Thursday, June 5, 2008

A very productive evening!

We got off our butts and got both the greenies worked tonight. I say "we" because the SSG's mom, Josie, assisted as our ground person.

We've been meaning to put the VLC and the SSG out together for a while now to see if they might make good turnout buddies. Early on, we established we couldn't put the VLC out with the rest of the stallions/geldings here as the FPS (Feisty Paint Stallion - you'll hear more about him in the future) wanted to kick his ass and, of course, despite my years of saying that horses have to be horses, I freaked and went "OMG that is the most expensive horse I have ever owned and he can't get broken!" So the VLC has been on solitary turnout for the past few months - until tonight. We tried them together and it was pretty much perfect! They had a great time blasting around the indoor at warp speed. If the VLC got a bit too fresh with the SSG, the SSG would warn him but no blood was shed nor contact made. It was great. And of course it took the edge off both of them so that they were ready to work!

I've been meaning to ride the VLC with another horse in the ring, so Josie did groundwork with the SSG while I rode. Wow, what a difference a 10 minute gallop with a buddy right before riding makes! Instead of bopping along at the fastest possible trot, the VLC was more than happy to slow down and give me the soft yet forward trot I've been looking for. Since he was going so well, and doing great about ignoring the other horse in the ring, I decided it was time for another "first" - so we did one lap of posting trot without stirrups for the first time! He sped up a bit at first at the stirrups whacking him but quickly adjusted. Finally, for our cool-down, I had Josie snap my reins to the bit for the very first time and we walked some circles. I told him I wouldn't touch his face if he listened to my legs for direction and he seemed to figure that out amazingly well. No complaints at all - a great ride. I think this was ride #19? I'm starting to lose track now. It's so much easier once you get past that first half-dozen rides!

Of course, this was only ride #2 for the SSG. I tied up the VLC and we switched off the tack and began working with the SSG. Laid over his back, did some bending and flexing of his neck on the ground. He was way more alert today than the first ride, and since it was raining, we were going to do this in the indoor instead of the round pen. I could tell he was more tense but I just kept scratching him and found the itchy spot on his neck that made him really happy. Finally I got on and we started to walk around. As I mentioned before, he's very bonded to Josie and basically wants to crawl in her lap for reassurance so it's a trick to keep him walking but not actually on top of her. We walked around with the lead rope, and then without, and for our final act, I made him turn a circle away from his mom. He survived, I got off and everybody got lots of praise - and cookies. Well, the horses did. I never seem to get cookies...

I am trying to figure out why/how it is that I am suddenly back to breaking out babies without any apparent panic. I mean, I am careful with the SSG. I don't get on until I feel like the brain has engaged and we've done enough ground work. But I am not shaky, scared, panicky, or any of the things I was just two months ago. Have I psyched myself out of my fear by talking about it here, or have I just been so lucky with these quiet babies that even I had to get over it? Will I go right back to being chickenshit the first time I go off, or am I really back to how I used to ride or at least kind of closer to it? I guess time will tell! Right now I'm just kind of grateful that I'm over it - whether or not that lasts.


Princess Jess said...

the next time you come off, and live, and recover, you will think, "well, that wasn't THAT bad...." and that will be that. No big deal.

At least, that's what happened to me. :)

verylargecolt said...

Well, I've only come off twice since I started riding again in 2003, and both times, the horse fell hard from a canter, so that was why. Not the same horse - horse with stumbling issues one time, horse in bad footing the other.

So I have what I think is a reasonable fear of that first bucking-off! Never mind that I have not actually been BUCKED OFF since 1987 and have ridden hundreds of horses since then, somehow I still think it is inevitable. My most recent fall that was not the horse going down was in 1995 when I got spooked out from under by a big warmblood. It's not like I fall off every three seconds. Maybe I'd be less worried about it if I DID, LOL.

Princess Jess said...

I don't usually, either. I can count on one hand the number of times I've come off. My big one was with my Dutch WB (all 17 hands of her)who managed to dislocate my pelvis, bruise some ribs, twist my ankle, and pull my neck muscle with one MASSIVE throw (against the arena wall). That one made me nervous.

But I think that working with greenies make you not as scared... I'm more comfortable on EVERY horse after having worked with Jack!

I'm even more comfortable on Jack AFTER his one big blow-up, when he went on a bucking spree, got me off in 3 bucks, and I landed in the dirt, went "oomph," rolled, got back up, spit the arena dirt out of my mouth, and then walked away without a bump or scratch on me. I was proud of myself that while I was flying through the air, I was thinking "tuck and roll- relax into the fall" LOL

But you know who was a really scary ride? Trooper. The MOST dishonest horse I've ever ridden by far. I could NOT relax on that horse! Loved him to pieces, didn't trust him further than I can spit.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Somehow I knew that about Trooper. Intellectually I kept telling myself I could ride him, but I couldn't talk myself into actually getting on, and in retrospect, that was probably some instinct saving my ass.

Apparently the people who bought him love him though. There's someone for everyone! Also, he may be a different horse living outside.

Princess Jess said...

He was listed for sale on Dreamhorse a few months ago, wasn't he? dontyouridenofuglyhorse emailed the ad to me. :( It was right after I got Biff, and if I had the space/money, I would have went to get Trooper, too. But yeah, I always figured he'd be a great horse for someone who didn't know any better and never asked anything much of him.

While riding him, one minute he'd be with me, then the next, he'd just suddenly drop all contact and I'd have NO control. Scared the hell out of me. That's why we never did anything more than walk. Ever. (Wasn't he Parelli-ized?) I still worry about him a little... he's the kind of horse who will eventually end up in the kill pen if his under-saddle issues aren't fixed....

And is it just me, or do the people who don't know any better always the ones who get lucky? Like, they can be completely ignorant and stupidly hop on ANYTHING, and just always happen to "luck out"? Katie comes to mind. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to explain to her why I refused to trot Trooper, and Katie didn't get it at all. "But he's pretty! Trot him!"

I just figure it's because she's never been really hurt by a horse before. But she keeps doing stupid shit and she keeps getting lucky. I wonder if it's because the horses sense that the rider is fearless, or if the inexperienced riders simply don't really insist that the horses really behave themselves and don't notice when the horse is bad, or...?

One of the mysteries of the world...

barngal said...

I think on a whole, I'm now more confident about riding. Sure, riding a green horse, you just never know what will happen, just in my experience though, I know what CAN happen and I try to do everything in the world to prevent that. Honestly, I have never liked getting thrown! All the crazy TBs I've had and ridden and most throws have been the kind you hang on till your feet are close to the ground LOL! But the nasty falls, those are the ones I'm trying to avoid.

BCG is very athletic and can really buck and do some airs above ground. He's tried a few with me and so far I've managed to stay on. What I try to do is turn him out to play and lunge before riding. Then he has his mind more on what he is doing. I feel better then. Maybe it's all in my head. I'm feeling more confident but not letting my guard down.¤t=August252007051PhotoshopCool.jpg

Heidi the Hick said...

Well, I have a few theories about fear and panic.

Maybe it's all crap and only means something to me, but since I've been wrestling with a pretty serious panic disorder for years, this is what I've come to:

Fear is totally natural, and you should have some. Getting on a green horse for the first time? Damn right you should be scared. Are you still going to do it? Sure you are. You know there are risks, but there are benefits too. so you bite down the fear, and eventually it's not so scary anymore.

Personally I think a little bit of fear is a good thing to have when you're working with horses because it keeps you from getting lazy and having stupid avoidable accidents.

Now panic is a different beast.

People ask me how I can ride horses if I have a panic disorder. Well there's a reason it's called Panic Disorder as opposed to Panic Totally Rational.

Riding a horse? Reasonably scary but survivable and enjoyable.

Going to the grocery store? Holy $#@#$. Damn near have a heart attack.

And I just got bucked off my gelding twice last summer. (Yeah he was being a bit of a dink but it's my fault, I pushed him too fast.) I've hit the ground more than I care to admit. I'm still getting on that horse, and I'd rather do that than go to that godforsaken grocery store where they want all my money and I don't know which brand of ketchup to buy and everytime I turn the corner some crazy woman is about to ram me with her shopping cart while she screams into her cellphone. Give me a green horse any day.

Char said...

Congrats on the productivity! I'm hoping that I'll have one of those tonight.

Lyzz said...

I'm in the same boat with Heidi. I just about have a panic attack every time I have to do something like get gas, go into a store, etc...even just go to a place by myself! But with horses, if I panic it's because of something that is totally reasonable. My horse colicked a couple weeks ago. I've had him a year and a half, he's my first horse, he has NEVER had problems with colic or even had the sniffles. Did I panic? yes, I was having a minor breakdown while on the phone asking my mom to come pick me up at home to take me to the barn. Was I panicking at the barn? no.

I guess I've ridden enough freak/trouble horses with no fear that I don't panic anymore when I ride/deal with horses. That's really good with a green-broke 5 QH gelding who is stubborn as all get out and has some incorrect training on him!

I've come off 2 times in the last two months alone. Both in the same lesson, it was a few days after I got a concussion and neither were the horse's fault, they were mine for not paying enough attention to my riding or to the pony.

Karen V said...

You're probably like me "oh shit oh shit oh shit", shaking, tense, blah, blah, blah. Then you get on and even though "things" happen, you survive, you end on a successful note, and you build your confidence. AGAIN. One launching from even a 14.0 pony can shake you up. But it seems that the more I ride, the more my confidence comes back. I guess it's figuring out what to expect and knowing you can handle it.

I remember when I was 13, we leased several horses for me to ride during the summer. When I turned 15, I'd saved enough money to buy my own horse. She was a 3 yr old grade (QH?) filly, 15.0 hands, halter broke. I paid $300 for her. My dad bought me a bridle. Then turned me loose. I broke her out myself. I borrowed an old gross barrel saddle from the guy across the street for about a year until my folks forked up the money for a newer used saddle. (Western, of course)

We paid $30 a month board on a dry lot. It was up to me to tell my parent when we needed shoes, worming, etc. I never had any lessons. I didn't have an arena. Me and my friend rode down the road, along the canals, through the orchards. We taught ourselves western pleasure (HA!). We'd race down the service road through the orchard. The workers would see us go by and when we raced back, they'd be lined up cheering us on. How I survived, I don't know.

*end random rambling*

Char said...

Karen V:
Your childhood sounds a lot like mine! I had a grade 13.2 pony that was NOT broke - although he had been under a carnival pony ride pony. Yeah.

I galloped that stinkin pony EVERYWHERE, even when he spooked at something and was running sideways, backwards, rearing, bucking, whatever - it never scared or deterred me from the path that I wanted to go down.

Ahh to be 9-14 again...

Isn't that funny? I'm such a big chicken now that if my horse breaks into a JOG on the trail I freakout and make him walk again.

verylargecolt said...

Trooper was Clinton Anderson-ized and now he's Parelli-ized. Yay. And allegedly they decided to keep him so who knows. I should look him up on AQHA and see if they still have him registered to them...Very athletic horse, a great talent, but I think he just learned early how to intimidate. You know who did the best on him? Laurie. He would start to hop and she WHACKED him in the shoulder with her hand and said KNOCK IT OFF and you know what? He DID. So I know it was all that he had all of us buffaloed - but at the same time, a horse that can bolt straight sideways around the arena and throw in some bucking for extra fun is going to buffalo me and I'm not afraid to admit it!

(Also, I have decided all of the Coosa horses have a bit of an essential screw loose. There are a few marbles missing with them!)

Re: Panic attacks. I wonder if a lot of us who have riding fear issues have other fear issues as well? Mine is making phone calls. I just freaking HATE the phone. HATE IT. Particularly calling someone I don't know. I can e-mail all day, but I despise the telephone and wish it would become obsolete. And go figure, I can stand up and give a speech in front of hundreds of people and that doesn't bother me a bit. But the phone...ugh. Hate it.

Princess Jess said...

OMG I hate the phone, too! I would rather email ANYONE than have to call them! Good, i thought I was the only one.....

Yes, Trooper had everyone's number. I never really THOUGHT he'd do anything really really bad, but you could just FEEL the potential there, and he was always tense and on alert. That was the feeling that I hated.

When I was a working student over the winter, we had in a mare like him, and I learned how to deal with that issue... wish I had known at the time! He's the kind of horse where that would have been nipped in the bud pretty early on... oh well. Live and learn.

I think when it comes down to it, though, I'd rather climb on an honest horse that is known to buck/rear/bolt than I would a dishonest horse who's trained to the nines. It's the dishonest ones that really freak me out.

mugwump said...

God/Fate/ Karma loves children, fools and new horse owners....
the rest of us have to suck it up.
I'd say your muscle memory is kicking in so your confidence is going up. You're remembering that you know how to train, and train well.
Now will somebody please give me some WP based softening and lengthening tips I can play with on my cowhorses?
I get a stiff spot in the neck right in front of the withers...I know the WP stuff would loosen it up, but I haven't pleasured around for over ten years, I am way behind...HELP

mugwump said...

What happens when they're Clinton Andersonized? I'm letting his article push me around....I really don't know the guy at all, just that my students think he's the coolest thing ever. Which makes me insecure, since they're pretty competent folks.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Well, what happened with this gelding is that the Clinton Anderson one rein stop, i.e. cranking his ass in a circle, had been wildly overused. So he was fine on a small circle, but try to go in a straight line and he wanted to run off and if you tried to hold him back, he started bucking and hopping. He was also extremely good at tucking his nose to his chest and blasting straight sideways. That is so hard to fix. How can you get control of the front end when the chin is buried in the chest? Ack.

Intellectually, I knew how to solve this. He needed for me to get on him and just long trot the living crap out of him on a 20 meter circle for as long as it took to get him tired, and then I feel like we could have made some progress. But we were at a busy show facility and rarely had the ring to ourselves, he was only getting an hour of turnout in the indoor daily, and he had gotten away with bolting with people on a regular basis. I chickened out. I'd take him back now in a second, now that I have a smaller, private, quiet indoor arena to work a horse, and now that I seem to have some of my guts back.

mugwump said...

I have never quite understood the one rein stop stuff. I teach my horses to move their feet with my leading rein, so the head bending to the knee, and the one reined stop doesn't make sense to seems it will dump them on their front end and end the forward drive....

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Well, the guy who was doing this stuff with him wanted to end the forward drive, because he had to ride him and be Joe Cool who wasn't afraid of him but GOD FORBID the horse get out of a walk! Ohhhh no. He wasn't READY to trot. Apparently he took him on a trail ride one day, Trooper bolted, and Joe Cool lost interest in riding him. LOL.

I do have video (poor but existing) of Laurie, the H/J trainer, successfully walking, trotting and jumping an X with him. He wasn't THAT rank but even without getting on himself, I totally understand what Jess means about him feeling tense, dishonest and explosive. You could just see it in him. He was waiting for the moment you were off guard.

Dontyouridenofuglyhorse said...

Princess Jess, Trooper had 6 more months of professional training and then his owners moved him and a couple of other horses to PA when they went. They still have him and LOVE him, in fact they decided they could not part with him. He was for sale because the gal was pregnant and her husband got re-deployed to PA. Instead of selling him they put him in full time training and kept him.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

That is great to hear. He may have met just the right trainer for him, and I also suspect he was a horse who did a lot better living outside like a horse than locked in a stall most of the time at a busy barn.

Half of me wishes I had ridden him, half of me knows it wasn't a good time or place and I'd probably just have racked myself up, at a time when I didn't have health insurance.

Karen V said...

Getting your guts back....I know THAT one. It takes some doing, for sure. For me, getting on the good old solid broke horse I've had forever was a confidence builder. TOTALLY!

But you know, even then, I get stupid attacks. Like last night... I didn't want to saddle and bridle so I thought I'd hop on my fat comfy appy mare (FAM) with just a halter and walk in circles.


Stupid #1 - I've NEVER ridden FAM in just a halter. Hackamore, yes. Halter, no. (But hey! She's got a WHOA on voice command)

Stupid #2 - I've rarely used a mounting block to get on FAM. I always do it the old fashioned "cowgirl" way...the stirrup.

Stupid #3 - I used a resin chair instead of a mounting block/step. (Which I bought for my decrepid husband with bad knees. but it was in the barn, not the arena)

Stupid #4 - Soft sand arena and resin chair don't really mix well.

Stupid #5 - I forgot that FAM walks off when mounting.

So I get the chair and set it beside fat appy mare (FAM), who looks at it sideways, but stood quietly while I step up. I swing one leg over, rather than flopping onto my belly on her back. FAM starts off, I reach, horse-side legs of the chair sink into the soft sand of the arena, I slide off (since her mane is roached and I have NOTHING to grab onto), and I land on my butt under FAM.

To her credit FAM side-stepped away for stupid ass owner lying on the ground with a now broken resin chair and proceeds to rip around the arena. Stupid ass owner gets up, picks up the pieces of the broken chair and pile them outside the arena while FAM snickers in the background.

FAM trotted over to see if I'm still stupid (which OF COURSE I was), I re-position the chair, climb up, and belly flop over her back, using her short thick neck as leverage to put my leg over the other side.

We walked around for about 10 minutes, nice and quiet, when Stupid #6 through 9 show up.

Stupid #6 - FAM is a patterned barrel horse.

Stupid #7 - FAM is too fat to grip bareback turning barrels at ANY speed.

Stupid #8 - I still had the barrels set up on pattern in the arena.

Stupid #9 - When FAM runs home, she is wicked fast.

We were just walking, doing figure 8s, flexing and such, when we walked dangerously close to the third barrel. FAM turned the 3rd like a champ and ripped for home.

Somehow, I stayed with her. When I got her stopped, I slid off. how I survived my own stupid "quiet" ride is beyond my comprehension.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

ROTFL Karen! And I agree, that FAM was laughing. If Appies COULD laugh at us, they would laugh at us OFTEN. And probably throw in a few rude remarks. :-)

I used to actually whack the polo ball around bareback in my younger years...I miss my balance!

mugwump said...

I don't know about you guys, but if my horse isn't ready to do more than walk, I don't go on a trail ride.
Of course, I'm one of those people who let the horse pick the speed for quite a few the arena mind you.
If you don't scare them they usually just walk around.

mugwump said...

Can you imagine the stories our horses would tell if they could blog....

Latigo Liz said...

mugwump said...
Now will somebody please give me some WP based softening and lengthening tips I can play with on my cowhorses?
I get a stiff spot in the neck right in front of the withers...I know the WP stuff would loosen it up, but I haven't pleasured around for over ten years, I am way behind...HELP

Have you seen Buck or Ray "shake down" a horse? It's pretty benign, despite sounding like a strong-arm tactic. I'll see if I can find an article that describes it. It may take a while as I have to get out the door here for a couple of hours.

Karen V said...

I can only imagine what FAM would say about me!!

I forgot one little part of the story, which probably Stupid #0.5 - I told my husband what i was going to do.

When I got the horse put away and the broken chair out of the arena and the pieces picked up, I went into the house. I'd dusted off my sweats (yeah..sweats. It was supposed to be a nice quiet ride), so there was no "real" evidence. My husband was sitting at the computer in the office, responding to an e-mail. Over his shoulder, he said, "So....are you going to ride another one or are you ready to take your sign back?" He'd watched the whole thing from the front window.

Sign = Stupid sign. (Bill Engval) ya know??? Here's your sign, guy? I hadn't realized I'd left my sign in the house....

hope4more said...

Hey KarenV this is your Minnesota buddy, ROTF-LMAO with tears streaming down my face. You are hilarious! I am glad you are okay and hope it didn't cause any flare up's with your injury. Big kudos for staying on while running for home bareback, totally impressive. Now picture me trying I would have been in a big heep on the arena floor.

mugwump said...

Have you seen Buck or Ray "shake down" a horse? It's pretty benign, despite sounding like a strong-arm tactic. I'll see if I can find an article that describes it. It may take a while as I have to get out the door here for a couple of hours.
Thanks Liz! Yes I have,I shake them down after a deep slide stop as a reward,and to relax them... but I need something that will bring the back up....?
I'm thinking WP because they basically do a deep, slow motion drive for each gait, (the ones I think look good anyway). Maybe English Equitation, I'm talking AQHA, you know, the sweepy, fake English riding :)I want my horses to drive from the rear more, to go forward into the contact with the bit.I feel like my drive gets stuck in the neck. Am I making sense or am I insane?

mugwump said...

karen v-
you crack me up...

Karen V said...

LOL!! i crack myself up! I tell ya, the things I've lived through!

H4M - No "real " problem. Minor stiffness in the butt, but when I fell, I landed more on my left hip, than square on my pelvis. I do have a beauty of a bruise behind my left knee though. The chair was resin, ladder back with arm rests. (It only has one arm rest now but that's beside the point) Mike was all bummed because once again, he missed making the $10,000 video on America's Funniest Home Videos.

FAM is probably STILL laughing about it and sharing with the rest of the mob! And here I thought they were nickering for their breakfast....

hope4more said...

I am glad to hear you aren't to beat up.

Pffffftttttt.......sorry I keep laughing, it is just the visual.

I am sure my horses could tell you all some really good ones too, I am glad they can't type. Here I thought they were nickering for breakfast too, apparently not ;)

Char said...

OMFG Karen V, I'm so glad I was reading your posts at home as you had me laughing histerically in front of my computer.

Mugwump, about the relaxing the front and driving from behind:

Most of the EP and WP horses pull themselves along with the front end, but if you want them to actually go correctly in pleasure form...

Drive, drive, drive. Start out with a smidgen of contact on the reins and drive them forward with your legs. If you're using a snaffle bit, consider the fact that you will have to use twice as much leg to get them into frame as a leverage bit.

As you continue to drive them forward at first the walk, when they start to reach for the bit, that's when you know you're on the right track. If they don't reach for contact, use your fingers on the reins to VERY lightly see-saw on the bit to encourage them to reach for it. If you overdue the see-saw you'll loose them and they'll back off the bit.

It takes a lot of time in the saddle to get them to start rounding up. Once you do some walking, try doing some trotting with contact. Once they are "on the bit", loosen the reins about an inch. Once they reach find the bit again, loosen the reins again. So on and so forth.

Keep in mind that you will have to be willing to let them go in a VERY forward (read fast) trot until they understand what you are trying to get them to do, then once you can feel them round up, have contact on the bit and they are driving from behind, you can start asking them to slow down using half-halts, again, using A LOT of leg.

Hope this helps!
(actually, I hope I explained it properly and you can actually understand what I'm trying to say...)

Char said...

By the way, Mugwump:

I prefer to use a pelham bit such as an Argentine snaffle or other bit that has a snaffle rien and a curb rein. That way you can alternate between the two or combine in a split second right when you need to.

mugwump said...

Char-Thanks! I see no reason why I can't get that drive and leg extension at the faster clip we go at, correct? As long as my horse is pushing into the bit and my hand is a safe place to go, shouldn't I be able to create a level top line, even at 30+ mph down the fence?
I plan on starting at a walk, with the snaffle, but my goal is flat out in the full bridle....
but you're giving me a headache with the dual rein stuff...I'm just a romel riding gunzel...

Char said...

You got the picture exactly! Ever heard of being "flat out like a lizzard drinking"?? Well, there ya go! You get the frame first, eventhough you feel like you're doing close to mock2 - then once you get the frame you start reining it in.

In fact, as you start to slow them, they get shorter and even rounder framed...they have to, to balance themselves now that they're not plinking along on the front end.

Char said...

As for the double reined bits - I love them. They seemed complicated to me, but my guy does his best stuff in an Argentine snaffle, so I had to learn when I bought him. Now I use all those reins all the time, even for trail rides! Now I absolutelly LOVE being able to switch from a snaffle, to a curb, or use both for a milder curb/snaffle effect.

my horse HATES plain ring snaffle bits. Can't stand the nutcracker action on his jaw. His favrite bit in the whole world is an antique one that I found on E-bay - it has the Billy Allen large copper roller reining bit mouthpiece along with a snaffle ring so that I can use both the rings and the shanks. LOVES it.

Princess Jess said...

Oh, good! I'm so happy to hear that he is loved. :)

Yeah, besides all of the trotting and making him tired, now I know that I should have taken a hold of his mouth, especially when he did the whole nose-to-chest thing. Instead, I dropped the contact, which, of course, was just what he wanted.

Sneaky horse. :)

Heat Stroke in FL said...

Good job VLC!! I think this blog has helped you. I know for sure that my blog has helped me.

I doubt you will revert back. I think it's like riding a bike, you never really forget. Once you get back on, it all comes back to you.

*clap clap clap* Okay, I didn't really clap, but I imagined it.

Sagebrusheq said...

>>Well, I've only come off twice since I started riding again in 2003, and both times, the horse fell hard from a canter, so that was why.<<

Well no wonder! You neglected to mention that detail before, now I can relate. Going down with the horse is a whole different kettle of fish than just getting launched. For the most part I don't remember the occasions and have no idea how many times I've gone sailing (a standing joke with my buddies in Utah was 'Sandy's trick riding again') but I can recall in detail every time I've gone down WITH a horse: what horse, where we were, what led up to it, how we landed, the footing, the weather- very scary stuff. That's when you thank your lucky stars, reevaluate, and think real hard about whether this is the particular horse you want to break your neck on.

>>Can you imagine the stories our horses would tell if they could blog....<<

Well, there's Kipling's 'The Maltese Cat'; and Tschiffley wrote an account of his famous ride from the point of view of his two Criollos. I can't recall the name of the latter but it's one of my favorite horse stories. Tschiffley was only an occasional horseman and most of what he knew he learned on the trail from Tierra del Fuego to Washington, but somehow he turned out a good horse's first person account of the ride- maybe because he was writing for children: I've noticed that more than one author let's down his reserve and circumspection when writing for that audience. And of course there's 'Smoky the Cowhorse' by Will James. James is pretty sentimental and anthropomorphic in his depiction but within that he displays a great knowledge of horses and what makes them tick.


equus said...

I recently got back into riding and forced myself to stay calm and assertive no matter what else was going on (the horse was good but spooky from lack of use for 1+ years). I had practice staying calm+assertive from recently raising a puppy, and it really did help. I suspect that maybe you have rediscovered your calm-assertiveness. Just like horses don't forget even many years after training/riding, I think riders who were once well-trained/skilled themselves are much the same. At least that's what I tell myself! For what it's worth, the horse I've been working with had a major tendency to buck at first and he hasn't gotten me off even though it's been an embarrassing amount of time since I've been riding regularly. You'll be fine from here on. Your instincts will take over, I swear. Just breath. There is always the VLCs mane :) And, of course, keep those heels down!

brat_and_a_half said...

I had a great ride tonight too. I think this is #6 (4th off the lead/without a walker), and it started off pretty badly. After tacking the little WB filly, I went to leave the barn yard to the riding ring, and she wouldn't follow. I gave a tug and she flipped her head and back up. So I dropped all the lunging equipment I was holding and we did some ground work. You'll follow me, and be damn happy you're lucky enough to follow me. After a 2 minute refresher, she lead great, 100% responsive. When we lunged, she started pulling again, which is something she hasnt done the last few times. She also go springy and slow as she went around, so we sent some time chasing to get her going forward and no feeling so cocky. By the end she had some really good moves off, and trot-walks, and walk-halts, which she had tested the last 2 sessions. When we long lined, she tested the stopping a bit, but was WAY better about going straight unless told other wise. And when I go on, she was wonderful!! Forward, stearing really well, and we even trotted! First just a few steps, then half a long side to a buddy, and then followed a buddy down the long side. And she was great. Her head came up, its usally pretty level, but she just kept straight and walked when I half halted. I was very proud of her. :)

which_chick said...

Today I'm going out to ride PH in the local horse dealer's "start of summer" trail ride. It's an all-walking two and a half hours of not-very-difficult riding (trotting might make you spill your beer*, as would anything but nice quiet blacktop and gravel roads) but there are Drafts and Buggies and Mules, Oh MY! There are gaited horses and hay wagons and lots of exciting things for a young horse to see.

Fortunately for me, the weather is supposed to be low nineties -- I'm not proud. Horse doesn't pick a fight because it's so stinking hot, that's a win in my book.

I'm wearing shorts. I may regret that decision later but it's six AM and seventy two degrees and sticky. I do not want to put pants on.

*I will not personally have a beer.

Sydney said...

Fugs: Some tips on taking arena pictures. I have to take them all the time for people because I am the only one with a good camera at the barn I work at.

1. Put your back to any light source (unless you have a backlight setting on your camera, if you do put the horse in front of the light source)
2. Use the highest ISO setting your camera has. Most newer (as in 5 years new) digital cameras have that setting. Try and get a camera with an ISO shutter speed of 1/30 second or higher because you will be moving.
3. Wear light colored clothing (rider)

Argyle said...

First time responding here! OK, I am a 41 year old re-rider. I am a hunter rider. Started riding when I was 5 years old, and stopped when I was 34 years old. (had three kids)I used to be a competive A/O hunter rider on the A circuit, so I was a very experienced and knowledgable rider. Fast forward to today...I bought a yearling two years ago. I have been doing ground work w/him all this time, and he has gone to several breeding shows. Well he turned three this spring. Finally time to ride!! (I have been riding my friends prospect horses for the past two years, so I have my "sea legs" back! Third time I was on my boy, who is extremely lazy and slow, he very unexpectadely reared, then bucked, and I hit the dirt. I was a little sore, but nothing major. So I got back on, and everything was fine for several weeks. He is a very good natured boy, and never tried anything like that again. Then two weeks later, we were cantering, and he stumbled, and went down to his knees. I hit the dirt again! And ate a mouthfull of ring dirt! Luckily I was not seriosly hurt. I got back on, But now I'm totally chicken shit. The tripping thing is always on my mind. Does any one else have a baby that has tripped and fallen w/ it's rider? He hasn't done any stumbling in the last three rides since the incident, but I'm afraid to canter him at all, in fear that he may do it again.

Sagebrusheq said...

Hi Argyle;

Young horses are clumsy getting used to the new balance of a rider on their back and getting fit in the process. Some often stumble. You have your sea legs back but he's never had any to begin with. Give him a summer of slow work over uneven ground walking hills stepping over things. Sit up, sit back, give him his head and give him time. I ride a basic hunt/military seat too but not so forward on youngsters that a peck will throw you onto his forehand. If you don't have access to the outdoors make do with cavaletti. There's no reason for a horse to pick up his feet in a groomed arena so learning is slow especially if he a daisy cutter to begin with. Of course I have no way of knowing what's really going on with your guy but this is what popped into my head. Assume that he probably will stumble again as he adjusts.


Mary said...

I'm riding SSP tonight, come hell or high water! No bugs, no wind, no NUFFIN is going to keep me from it! Wish me luck!!!

Mary said...

WE DID IT! I took all 3 horses out to get prettied up then tacked up the SSP. She wasn't really happy about the cinch, but didn't move a foot for it. I worked on mounting and dismounting because she would fly her head. About 4 times up and down and she was falling asleep. She's sooo much like her momma, I love it! We did some walk/trot around the suppose-to-be dry lot. She's really good about moving, but has a habit of stopping before being asked, so I just gave her a bit of leg and a kiss and she moved on.

She's still got that drunken-sailor walk, but she's willing. I asked for a trot and her head came up, but she went right into it. If Daddy wasn't riding the really-loud-horse-eating-grass-stealing-monster, I would of asked for a canter, but she was a bit on edge everytime he went by.

Things I have to work on:
Giving to the leg easier
Softer at the poll
Turning off the hind (She's great about turning off the fore)
Straight lines!!!

I think tomorrow I'm going to do more trotting work in semi-small circles and get her balancing out a bit more. Lots, and lots of ass is cringing just thinking about it!

Amazingly enough, for how tiny she is, she's very smooth. She's only 14.2 hands, but she has a great ground-covering gait.

YAYAYAAY! I RODE MY BABY GIRL!!!!! Daddy watched from the Lawnmower, beaming with pride that his Spoiled Spotted Princess was taking everything in with little excitment.

which_chick said...

The ride with PH went very well. She doesn't really trailer load (my bad -- I should have checked this out before trying "for real".) but it's a wide-open step-up stock trailer and she did get on fine after looking at it a bit. (No violence, no blow-ups, no excitement, just a few tugs and she stood there like a doof for two minutes before she got on. I would like her to step up immediately, no hesitation, so that's on our list of to-do's for next week.)

We saw Donkeys! A Stud Horse (running the line of his fence and *screaming* at the ladies on the other side)! ATVs! Pickup trucks with people sitting in lawn chairs in the truckbeds. Pickup trucks with flags stuck in the holes in the bed. Horse and Buggy! Strange horses that we did not know! Traffic! Several paved-road bridges! Guard rails! We ponied another horse! (Okay, at the walk only, one known to PH and an expert at being ponied, to boot. The kid who was riding the pony got a headache from the heat and was sent back to camp in one of the aforementioned pickup trucks, which is why the pony had no rider.)

PH took everything in stride, didn't put a foot wrong at all. It was a good outing. I feel a lot more confident about the whole ctr training efforts (starting next week) at this point.

Lisa said...

How is your colt bred? Thanks and good luck with him.

verylargecolt said...

Mary, congratulations!

Lisa, here's his pedigree