Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Frisky Horses

Here is the Pacific Northwest we experienced a dramatic change in weather in the course of one day. Monday was 75 degrees and sunny, Tuesday was about 55-60 degrees, cloudy, and raining. Hard on the people (I have a cold now, thank you stupid weather), and hard on the horses too. I found it rather funny however, people at the barn I board at were all freaking out trying to find their horses' winter blankets and turnout sheets. Really? People dont seem to understand that horses adapt their coats based on daylight, not heat.

But anyways, I had heard that most of the horses at the facility were really frisky, probably due to the weather change. Milo was no excpetion to this. And we rode in the indoor arena because well, it was raining and the outdoor was wet. Milo typically works more focused in the outdoor arena - we are usually alone, the arena is larger, and I think he is claustrophobic and scared of the dark. But I welcome any change to further training and by george we pay for the facility and its covered arena and we are going to use it! :)

I felt it was probably a good day to longe him before hand, but with too many people in the arena that idea didnt pan out. So I got on him and flexed him, disengaged his hind quarters, and basically worked on simple things Milo knows, to try and get him mind tuned in with me and not the hubub going on in the arena (and the scary back corner of the arena).

My issue when Milo isnt using his "smart" brain, is I think about collecting him and making him work hard. I have learned however that it doesnt get his mind focused on me. He may collect up, but his ears are still pricked to everything else but me. So yesterday I had been reading about an excersise called "riding the square" which I have worked on before. Lately Milo has been a little lazy and has been dropping his shoulder, so I thought it would be a simple excersise to warm him up with and loosen up his shoulders too. It was great. I walked him on a loose rein and worked on riding those 90 degree haunch turns (not at a halt, at a walk), than worked it at a trot. About ten minutes into this excersise, Milo dropped his head, rounded his back and sighed (on a loose rein!). It was a great excersise. It also really helped he (and I) to ride between my legs. It was great. The arena cleared out (briefly) so I loped him both ways on a loose rein and tried to get tighter turns (not expecting a 90 degree turn however, but a nice turn on his haunches and raising his shoulders). It was a great excersise to warm him up with and get him loose and using his body.

Then two lessons came in and a fellow boarder, but we were all about to work on the rail pretty nicely. I mostly worked the bulk of the ride on his trot/jog to lope and lope to trot/jog transitions staying balanced and round. He did great, a few times where there was people coming in and out, but overall he kept his focus really well and worked off his hind end nicely.

While I still want to work more on the flying change, Milo was not in the frame of mind to work on anything new, nor was there even space in the arena. Which was fine. We got to work on other important things and ended with a great ride.
Best horse ever.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Sounds like a great ride! Your riding the squares exercise is a good one. I tend to do a lot of figure - smallish circles, serpentines, etc. to help the horse focus.