Wednesday, 27 May 2020

A Training Opportunity

My rides of late have been pretty good.

Phantom has still been enjoying her semi-retired status, which mean short, infrequent rides. She's been looking pretty good lately - now that it's warmed up her lingering slight offness has mostly disappeared. She felt quite good on Sunday's ride. A little slow to warm up, but once she was going she felt even and ready to work.

Cisco has been trying really hard lately to be a Good Boy. Our right bend has gotten way better, to the point that I might have changed his good side to the right. Which means that we both now share the left as our weaker side. Crap. 

Looking at his buddy Blue who just entered the arena. Another distraction.

On our Sunday ride I really liked the feel of the right lead canter. It was a canter I really felt I could do something with.

Oh, but that left lead.

On this particular day, the canter itself wasn't the real problem. The problem was that Cisco really wanted to leave, and it was much more convenient to do while on the left lead.

We've had a bunch of rides lately where we've ridden inside for a bit and then rode out of the arena to toodle around outside. As most horses do, Cisco would much prefer to be outside than inside. When the gate is open, he figures we should be heading out.

On Sunday, someone had left the arena while I was riding and left the gate wide open. Somewhat annoying, but a good training opportunity for Cisco. Just because a gate is open doesn't mean we get to through it.

The gate is on the short side corner. Tracking right, we ride past the gate. Tracking left, we head straight towards the gate. 

We first tried a left lead canter at the gate end. Cisco used his Spanish horse ability to whip his shoulders to the inside and sharply turned to the gate when I asked for the transition. Twice.

So we went down to the far end. It was better in that his shoulders didn't fall in, but he also didn't want to turn left to do a circle. There were a lot of turns that were made by pulling on the left rein.

But I stuck with it and it got better. We were able to finish on a lovely turn off my outside aids.

And then I made him halt in front of the gate and wait. He wasn't real happy about it, but he did it.

I could have gotten off and closed the gate. But to me it's just another training opportunity to take advantage of. 


  1. oh man, charlie has been gate sour too since the day i bought him. ughhhhhhh. i feel like nothing short circuits my patience faster too lol. usually it's only sorta just subtly there, but every now and then. yea. like you say. "training opportunities."

    i've personally tried like, everything. doing our "hard work" on the end with the gate, rests at the far end.... using multiple gates interchangeably when that's an option.... with isabel, i actually would often just dismount in the center of the ring, then lead her out in hand. that was actually pretty effective for her. it doesn't really work for charlie bc his arena is so far from the barn and i am #lazy; but i do make him do a small circle at the gate every single time before we leave (every.single.time) so at least he never thinks he can just dart straight thru.... ugh lol. keep fightin the good fight!

    1. It was a combo of the gate being open and all his friends leaving that made it worse than usual. Usually that also means that the scary end he was perfectly happy in suddenly becomes terrifying again, and that didn't happen, so that was a positive?