = the flinging power, or distance and speed you will be thrown from the horse.

Also, see formula 1 (f = ma) to determine if the 900 lb horse or the 1400 lb horse hurts more when it rolls on you, falls on you, steps on you after you fall off.

I think the idea that big horses are less likely to buck then small horses may be valid- ponies certainly act naughty a lot. It is the same argument though that large dogs like pit bulls actually bite less often than small dogs like Chihuahuas. However, if you do get, who is more likely to cause serious injury?

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

I figured out how to ride this humongous critter...I simply cannot look down. Ever. I swear I get dizzy looking down. Stop laughing at me, people, I grew up in polo, where 15.3 is a REALLY HUGE HORSE.

Theresa said...

Okay, this will be long but I just wanted to add to the conversation on fear. My theory is that the fear we feel (yes, I feeld this fear too at age 34 that I never felt when I was in my teens) is because we aren't sure that we are in control. We aren't sure we'll be able to ride that spook/buck, aren't sure the horse will stop/turn/etc. when we want him to, or basically just that the horse will do something that we can't ride through or control.

When we're young, the thought that we could lose control just doesn't enter our mind. If the horse ever does something that we can't control, we shrug it off as an anomoly. So the horse bolts/bucks/rears over backwards. We bounce, we catch the horse, and we hop back on. Now that we're older (and wiser!), we realize that it's flat-out dangerous when we can't control a horse, and we're scared. I don't know about you guys, but I don't heal as quickly as I used to!

I have ridden since I was a kid (mostly barrel racing), but a few years ago I started my first young horse. It didn't go well, and I got to the point where I was making excuses to not ride her because I was just plain scared of her. I didn't have control over her in the saddle. She would decide at a random point that she was done with the riding thing and would either start bucking or simply bolt for the arena gate. I couldn't read the signs soon enough to stop her from doing it, which scared the shit out of me.

The thing that helped me was to go back to her leading and longing manners. After I stopped and thought about it, I realized that she was pushing me around on the ground and doing the same crap on the longe line that she was doing under saddle, so I fixed it on the ground. If she bucked on the longe line when I asked for a transition, I didn't let it go anymore. When she tried to bolt for the door when I was leading her, we had a, uh, "conversation" about her leading manners.

These things helped me gain control of her on the ground, which raised my confidence a TON. For about 2-3 months after our groundwork revisitation, I rode her with a halter and lead rope under her bridle. If she gave me any sign that she was thinking about bolting or bucking, I bailed off and worked the everliving shit out of her on the ground. This made me feel that I had more control, which gave me a lot more confidence. I became comfortable on the ground, so when things in the saddle got hairy, I'd go back to the ground. I did this for a few months until my confidence grew in the saddle. After that, any crap she gave me under saddle were dealt with under saddle. I just needed that "safety net" of the groundwork to feel confident in the saddle again.

Now, a year and a half later, I am 100% confident on this horse. She is just awesome. However, I know that my confidence is for THIS HORSE, not in general. When I go to work a new horse, I am sure that I will need to prove to myself that I DO have control before I can feel confident. When we're young, we never doubt it. Now that we're older, I think that we need to prove it to ourselves again.

CutNJump said...

Why are you looking down? I have that problem too. Get out of my 'riding body', would ya?

You should be looking where you want to go, and riding by 'feel'. Your body will shift the weight, shoulders and legs, putting everything into position to send your horse there. Straight down the rail- focus to the end of the arena, look through your turns.

Even shifting your weight in your chair at work- 'looking through your turn' puts weight on one hip vs. the other, the shoulders follow the turn and so does the head- same as when you are on the horse...

And what is with the letters to type in for each posting? That is annoying!

readytoride said...


I did not give the whole formula:

g = rcf =0.00001118 r N(squared)

CutNJump said...

I watched Shakira's video clip. For those who don't know those are penning or sorting cows- hence the # pasted on their sides...

Sorting cows will generally run given any chance or reason to. Riders run into the herd- the cows scatter.

Cutters go in quiet easy and slow, push a bunch out away from the fence, choose a cow to work, seperate them from the rest and keep them from getting back to the herd. The work is slower and more deliberate.

Sorry fugs, but my eye was first drawn to the head and all the contraptions on it. It looks like the mare is wearing a bit and reins are attached, but looped over the horn and not being used. Kudos for wanting to stay out of her face!

The reins being used though look like they are attached to a tie down type noseband. This seems to flip up to the mares throat at times offering little or no control.

For a first time on cows she didn't do all that badly. Usually what we do is take them in, stop and let them stand. Take a few steps toward the herd, stop and let them stand. No rush, no fuss.

Rushing leads to anxiety and excitement, which can lead to nothing but problems... for you and the horse and could easily result in someone getting hurt.

As the late, great, Floyd Brooks put it, "It's the fastest way to go slow. Take your time."

We take the horse up to the cows and let them settle the herd using a corner. Push them forward a few steps, stop and let everything settle down. Push a few more steps forward, stop and settle down. Go to the other 'side' of the herd and stop. Push a few steps back towards the corner, stop. Push a few more steps and stop.

This builds the horses confidence in you and themselves. When everything is progressing nicely, move the cows back into the corner, stop and wait. Go into them head on this time, slowly, let the herd split and follow one group, turn, stop. Few steps following and stop again. Push the herd back together and call it a day.

You don't have to train everything into them in one day... trying to creates more work undoing the bad habits that are being created along the way.

Slow and right beats the hell out of fast and wrong every time.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>Slow and right beats the hell out of fast and wrong every time.<<

That is the golden rule of training, for SURE!

And particularly for training RIDERS.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

and trust me, I am learning NOT to look down...I only did it once this last ride! I have figured out that I do not want to know how far away the ground is, and if I keep looking where I am going, I can stay in blissful ignorance. :)

Like I used to tell my students, don't look at the ground unless you want to wind up there!

(It's great having the Former Instructor voice shrieking inside my head while I ride...LOL)

4Horses&Holding said...

So what was she doing? Sorting? How different is sorting from team penning? Apparently it's one rider vs. three - but what other differences are there?

It looked fun.

Back when my horses lived with cows, I'd play with my Arabian at cutting one out. He was supposed to be my replacement team penning horse. He was pretty cowy - he couldn't be out with the cows after they calved, because he LOVED to cut the calves out of the herd.

Masquerade said...

Aw sounds like a dream ride. Congrats!!!

Funny you mentioned the fear, I didn't have any either. I think it was the excitement of finally getting on him that made me forget the fear of it all.

I planned to give him the day off and I did mainly because it's pouring rain. LOL Tomorrow, it might FECKING SNOW. GRRRRRRRRRR, I only have two days before I leave for two weeks.

I can't wait till I get to ride around like you did.

Once again congrats!!!!!!!

Masquerade said...

Hahahaha, just read this comment:

fugly said

I figured out how to ride this humongous critter...I simply cannot look down. Ever. I swear I get dizzy looking down. Stop laughing at me, people, I grew up in polo, where 15.3 is a REALLY HUGE HORSE.

Erm, you do realize it's only 3 inches.......I'm trying to convince myself of the same thing, I mean really my old fella was 15.2. I'm not sure what the difference is between falling from 5 feet 3 inches or 5 feet 7 inches. LOL

GingerbreadKat said...

This is a GREAT BLOG. I can SO identify with you all being a "re-rider" after a horse vs ATV accident. (ATV won; but that's going to chang! :-)

Just reading and knowing I am not alone is great.

Smile & Ride~The GingerBreadKat

a beautiful disaster said...

my rides sunday were awesome; buddy was super and happy and high as a kite because its a little bit cooler again (and high in buddyworld is a good thing), so we were actually able to work on things like canter transitions and lead changes. Silly Little Mare was also wonderful, if not a little bit quiet (which is a good thing for her); the highlight of our ride was more super relaxed canter pole work and then even cantering on a long rein after which she came back to trot on my voice and seat alone.

no riding today as barn is closed to boarders, but since i have to go in to feed, i took the opprotunity and empty indoor to get some more lunging time on SLM and even got her to hop over a teensy little cross rail on the lunge - quietly after the requiste WTF??, huge jump, then walking over and knocking it down. i have hope that there is some real jumping under saddle in the not to distant future :)

congrats fugly on your sane guy...i love a horse with brains :D

a beautiful disaster said...

fugs said "and trust me, I am learning NOT to look down...I only did it once this last ride! "

personally, i think that its worse looking down off a short horse, especially when cantering/galloping - the ground is already that much closer. then again, my favorite horse as a beginner was 16.1 and i've only ridden a handful of ponies (being 5'9" and fairly built does have its downside)

cliffrose said...

I rode a big old Freisan/Andalusian cross today on the trail and survived. I rode this mare about a dozen times two years ago and now she is back to me for training, but in the mean time, my guts grew up and and moved away. I have been working her in the arena and scared to death the whole time. She has gotten spoiled and she is spooking at everything. But we survived and I am enjoyng talking about it.


Sagebrusheq said...


Points well taken, and your math is better than mine. I wouldn't argue with any of what you've said but still stand by the thrust of my argument, however obliquely expressed, which was that beyond a certain size, say that of a small pony that can almost be manhandled, it's largely a mental thing. I was trying to allay those fears, which I share, by pointing out that the big ones are no more, maybe less likely, to launch you, and that it's not that much further to the ground. All points on which we seem to be in agreement. Actually I see no conflict at all between your observations and mine.
BTW the best bucker I've ever been on was a 3yo morgan colt, 15h max. 'Rocky' (Rock and Roll) hence, in part , my previous observations. After tossing me the third time I borrowed the owners overcheck, which evened the playing field. I don't like that sort of thing but I was pretty well convinced that it wasn't fright that was motivating him, quite the contrary, he was enjoying himself a lot. It wasn't much fun for me though, I was 30 years or more past the age when young men look forward to that sort of thing. Things went well after that and he turned out to be a very nice horse and the fastest learner I've known. I had to constantly restrain myself from asking for more because he picked up everything up so fast. I was disappointed when he was cut and sold and often wonder how he's doing.

Day 3 with Merlin went well. But my suspicion that a good deal of ground work is in order seems to be well founded. Saddled him for the first time and he's very athletic. I don't believe that there's ever been a time in my riding career when I could have stayed on, even with luck. The fright was short lived though and we ended on a good note. Picked up his feet today but decided he'd had enough and didn't trim them. Light longeing, walk, trot if he must, and walk 2 cavaletti. Tracks up by a good print and a half. Starting to relax and look down. Ponied to and from the corral with Molly whom he's fond of. Chewed Molly's good reins when I wasn't looking.


CutNJump said...

fuglyhorseoftheday said...
I figured out how to ride this humongous critter...I simply cannot look down. Ever. I swear I get dizzy looking down. Stop laughing at me, people, I grew up in polo, where 15.3 is a REALLY HUGE HORSE.

Oh then wait until you canter. The stride will be bigger than life. Big horses have those nice big, rolling strides. They are comfortable to sit but sometimes the size is what gets ya.

dp said...

Did 90 minutes on the trails with my girl in her new Easyboots. She was great, I was great, and we were finally on the road beside the tracks when a train went by. A little dancing and nervous calling, but she kept her head. We're finally ready to go over the tracks and down to the river, I think.