Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Persistence pays off

After my last post it probably seemed like I was coming to the end of my rope with Coriander. Fortunately our ride on Friday was fantastic, followed by two more good rides on Sunday and Monday. I'm focusing on transitions and keeping walking to a minimum. We're doing walk/trot transitions, trot/canter transitions, walk/canter transitions, and halt/trot transitions. I even think we'll be working on halt/canter transitions soon.

He seems much happier with this new arrangement. I'm making him use his mind and figure out his balance to answer all sorts of interesting questions. Things like: Can you trot downhill? Can you trot downhill without speeding up? Can you canter downhill? Okay, he can't quite get that one yet but he's almost got trotting downhill without speeding up in the bag. I was worried that these questions would be too difficult for him but he'll never figure them out if I don't bring them up, so I'm bringing them up.

My dressage trainer wanted me to work on turn on the forehand with him so we went into the ring Sunday and did a ton of those. We did trot to a corner, halt, turn on the forehand, trot away. We did walking a square with a turn on the forehand at each corner. We did 180s with turns on the forehand. He was getting so good at it that he figured out how to do a turn on the forehand without halting first. That was pretty cool. Things are looking up with him.

I got back on Gwen Monday- using the bareback pad. As soon as I slid on she jerked her head up (she had been feeling quite mellow) and skittered back a step or two. I waited a second for her to relax before I gave her a treat, then I dismounted. By the time my feet hit the ground she was about 5 feet away from me.  It's obvious that she's still feeling a little traumatized. Still, I hope that experience was positive enough to make a difference.

My husband finished my cavaletti over the weekend! I brought them straight out to the pasture so the horses could get a look at them.

You're supposed to walk through them this way, right?
You gotta love the curiosity of horses, bring out something new and they're all over it like green on grass. These are PVC pipe cavaletti with interchangeable heights of either 6 or 12 inches. Super easy to make once you get the three-way connectors. They are pretty light so they knock over really easy which might not be the best if they learn they can just drag their feet through them. But so far they seem to be picking their feet up. Gwen even trotted over one!

In other news, it appears that MiKael is on the mend! Between her, Kate and everyone else, too many bloggers have getting hurt or ill lately. Let's have a happy and healthy July!


  1. Wow, those are cool. Your husband did a good job. Sounds like your horses are doing great and those are some interesting questions you're asking. I don't think I've ever tried cantering downhill. Do you have a hill to practice on?

  2. I never thought about making these out of PVC pipe! Awesome idea and I bet they're a breeze to move around, too. I learn something new every day by reading blogs.

    When my two mares were about a year old, I had to dig up a metal fencepost in the middle of their pasture. I was shocked when they immediately came over and very seriously tried to "assist" me by pawing at where I was digging with their front hooves. I had no idea horses would be so interested in what I was doing (or such pests about "helping!"). I love their curiosity, too.

  3. Great ideas for training and keeping your horse interested. SOunds like you're doing really well. It reminds me to ride some squares - I was doing it for a short while and then forgot :)
    I love the PVC caveletti. I'm going to show the picture to my husband. Wooden ones are so heavy to lug around.

  4. Also love the pvc cavaletti - great idea!

    Glad you got some good rides in. Keeping things interesting is so important! We do a lot of turn on the forehand - it's our go-to dressage move ;)

  5. Very innovative cavaletti! I like that your horses are curious; it shows that they are confident and happy in their environment.

    Once my teacher was doing some bodywork on Harley and she wanted to step back and let him "soak" in the barn aisle. Without delay, he started pulling halters off the stall doors and brushes and hoof picks out of the hanging bag. He also picked up a lead line and started shaking it. I am not sure if this was the kind of "soaking" we were going for but he certainly enjoyed every minute!

  6. Linda I live in the Finger Lakes area of NY, we are surrounded by hills :)

    Fetlock- years ago when my arab was alive my folks were out in the pasture cutting wood with a chainsaw thinking the sound would be enough to keep the horses away. Wouldn't you know my arab went right up and look over their shoulders to see what was going on.

    Carol- they are nice and light- I'm hoping that won't be their downfall. I'll have to find out.

    CFS- TOF is good for so many things isn't it? It's a dressage move and a one-rein stop all-in-one :)

    Thanks Val, it's taken a lot of work to get to this point. Two years ago Gwen wouldn't have gotten near those things. I like Harley's idea of soaking :)

  7. Sounds like you and Coriander are really going places, it's great when a horse gives you their mind like that. I think you did the right thing with Gwen, every little step will help her to overcome her trauma and letting her moving away is ok, it takes the pressure off.

  8. Gosh I sure hope so, he really is a special horse, I'm glad we can see eye to eye again.

    Gwen's reaction has made me think about horses' motivation to buck. She is so obviously upset about what happened, I wonder how many other horses are upset about bucking but can't find a better way to handle themselves.

  9. Sounds like things are picking up with Coriander. He's a smart guy and all the different exercises you're doing with him seem to be working out and keeping him thinking. Like the cavelletti, nice work.