I had the best ride tonight!! I can’t tell you the elated feeling that I have right now!! I rode last week with my barn buddies and we played musical ponies. I got to ride the horse that has been undergoing training for the last 3-4 months (not my horse so I’m not sure of the specifics). He had a lot of the same kind of problems that I’m having with JW. They are the same age, same size and same breed…coincidence I’m not sure…
After watching JW on the trail in action (we didn’t take Storm with on purpose), we decided that a slow retraining period is necessary. The trainer that got to him before I bought him pushed the speed and little to no control. Just move his foot REALLY fast until he got what the trainer was looking for. Well when you are trying to get a nice trail ride in with a bunch of non-gaited horses that puts me miles ahead of everyone causing a LOT of problems behind me. Speed control is needed really bad.
With that speed and fancy footwork came the lack of confidence. He moved so fast that it was hard for me to give him praise for something that he did right because he would blow right by it! We have been working really hard at being a calm horse. This actually has been helped along by my massage techniques that I’ve been working on! I’m not even kidding!! The only thing that I have done is add a quick little body massage prior to working him and he has been a different horse!! He runs to me in the pasture now, and I haven’t had a problem catching him at all. I have to say it’s been a great confidence booster for me at the very least!
With the massage I’ve learned that he has very tight shoulders and neck muscles. I’ve been working on those and that too has made a huge difference for him. He seems more comfortable under saddle and not so bracy…let’s hope that continues.
Tonight we did our normal routine, grooming, massage, lunge and then saddle. I warmed him up at a walk and kept him there. We moved our shoulder and hips both directions, we had little fits when coming close to the trailer and other horses but it’s getting better. Give him the forward cue and he actually moves forward. He’s even starting to move his rib cage over when I ask and not the rest of his body so he’s starting to BEND!! Horsey yoga!!
Then we started with the half hault. I was shown how to use the outside leg/outside rein. When I apply that to JW he side passes. I think it’s just too much pressure on one side for him. He gets it eventually but there is a lot of sideways motion. I was given advice over the weekend to use outside rein and inside leg. It balances some horses out. I figured what the heck I’ll try it (I have to admit I was having problems staying balanced with all of that pressure on one side too.). It was almost instant results! I’m not even kidding I just about fell out of the saddle I was so happy!!! We rode bigger and bigger circles, walking a few steps and half hault, walking a few steps and half hault, by God his head went down, ears forward and he was LISTENING TO ME!!!!
Our next step was to do this on a bigger circle where he usually freaks out because he loses contact with his girlfriend. We started moving forward and it was kind of his idea – ears forward and head down. His came up a little bit but I think that was from me getting a little nervous because it was right at the spot that he usually freaks out. I just took a deep breath and DIDN’T pick up the reins like I usually do in anticipation. His head leveled out and we WALKED like a decent and happy horse. Once again I almost fell out of the saddle with joy. We did several half haults to get back to the arena, but holy crap I did it!! I did it!! I did it!! I did it!! Now that was one hell of a ride!!!