Thursday, March 18, 2010

I wanna be sedated

Well, I want my mare to be sedated, more on that later.

First I want to talk about my boy and how good he is.  I mentioned that I lunged him Saturday and Sunday for 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, I've found that lunging horses makes me dizzy and nauseous, so I'm going to keep it to a minimum.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I climbed up on him bareback and rode at the walk for 10 minutes.  Tonight I rode him for 15 minutes at the walk.

My plan has been to focus on bending since he's been so stiff lately.  I'll ride down the ring, ask for a small circle and then continue around the ring.  Later we'll go into the center of the ring and do a few more small circles, today I added in serpentines.  His suppleness has improved already.  He's started bending all the way from nose to tail.  Today he did the most wonderful thing, while circling he leaned into the outside rein and let the inside rein go slack!  It's good to know I'm doing something right.

The other thing I've been working on during our rides is me.  Since I'm not using a saddle I can play with my weight shifting and really see how it influences him.  So many times I've found him drifting off the rail into the center of the ring and realize that he's doing it because I'm leaning on my outside stirrup, so I know he's pretty sensitive to weight shifts.  While bareback I've been experimenting with shifting my weight from one seat bone to the other and seeing what he does.  Seat aids are not something that's ever been drilled into me during lessons, so right now I'm enjoying playing with it on my own. 

Now onto my girl.  I climbed up on her back for the second time on Monday.  I was a near disaster though, the first time I tried the F#%@#$@#G mounting block tipped and I fell on her.  That was bad.  But she let me catch her back up and we went onto have a successful mounting.  BUT, she hasn't stood next to the mounting block again since Monday.  I tried on Wednesday and today, she'll walk up to it but then she'll swing her hindquarters away before I can step up on it.  That one bad experience, even though it was followed immediately by a good one, made quite an impression on her.  GAH, stupid mounting block.

Well, there are other things to work on.  I've been saddling her up and leading her around with it on her back, getting her loose and relaxed.  Today I even got her to trot with it on.  She's getting more comfortable with it.  I think if she doesn't get over her mounting block issues I might have to just mount her from the stirrup next.  That's a little scary, but I think she'll be okay with it.

Now onto the bad.  I've been working with Gwen first and then putting her back in her stall while I ride Coriander.  With the warmth we've had this week (High 50's and even 60's), by the time I bring him into the barn (10-20 minutes after I put Gwen up) she's a horrible, sweaty mess.  Her attachment issues are still just as present as they always were.  She's literally dripping sweat from her ears to her barrel from just racing around her stall and flinging herself against the door like a loon for 20 minutes.  It's amazing, scary, and annoying.  When I see her like this I take her back out to try to cool her down.  Try being the operative word here.  She's still pretty nutty then and it's walk three steps, circle circle, scream, walk three steps, spook, circle circle.  TIRING.

There are products out there to calm high strung horses, Calm and Cool for instance.  Has anyone tried it?  Could it help her chill out about her separation issues?


  1. Wow, and good for you riding bareback! What a way to improve your balance and really feel what impact your seat bones have in communicating with Coriander. I am envious!!

    With regards to Gwen, what about making her stand next to the mounting block, but don't get on it. Walk her away and then back to stand next to it, etc. Would the clicker be appropriate in this situation? I can't tell you about products, but I have a suggestion. What about giving her a small amount of hay to calm her down when you are finished with her. Stretching her neck down will release the tension in her body. Geez, I hope she feels better soon.

  2. Great minds think alike! That's what I've been doing, just walking her up to it and clicking when she stands still next to it. Then stepping towards it and clicking when she remains still. She's still swinging away as soon as I put a foot on it though.

    She does have hay in her stall when I put her back, she grabs a mouthful and then tramples it. Maybe I should start standing in there with her for a few moments to see if I can get her head down for a while. It's worth a shot. I'll let you know how it goes.

  3. We have a horse with separation issues and no amount of calming supplements will work on him. The only way he is better about the separation is if he sees his buddy. So if there's a paddock or round pen close to the ring that might help her if she can see him.

    As for the mounting block issue. I've had this with Dusty,she really had bad behavior with moving/running away. We've solved this by: parking her there and if she moves away when I go to mount, I lunge her immediately, then park her there again, if she moves a muscle- lunge her again and keep repeating this lesson. This may take a few minutes for you or it may take a half hour. It takes as long as it takes but it works. She will not move anymore once this lesson is learned. Give it a try if you have the time and the patience. Good luck.

  4. Thanks GHM, I'll be trying that in a couple weeks...