Monday 15 January 2018

First Step to Riding Again

The weather has finally changed for the better. Another 30 degree shift in less than 48 hours meant that Saturday afternoon we hit a beautiful 0 degrees celsius. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day.

And I was stuck inside at work until dark.

I made it out to the barn in the evening to let the ponies loose in the arena with the thought of getting rid of the sillies before getting a few rides in over the next few days. Phantom of course totally obliged, and had a couple of good spurts of speed with a whole lotta head tossing and joyous rollkur through the downward transitions. She's going to put her neck out one day.

I was hoping that Cisco would be happy to zoom around as he goes back to work this week. Despite the fact that he was super spooky in the barn and on the way to the arena, once in there he was pretty chill. We did some more work with the clicker and treats at the scary end and he hung out for a bit down there checking things out and sniffing the ground (significant improvement). When I finally decided to chase him a bit, I literally had to chase him. He was not overly ambitious at all.

Cisco got fig cookies for the first time. By the 4th cookie, he decided that he liked them.

The forecast for Sunday kept getting colder as the week went on. On the morning of, it was supposed to be not too bad in the morning at about -9, but get colder through the afternoon. I had a lesson to teach in the morning, so by the time I got out to the barn it was about -13, with a windchill of -17. I decided that I was just going to lunge Cisco in tack. I was cold after standing while teaching and was not wanting to do more than one horse. 

I haven't tacked Cisco up with a saddle and bridle since the beginning of November. So I'm trying to be smart about getting ready to hop back on him again. (Unlike the Bad Eventer!)

Sunday was lunge in a saddle and bridle day. He was a twit coming into the barn, super spooky again, and was a twit about standing while getting tacked up. I'm sure it took like 4 minutes to do up his noseband as it was head up/head down the whole time. But we eventually made it into the arena.

I decided to lunge down in the scary end. Mostly because there were too many poles set up in the happy end and I was too lazy didn't want to move them.

The work that I have been doing with the clicker training in the scary end has paid off. There were a couple of pigeons on the fence down there that were a bit scary as they flew around, but Cisco was so much better than he was last fall. He still looked and cranked his head to the outside and dropped his shoulder in, and there was one spooky bolt, but he kept going forward, and for the most part did so in a relaxed manner. He seems to be getting much better about continuing to go forward when worried, instead of stopping and just immediately saying "nope".

I was super happy with how he lunged. Hopefully the clicker work will cross over when I am sitting on his back.

Tomorrow - long lining in the hopes that he remembers how to steer.


  1. The weather has been crazy- up, down, really down, OMG how much colder can it get, then up.... He looks so cute lunging.

    1. It looks like we will have a reprieve of about a week before temperatures drop again. Not really cold though - but cold enough that I will find an excuse not to ride but feel slightly guilty for doing so.
      And yes - he's pretty cute.

  2. Our weather has been insane lately too - lots of temp drops at super random times! Glad you were able to get out and have fun with the horses tho!!

  3. sounds like a solid start! still tho.... i'm ready for some warmer weather!

  4. He looks very good. I like how he naturally carries his head.He should be able to build some muscle on his own.

    1. He has some good instincts on how to carry himself - when he is relaxed and not pretending he is a giraffe.