Monday, 16 July 2018

Great Intentions

You know those days when you wake up with great plans and ready to go for the day? That was my Sunday.

I have to get up all week at 5am for work, so I figured I would get up early and get a ride in before I taught a couple of lessons at 10am. The alarm went off at 7, and I was at the barn by 8:15.

Without my riding boots. D'oh!

I thought they were at home by the back door, but when I glanced there on my way out I didn't see them. So I figured they were in my car. They weren't. (They were at the back door.)

When I was young and fit and strong I would have just done my whole ride without stirrups in my running shoes. Now I'm old and fat - that ain't happening.
Phantom had her Appaloosa costume on.
So ponies got lunged, or some variation thereof.

Phantom got lunged. I was hoping to let her loose to get rid of those sillies she's had lately, but someone else was riding and I was running tight for time. So just took her over to the arena in her halter and snapped on the lunge line. And holy, did she ever give me a dirty look when I sent her out on a circle! It was very much a "I cannot believe you expect to me to go around you in a circle." look.

When I asked her to pick up a trot, she picked up the shuffliest, laziest trot in the world. For a whole 10 steps before she came back to walk, totally ignoring me in the middle of the circle. So I reeled her in a little closer and snapped the whip and growled at her and she picked up a super trot.

She obviously had to make sure her opinion about lunging was being heard.
The attitude was apparent before we lunged (I didn't notice the tongue stuck out until later)
After that she was fine, and lunged nice and forward on a big circle. I figured there would be an explosion at some point, which momentarily happened after she stumbled behind and then got mad, but otherwise Phantom behaved nicely. I quite like the way she is moving these days, she looks nice and loose in her body and very happy to move forward.

I haven't done anything with Cisco since last Monday. He doesn't free lunge very well as he wants to stay too close to me, so it's hard to get him to burn off some energy. So I thought I would set up a little jump again for him to go back and forth over. This time, I used a plank instead of a pole, just for something different.
Goober grabbed his halter from where it was resting on the mounting block.
He noticed it was different, and didn't want to go near it. Instead of trying to rush him towards it, I had him just walk over it both ways, after which he deemed it acceptable, and we were able to trot over it both directions.

Then I popped it up to the top of the standards (a whole 15" high) and sent Cisco towards it at a canter. And this is where I thought it got interesting.

The right is Cisco's preferred way of going. When loose he usually tries to stay this direction. Under saddle I don't notice a huge difference between left and right, other than he seems to prefer to bulge his right shoulder out.

Going to the right today, he stayed at a canter, popped over the little jump, did a smallish circle around me, and made a definite decision to go back to the jump, all with little incentive from me.

Then I turned him left. He avoided the jump the first time, rushed over it the second time, and then went and hid in the middle of the arena behind the jumps. I had to go down there, shush him out, get him set up from the corner again to approach the jump, which he would trot over, and then hide again.

Back to the right - another three perfect circles over the jump.

I have no idea what this means, other than that he's more comfortable on his right lead. Just something to keep in the back of my mind for the future.

I'm going to take a lesson on him on Tuesday evening. I don't know if I'll manage to ride on Monday - it's supposed to be 30 celsius out, which is sweltering for us northerners. A lesson after a week off isn't my preferred way of doing things, so we'll see what happens!


  1. I guess he is more comfortable going to the right.

  2. They’re so funny about their one-sidedness sometimes.... esp in the beginning Charlie was VERY CLEAR that he did not appreciate me being on his right side, thankyouverymuch

    1. When I started Cisco, he had a had time understanding lunging to the right. So for the next two weeks, anytime I handled him I led him on the right. That fixed the lunging problem. Now he often wants to be led on the right.

  3. Dante was soooooo goosey on his right side. I always make it a point to lead and tack up from either side. He got over it pretty quickly but it is really interesting horse's individual idiosyncrasies!