Monday, January 17, 2011


I haven’t blogged much, lately. It’s the winter blues. I am so ready for spring. I am tired of riding in the arena and walking my dog in the dark after work. The snow is too deep and it is just too cold most of the time. It may be 40 degrees tomorrow, but they are predicting freezing rain.

I am tired of working, too. Oh, I am glad I have a job, but I am ready to retire. I chose a date. January 21, 2025. I have a goal, now. It seems like a long time, but as I get older, time just goes faster. It will be here in no time.

Anyway, Cruiser seems very sound. The farrier is coming out this week and I will have him put shoes on. I will then start riding him at a walk, only, for a few weeks. Well, I may try a trot just to see if he will trot sound while being ridden, but that is all. He is very, very energetic from the limited exercise. I’m sure he will be quite a handful, but I am used to it. He has been a handful for me for the last 21 years—I certainly don’t’ want that to change, now.

My other handful of a horse is settling down, beautifully. I have entirely quit lounging him before I ride him. I just lead him about for a few minutes to make sure he is of the right mind to ride. I figure I could always go back and get a lounge line if necessary.

Anyway, he is starting to transform into a horse I have only dreamed about. In just the last week, he went from a horse that continually goes above the bit—resisting any solid contact to a horse that is reaching for the bit, taking contact and rounding up underneath me. If I ask him for more energy, he is starting to collect and really step under himself. This is just in a week! I don’t think this is normal. I feel it is directly due to clicker. I let him go a few deep, collected strides, and then I click. He stops for his treat, and we do it again. This is completely unreal for me. I only work in the arena a few months out of the year. I think Cruiser started to do this about the age of 12. Cole’s stride gets huge—and it throws me out of the saddle. I need to work on myself.

I never shortened the reins through this. I only use a snaffle bit, too. I just figured if I rode well, did lots of transitions and circles to improve his strength and balance and clicked when he did something outstanding, it would all come in time. I just thought it would be a lot more time than this to start to see him transform.

My sister saw me ride him this weekend, so she confirmed everything I felt. She says he looks magnificent, but I can’t get her to ride him so I could see what he looks like.

Quite the trail horse I have, huh?

I still haven’t figured out a way to gently get him cantering for me. My sister suggests waiting a few weeks before I start trail riding, again, because he will get pretty excited about adding cantering to the mix, and I then may have trouble settling him down to work, again. As usual, I think her advice is good. In the mean time, I will teach him to get very responsive to acceleration requests. Maybe I will be able to accelerate him right into the canter.


achieve1dream said...

That sounds so incredible!!! You should have your sister take some pictures of you riding him. I love seeing pictures of the cutie. :) I'm glad things are going well, now we just eagerly look forward to spring lol. I'm getting tired of the cold too, although this has been the best winter in years due to my taking an iron supplement (discovered I'm anemic back in August I think). I just hope it doesn't affect how well I deal with summer heat!

Doesn't it suck how fast time goes by? I noticed time started going faster at seventeen when I got my first job and it's just going faster and faster. :( I'll just focus on stopping to smell the roses more and try not to worry so much about the future. Maybe that will help. :)

I'm so happy Cruiser is sound!!! That is so exciting you get to ride him again. I'll keep my fingers crossed that he eases back into work and stays sound. Dealing with lameness can be so frustrating. :)

Oh and also wanted to say I love clicker!!! (sorry your success with Cole has be excited lol) :) I just finished Alexanda Kurland's book Clicker Training for your Horse and I'm seriously considering getting the one for under saddle work. I worry that I won't be able to make the transition from ground to mounted with the clicker, but I'm sure by the time that gets here I'll be ready to make the leap. :)

achieve1dream said...

Eeek I see pictures! I will be back as soon as I get supper cooked lol.

I didn't even think about that with the umbrellas. I don't think it'll be a problem though because he listens well, like when I tell him not to play with the lead rope. :) Besides he's easy to distract lol!

I had no idea about the well water. I grew up on well water, but it had too much sulfur in it so we drank bottled water until I moved to the city. I'm glad to hear that about the heat though because I sure would be sad if it made me not enjoy it. I'm just pleased I don't get so cold anymore. :)