Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making him think

So riding this week isn't going so well since my arena flooded Monday, again.  This time I built a semi-permanent dam with clay and a landscaping pole so hopefully this crap stops once and for all.  Only time will tell.  I rode in the rain on the road Monday night in an attempt to ride the TWH at least some before my clinic and while it was hard to ride much dressage when riding just in a straight line on the road, we did work on transitions and it wasn't too bad.  It rained too hard Tuesday night to ride on the road and I still had puddles in my arena so I had to give the TWH the day off. 

Wednesday I checked the arena and the puddles were gone and while there were some soft spots still, I could now use half of my arena so I took advantage and rode.  When I went to hop on, the TWH had stepped forward a full 2 steps ahead of the mounting block.  I told him to back and he actually didn't, surprising since he listens so well.  He does know how to back on a lunge line so I asked again and might as well have been talking to the arena wall.  That started a quick groundwork session to sharpen his responses and the TWH made a Very. Bad. Choice.  When I smacked him in the chest with the reins when he didn't back by a voice command, he picked his front feet off of the ground.  Very.  Bad.  Idea.  As a reformed rearer, one that was bad enough his owners had considered putting him down, taking ones hoof off of the ground is absolutely Not Tolerated for any reason.  I let hell rain down on him for a good 30 seconds.  I made sure he understood I could kill him if I wanted to and that rearing is never, ever a good idea.  Then I just walked away from him.  He trotted off, happy to be away from the lunatic, but when I walked over to him he came right back to me. 

We did some basic yielding exercises before I asked him to back by voice (instead of body language) and while he visibly stiffened, he didn't rear.  He also didn't back.  I grabbed a lunge line so I had a little more control and it took all of 5 minutes before he remembered how to back by a voice command, even if I was beside or behind him.  Good horse!  For his "test" I stood at his stifle and made him back until his head was at my shoulder, all without stepping away from me, and when he got to my shoulder he very purposefully turned and placed his head in my chest and just held it there.  It was so sweet, like he was saying "I'm sorry mom!  I got it figured out, I know I was bad".  I love working him and watching him think, he is expressive enough you can absolutely see what he is thinking.

The rest of the ride went pretty well.  I only had a circle of arena I could use and I knew I only had a ride or two before the clinic so I kept it simple by asking for transitions and basic flexion and he gave it to me willingly.  Looking forward to Saturday, I don't know if I will have pictures but will try to get some.  One of the bigger reasons I don't post many pictures is my slow internet speed, a 500k file can take a minute or two to upload and a 2mb or bigger can take 5+ mins to load.  Let's not even get started on video, my cattle sorting video took almost 45 mins to upload :(  At least I have "high speed" internet, even if my download speed is .66mb and my upload speed is .32mb today. 


  1. Lol sorry about your arena and internet. Our computer is slower then it should be because its far from the router, I just go do laundry etc while uploading. Glad your TWH remembered his manners with a little help :)

  2. Ugh my internet has been bad lately too. It's normally pretty good, but lately it just bogs down several times a day. I feel your pain. I couldn't imagine it being that bad all the time... yuck.

    I hope you had fun at the clinic!!!