Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ride 55 - Second ride with a bit and it went great!

Yay it stopped raining!!!!!!!!  :D  It was hot outside but not suffocating, make you want to pass out hot so I rode of course.  The ride was only twenty five minutes (because he was being such a good boy, not because it was hot) and it was our second ride with the bit.  The difference with the bit is just amazing.  He is so responsive to it!

 Uhh.. Chrome... that's not a good pose!!!

 Much better!  He is such a supermodel!

 Looking good (besides the nasty tail and sloppy mane... I fixed that after the ride).

 See how sloppy his mohawk has gotten?

So I hopped on in the yard since the only place we could ride is on the driveways.  I should have gotten pictures of all of the standing water.... yeah our yard is a SWAMP!!  So the only place that has any traction is the driveway.  He prefers harder surfaces because of his stifles anyway.

I sent him up the driveway at a walk and he immediately started that crap where he tries to turn around to go back to the barn.... ugh!  So I kept correcting him, but he would just swing all the way around trying to turn back the other direction.  We seriously looked drunk.  I finally realized (after about half a minute) that our problem was a lack of forward.  So I kicked the crap out of him with my heels and he jumped, startled.  After that he marched off and although he tried to turn a couple of times all it took was one more kick and he cut it out.  That was literally the only thing he did wrong for the whole ride!

So after I got him walking straight and only where I wanted him to go I started working on my position while he warmed up.  I've decided to stop letting him being green stop me from working on my posture.  So I stretched down through my legs, turned my toes forward, rolled my shoulders back and down, engaged my core, stretched up through my head (eyes up!!!), bent my elbows and kept them tucked by my ribs, kept my thumbs up and my hands closed.... that's a LOT to remember without a trainer yelling at me hehe.  I wish hubby had been home so he could get some video so I can see if I had everything right.  When I first started taking lessons I was bad about slouching and leaning forward.  My trainer had me stop the horse and keep leaning back until she said stop.  When she said stop I felt like I was going to topple backward, but she said I was sitting up straight!  It was eye opening.  So I know that just because it feels right it isn't always.  That's why I'm dying to take lessons again.

Okay, after warming him up and working on my position I started thinking about what he needed to learn next.  I wanted to work on neck reining, but he made it obvious he needs more work on steering with a bit so I nixed that idea.  Then I realized that to engage his rear and back he will need to understand a half halt (not to mention it will save my trainer hours of griping at me), so I started working on that.

The thing is I've never taught a horse what a half halt means.  The horses I rode already knew or they were western horses who had never heard of contact, half halts or engagement lol.  I remembered reading at one time that to teach a half halt you ask the horse to stop and then immediately send them forward.  Eventually they learn how to rock back and check themselves without coming to a complete stop.  I figured since he needed some work on whoa that it was definitely an exercise that couldn't hurt.  I was right!  It was great!!

I worked on having him walk on a soft contact (he was keeping his head down, but I couldn't tell for sure if he was behind the vertical so I'm going to have hubby video us this weekend if it's not raining), then I would engage my core, stop following and close my hands.  He stopped!! Every time!!!!!  He's NEVER stopped that well with the sidepull.  So I worked on mixing it up and even added the trot.  We would walk, whoa, immediately back into the walk, whoa, stand still, walk, whoa, walk, trot, walk, whoa, stand still, walk, etc.  I mixed up having him stop and immediately go back into the walk with stopping and standing still because I didn't want him to think he always had to walk off.  He did great differentiating.  We did a lot of practice on standing still too because he's been bad about walking off.  I only had to correct him one or two times.  Normally when I stop him I drop the reins, then I pick them back up and we walk off again, so he got to where if I gathered the reins he would start walking.  So I asked him to stand still then dropped the reins, gathered them up, dropped them, etc. while having him stay still.  He did great.

I also had him stand still while I worked the bit in his mouth alternating gentle squeezes with each hand and he gave to the bit!!  I released to reward him although I'm not sure if that's what I'm actually supposed to do.  I was just so happy he gave because he always braced against the sidepull.  I also practiced flexing him slowly side to side at the poll instead of the through the neck.  He's never been able to do that.  I did a tiny bit of work on backing up, but he's so bad at backing (he's due for a trim and his stifle caught several times during the ride sigh) that I didn't want to push the issue and make him suck back off the bit.  We will work on that more later.

I tried to ask him to bring his shoulders around when we were turning, but he's not ready for that yet!  He needs more work on contact and half halts and leg cues first I think.  I sometimes forget he's still so green because I haven't ridden him much at all over the last two years.  We will try again after he's understanding contact and forward better.  :D

I think that's all we worked on.... I forgot to write this post after the ride like I normally do.  If I wait hours I forget details lol.  Even if I forgot something it's okay.  The ride was awesome and that's all that matters.  My back was starting to hurt and he was being such a good boy that I ended the ride at twenty five minutes.  Then it was time for some beauty shop because he was looking grungy!

 Pretending like he had to work hard!

He actually sweated even though we really only walked for twenty five minutes.  It was still fairly warm, but for June I wasn't complaining and besides it wasn't rain so I was happy!!  So after the ride I washed his tail because I remembered that was one of my goals for this month and I hadn't done it even once!  Oops.  I was also supposed to practice braiding, but my back was hurting so I didn't feel like it.  I also trimmed his mane since it was getting floppy as you saw in the picture up above.  I'm really proud of how well I did on his mane.  Normally when I cut it with scissors I get it uneven and it looks horrible so I cut it all off lol!  This time I managed to leave a bit of a mohawk and got it even too.  :D

 The boy is looking much more civilized hehe.

Here is a before and after shot of his tail.  I just washed the part below the dock with Dawn dishwashing liquid and then soaked it in straight vinegar because I read somewhere that it's supposed to help remove stains.  I didn't really notice much of a difference since it looks just like last time I washed it.  Oh well!  I need to buy some actual whitening shampoo but I haven't been to the store!

Below is one while he was in the shade and it made him really dark, but I actually really like it!  It's kind of artsy hehe.

We had fun!  I'm so happy it stopped raining.  :D

I can't wait for him to build some back, loin and butt muscles
so his back doesn't look sooooo loooooong!  Hehe.


  1. Remind me not to live where you live. All that mud. Yuck. You'll probably have better success training in the bit for a while, and then when he's reliably responsive, you can try bitless again. I do like the cross-under Dr. Cook type better than the sidepull.

    I saw something on RFD-TV the other night that I had never seen before. A lady lunged her horse backwards. She also sidepassed it toward her while she walked backwards on the ground. Every time I see someone do something different with a horse, it reminds me of everything that is possible.

  2. He's just so gorgeous! :-D Sorry, haha.

    Sounds like a nice, calm, training walk.

  3. NuzMuz, normally we don't get this kind of rain!!! I've never seen this much rain in May or June in my entire life. March and April are rainy, but this year it has just continued straight through until now. It's very odd! Normally by now it's so dry the ground is cracking already.

    I wish I still had RFD-TV. It sounds like an interesting show you saw. :)

    Jennifer, I have to agree with you hehehe!

  4. NuzMuz, I almost forgot. I'm glad to know you like the cross under type better! I will definitely get one when we go back to bitless. :)

  5. Sounds like such a productive ride! I have also used both a sidepull and a cross under on my sister's horse, Ranger, and I like the cross under better. It almost feels the same on him as using a bit.

  6. Thank you Judi! I didn't know you had used a crossunder. I've been wanting to get one but I've hesitated to buy one without knowing someone who had actually used one. I guess I should have asked on my blog LOL!! Oh well, now I know. :D

  7. Just jumping in on the bridle conversation! I used a bitless on my boy and he hated it for some reason. Really bummed about that haha! He's used to a hackamore but I'm just now getting him used to work in a bit so he collects himself (he's the king of clumsy without a bit.) maybe I should work on it more, lol!

  8. That's too bad that he hated it! Did you use a sidepull or crossunder? I'm going to stick with the bit for a while and then hopefully go back to bitless later. I'll probable try the crossunder next.

  9. Sounds like a great ride! Another exercise you could work on that may help him build more muscling and strengthen him through his stifles more when he's trying to turn around is backing him, then sending him forward again. Though, I agree, sometimes it's just a lack of them realizing that GO FORWARD and I MEAN IT is what we want!

  10. Liz, he hasn't exactly mastered backing under saddle LOL!!! I try to do it as much as possible in hand because it's good for building stifle muscle, but I haven't really worked on it from his back because I'm afraid he will try to use it as an evasion. Also his stifle locks the worst when he backs up for some reason. Most people say backing the horse unlocks it but the opposite is true for Chrome. He always has to be different. That's another reason I've been afraid of backing much under saddle. I'm not quite sure how he would react to it locking with me on him.... I'm hoping once he builds his muscles to the point that it's not locking anymore that we can incorporate more backing. I'm also going to start rasping his feet a LOT (they keep getting long) because short breakover helps stop them from locking, but I have to wait for my back pain to go away. Sigh! Thank you for the comment!!!


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