Friday, June 24, 2011

I Lost My Cool & Hey, Take a Ride On Cowboy!

Free rides. Step right up. Join me on the trails with my human and horse buddies. What a wonderful day down Wonderful Rd. You can just jump right up on Cowboy's back and ride along.

After you're all relaxed from your ride, let's sit and talk about Beautiful's training, Day #2. She let me get her out of the pasture--as usual at the back 20. But that's about where the good left off.

The Girl wouldn't lead away from her herd! I tried to get her moving forward with no success, so finally I decided to do something either really stupid or really smart, only time will tell. Since she wanted to back up, I backed her up through all three pasture gates--the whole way, yep, about ten acres, all the way to the barn.

In honesty, I think it was stupid, but my thinking was that if she was going to back up or balk, I might as well be directing her feet for her.

Believe it or not, that's not where I lost my cool.

We got to the barn with Old Red whinnying at us and running behind which scared BG as we left the barn to go to the arena. Once at the arena we worked on leading with the same issues--balking and backing. This time I had my lunge whip and I could fling it behind her and get her moving forward. But in the fifteen minutes of work to get her moving out smoothly and consistently, I lost my cool. My energy level had gone from 0 to 60 without me even knowing it. I finally caught myself and brought it back down. And, how I caught myself was that I saw the look in her eye change to a kind of startled expression. Oops. Horses really are mirrors.

I had to finish what I started, but with the lowered energy and consistency she started doing nice controlled circles both ways.

Time to practice leading. Again, I used the whip to tap her hind, if she balked, and keep her going forward. I was wishing I had one of those flags that Kitty Lauman uses--but the hard end of the whip served its purpose. With the other horses I can fling the end of the lead around (15' lead), but she needed a little more. We walked and trotted together around the arena and around barrels.

Time to bring the energy further down. Last, we worked on bending, but not moving the feet, as if I was getting ready to mount. I put pressure against her withers and brought her head in, giving her line each time she came all the way around. What I discovered is that BG is better on her left than right.

By the end of the lesson I had thoroughly regained my cool, she was partnering with me and seemed to be enjoying herself, and we ended on a good note, releasing her once again back to the herd. However, she didn't run off. She stood by me. I had to shoo off the other horses, but we stood and relaxed together.

Every day is a surprise, isn't it--both about her and about me. Can't wait for day #3.


  1. Thanks for the ride! Nice riding terrain.
    I get ticked off at myself when I let my emotions get the better of me when I'm schooling a horse. When things don't go according to my plan, it always means I'm not reading my horse correctly or understanding where my horse is in that moment. They speak, but sometimes I don't know how to listen.

  2. Shirley, that's true for me, too. I remember my thoughts right before I caught myself and they were, "Beautiful is a stubborn horse." I think I said that to myself several times. So, I have to watch what I think when I'm working with her. Actions follow thoughts.

  3. What a beautiful ride, the scenery is amazing. It seems like it would be cool, being near the water there. How nice it is to have that peace of riding in your life :)

  4. Hi Joanne--I am lucky to get these experiences. It was a windy day yesterday, but pretty peaceful down below by the water. We had to descend a ways to get there and then go back up some very steep, rocky trails to get back.

    Kate--I accidentally deleted your comment from my phone. The two buttons are very close together, Publish and Delete, and my fingers goofed it up, but I did read the comment. Thank you for leaving one.

    I'm glad I got my cool back, too. With Beautiful it's like talking to someone who learned English as a second language and still has a very heavy accent. We kind of know what the other is saying, but there are lots of mix-ups and yesterday I was blaming her for those. I had no right to get frustrated since I'm the one asking her to learn the language and I'm the one who gave her the initial lessons. I'll try to remember that today.

  5. Wow! That was a beautiful ride! Thanks for letting me ride along, especially since I don't have a horse to ride right now. Thanks Cowboy!

  6. What a nice place to ride. My horses still get concerned when they hear flowing water, and I have to fight them to get them to move toward it.

  7. I think you made BG realize her avoiding by backing meant she will have to work and much easier to comply.
    My mare avoids by backing up or just being Bella, lol
    I back her anytime she does it on her own, we got some miles on backing but she dang good at it now :0)
    But to all fairness to my mare she has never jumped on me etc, if worried she backs away safely. Heck if spook she jumps away from me and backs, but realizes oh crap mama going to work me now. I have back Bella through countless gates, stalls, pastures , driveways and usually half way through she is begging for forward movement and will not attemp to back away unless asked.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.