Friday, May 13, 2011

New Challenges

Sorry I haven’t blogged for a while. We got busy at work, and that must take priority!

Anyway, we had another high-river weekend. My sister and I just rode Cruise and Ranger up and down the hill multiple times. I rode Cole in the indoor arena and did hill work with him. He is getting better and better on the hill if I ride in the arena first.

So I got brave. On Monday, (after I took Cruiser for a trail ride,) I took him on a trail ride by myself. Once we crossed the river, he was all bouncy and prancy. I didn’t get very far and decided it was time to go home so I would have time to ride him at the barn. I stopped him and had him stand quietly, then got off and led him to the river. It took a little bit before I got him focused with his head down and lined up right with my thigh. Once I get him there and click him a few times for it, he sticks like a magnet. I mounted to cross the river, and dismounted to lead up the hill. He was only rushing at the bottom—then I magnetted him to my leg, and we were fine. I rode him for a half hour in the indoor arena when I got back, and he was awesome. I think he was excited about the trail, and brought that feeling to the arena.

Yesterday, I took Cruiser for a trot-filled trail ride, and then he gaited most of the way home. He was quite wound up. Will he ever settle down? I thought the warmer weather would help quiet him down, but he just wanted to go, go, go…

I decided to forgo another trail ride with Cole and tackle something more serious—the outdoor arena. We only rode there twice and only for about 5 minutes each time. The first time, he was explosive. The second time was this weekend after we did the hill work, and he was tired enough to walk small circles. It is huge with deep sand. I have used it for turnout, and he goes nuts—running and screaming until he is tired. Then he will push and rear at the unsubstantial gate until I bring him out. He will prance and carry on for a few minutes outside the arena, too. I really don’t understand what happens to him in there. If I turn him out the next day, after a big run, he is fine, but won’t do anything other than roll and stand by the gate—wanting to come in. I tried to ride him in there last fall, but I couldn’t even lead safely, so you see, it is a big deal to tackle the outdoor arena.

My teenage friend joined me, and she always gives me confidence. The horse she leases is a huge Thoroughbred that contracted EPM 20 years ago. She doesn’t always move steady, but she acts steady, and she gives me confidence. The girl is also very thoughtful and considerate.

We decided to just stay on the side of the arena by the gate. That way, he would be less likely to charge to the gate as he does when he plays. We walked and trotted our better direction, and he did fine. When I tried to trot the more difficult direction—he took off running and bucking to the gate. I’m glad I wasn’t too far from it. I stopped him and spun him in tiny circles. That was the only time he tried it. I hope that means he learned.

I rode him for 45 minutes. We did a lot of transitions—and I clicked him over and over when he went into his fantastic trot. (You really have to see the trot to believe it.) He was having trouble adjusting to the deeper sand—particularly since it wasn’t smooth. As his trot got better and better, a few times, I swear he was on the verge of a passage. He is simply an over achiever and wants to earn his carrots.

When I was done riding, I lead him around the arena. When we got to the far end, there was a herd of deer that distracted him. Maybe that’s why he tried to take off running when we were at the furthest corner from the gate. Honestly, I couldn’t tell if it was a spook or play. Maybe it was a playful spook. Anyway, I held on tight, and thought he might pull me off my feet—but I won. He then glued himself to my leg and I led him back—clicking, of course.

Tonight if farrier night—so no more riding until the weekend.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Good grief!! He's just full of himself isn't he? Can you pony him with Cruiser (obviously once Cruiser has his spring crazies out) to burn off some energy before you ride him? I'm glad he's such a willing student and that he isn't malicious, but spooks and bucks are still unpleasant.