Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ride 102 - GoPro Fail

You get to see lots of Chrome shadows because I apparently didn't tighten the GoPro enough and it fell forward while I was tacking up..... so excuse the chopped off horse head and my helmet in all of these pictures!

We were working in the pasture so I let everyone out to graze in the yard.  I can't believe it's February and green stuff is already coming up.  You can see Zep in the above picture.  :)  Chrome was a total pill when I decided to ride because he wanted to keep grazing and he was mad that Zep was still grazing without him...

This is where the camera fell forward.  You can see him reaching around to help me while I tighten his girth.

More shadow horse.

He was being very braced so I did lots of lateral flexion.  I have no idea why I didn't let the left rein go in the above picture.  I think I was letting it slide through my fingers.... don't know for sure.

 Another shadow picture.

I rode for about forty minutes.  Mostly just walking.  I think I only trotted two times for a few seconds.  We spent most of the ride doing lateral flexions every single time he braced when I'd ask him to turn... it was a LOT!  I'm going to keep flexing him until he decides being soft is easier.  I wonder how long that will take?

 Giving him a pat.

I tried working on him moving his haunches off of my leg, but it just wasn't working.  No matter where I put his face he was just walking circles instead of yielding.  Ugh!  I was getting so frustrated!  When he finally got it once in both directions I gave up.  Hubby was busy on the tractor so I couldn't ask him for help.  I think next time I ride and he's available I'll have him give the cue from the ground too to help him make the connection.  For now I give up on trying to teach him this stuff until I have a trainer.  I REALLY need eyes on the ground!  It's also not fair to expect him to try to learn new things when I'm only riding once every week or so.  For now I'm going to work on trail riding (so he'll stop being so spooky), desensitizing and lateral flexion.  Hopefully when I get him softer and less reactive all of this other stuff will come easier.

I rode Chrome toward the back of the pasture (for the first time since falling off out there) and he was acting super balky.  He did not want to go back there.  I insisted that he did.  He kept trying to turn around so I kept him going until it was my decision to turn around.  Then all of a sudden he was very up and forward.  Then he kicked at his belly with one hind leg and was hunching his back.  I thought maybe he was trying to intimidate me and it was working, so I just kept doing lateral flexion every two strides or so until we made it to the front of the pasture, then I jumped off, undid one rein and longed him.

Some shadow longeing since the camera fell forward.

He did it again while I longed him so I realized it was a discomfort thing, not an intimidation thing.  I undid his saddle, then rubbed and scratched his sweaty girth area.  Once I got it smoothed out I redid the girth and he was fine for the rest of the ride.

 OMG close my thumbs stupid!
My trainer is going to have to gripe at me again...

I was still intimidated though so I took him back out into the yard (where he was acting like a turd because he wanted to go out where Zep was grazing, but I insisted he go where I said).  On the way up the driveway he spotted the neighbor horses and completely zoned me out.  I'm beginning to notice when he's paying attention and when he flat out forgets I exist.  Forgetting about me is when things get scary out on the road, so I started flexing him again to get his attention on me.  Every time he started thinking about the horses too much I would flex him.  Eventually he relaxed, put his head down and walked forward so I praised him.

 I can't tell if we were flexing or turning, but I think it's kind 
of cool how his whole body is in the picture.

 More shadow.  On the way up the driveway.

His stifles were sticking during this ride which is the main reason I kept it to a walk.  I walked him over the straw bales a few times.  I'm not surprised they are sticky because during my last ride with the neighbor girl we went through a long field that was really muddy.  Deep mud is hard work on the stifles.  I can't wait until the weather gets better so I can ride more often.  Notice in these pictures I'm in short sleeves?  Yeah tomorrow the high will be in the thirties....... not cool!!!!  I hate when it drops forty degrees in one day.

After the ride Jackal helped me round up the donkey and goats to put them back in the pasture.  :D

In my quest to make Chrome less reactive I did a session desensitizing him after the ride.  I worked with him for twenty minutes........ almost the whole video shows my helmet, arms and the ground.... sigh.  I did realize it at the end and readjusted the camera so you can see about a minute of our work.  He's made a LOT of progress already!!  He's still really stressed about it though... he looks like he's sleeping in the video, but it was more of a zoned out stress thing I think...

He was really slow to walk off when I told him, but I actually don't mind because he's being less reactive to the whip.  I want him to learn that when my arm is relaxed he needs to stand there and when I raise it he needs to go.  We will get it figured out eventually.

This was the first time I've popped the whip on the ground in front of and behind him.  You'll also notice in the video that hubby drives the truck behind him and he doesn't care.  He's such a good boy.  This whole reactive thing makes me think of something my dressage trainer once told me.  She said that dressage is the constant battle of making a horse straight.  They are naturally stronger on one side, so you work to strengthen the other side, then they switch and you have to do it all again on the other side.  It seems the same with the desensitizing.  Chrome started out a total deadhead that didn't react to anything, but he also had no GO at all.  So then I worked on getting him really forward and now he's really reactive, so we have to desensitize until the reactive Chrome goes away.  Back and forth, back and forth.

So even though I was frustrated with his attitude about the grass, I'm still happy with how it ended.  :)  I still can't wait for spring though!!

Oh I almost forgot.  After I turned him loose from the desensitizing he followed me to the gate and then snorted all over me.  He snorted five or six times, so I know he was releasing tension.  I'm shocked at how reactive he is now.  He even spooked in place when something fell out of a tree behind him while he was grazing (I was in the house watching him through the window).  Weird, spooky boy.  I grabbed the muck fork and started cleaning out the barn.  He walked around the outside of the barn, pooped, then walked to the doorway of the barn, stretched out and peed.  Silly horse.


  1. You got some cool pictures. I'd call it a happy accident. Do you use that stick-on mount for your camera or the strap? I use the strap, but I need to remember that when I fall off, the whole thing flies off my helmet.

    1. Yep I'm happy with the pictures I ended up with. :) I use the stick on mount. I just didn't tighten the screw enough because I'm worried about stripping it out and it slipped forward. I'll tighten it more next time. I haven't tried wearing the strap over my helmet. I've worn it for non riding stuff like the video of Jackal using the dog door and the goat video. :)

  2. So jealous of the warmth coming across in these photos. Hope all goes well with the desensitisation. Horses are constantly one step for two steps back - it's a dancing joy ;-)

    1. Yes they are! That's the fun in it though if I remind myself not to get frustrated or discouraged. :) I definitely enjoyed the sunshine yesterday. It's only getting up to 40F today, so brr!! We might get sleet or snow too. I can't complain though because it's actually been a fairly mild winter so far. I got my first mosquito bite of 2015 yesterday!!! A mosquito in February!!!!! Bugs are going to be bad this summer!

    2. Eeep mosquitos in Feb is way too early!

  3. I've been dying to try a helmet camera, but haven't seen much in the way of reviews by horse people, so I was excited to read your post! The pictures actually look better than I expected - I might have to work one of those into the budget:) What made you decide to get a GoPro instead of another brand?

    1. It was actually a gift so I had no say in which brand lol. I have no idea what went into making the decision hehe. Sorry I'm not much help. I do really like it though because I can set it to take pictures every ten seconds and then forget about it. No carrying a camera, digging it out, stopping, taking the picture, putting it back, etc. It's so easy for action shots and video too. I can't wait until the day I trust Chrome enough to gallop him and have it on video. :D

  4. glad you had a good ride!!! it's definitely hard to be limited to just a few rides here and there, but your patience with him will pay off later - even if he's not obviously progressing during the ride (tho it sounds like he figured some stuff out!!). spring can't come soon enough :)

  5. Your riding in just a short sleeved shirt makes me insanely jealous considering it won't be above 10 degrees (my threshold to ride) until at least Saturday. Grrr!!!! Glad you had a good ride in the end, getting over the attitude takes persistence and insistence that things are your way and not his. Every day is one step closer to solving the problem!

    1. Aww I'm keeping my fingers crossed you get some warm weather soon. I think I would go insane if it stayed that cold all winter here. Ugh! I don't think it's gotten below 10 or 15 degrees this winter. It's been unusually mild.

  6. I sooooooooooooooooo want a go pro!!! Lucky girl LOL!!

    1. Don't give up hope on getting one. I never thought I would have one. :D I love it!


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