Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day one of Wet blankets and long miles

For the first "real" session back of the season, my goal was two fold; work on conditioning and cadence by trotting out on a loose rein, expecting Stevie to maintain speed and pace.  I alternate between a long fast trot and a shorter slower trot (I don't use the terms collected or extended yet because these are too advanced for what we are doing.  Eventually this exercise will turn into that, but for now, the focus is more on speed and tempo than anything else).

With any young horse, but especially when coming back into work, I start with a quick overview of pre-requisite ground skills.  I don't want the horse tired at all when I go to climb on, but I do want her thinking.  The typical 'drill' might go something like this:

  1. Circle left
  2. Disengage the hips
  3. Back three steps
  4. Send the shoulders right
  5. circle right, disengage the hips, back three steps and send the shoulders left
  6. circle left
  7. draw the horse to you and send right
  8. repeat the other way
Stevie ultimately performed these tasks well, but had a bit of a temper tantrum when warming up with the saddle on.  Even though it was a pretty extreme reaction, by giving her a moment to work through it, I was able to get her mind back, finish the drill and then ride without any further issue.

Please use caution and common sense.  Horses are large animals, with an exceptional amount of power and strength.  They are also concerned above all with their own personal safety, and will do whatever they feel it takes to keep themselves from harm.  Being individuals that act and react differently, the only certainty you have when working a horse is uncertainty.  I am a professional trainer with twenty plus years experience, yet even with the knowledge I possess, I still get hurt from time to time.  This blog and the accompanying media are for entertainment purposes only.  No responsibility will be assumed for injuries or damages incurred while trying to use these methods at home.  Please ride responsibly; protective gear can save your life!

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