Monday, October 26, 2009

Match made in heaven

Today I asked my trainer, "Who is this horse and what have you done with Licorice???" Today was my first lesson since training started- the trainer wanted to work her through some of her attitude before I got on. She was amazing! She tested me a bit- balked a little, and gave a little buck when I popped her with the over-under for flat-out refusing to move. After that, she was actually really good! A few times I had to back her hard and fast (we decided that is a pretty good consequence for balking/snotty behavior) but otherwise, she listened so well. We were moving almost entirely off the leg, although a few times I had to follow up with the rein. She responded to neck reining nicely though. At her problem spots, we circled and worked off the leg... overall, I couldn't be more pleased and if anyone in Northern AZ (Prescott area) needs a trainer please leave me a comment, I'll be happy to recommend her.

I also got plenty of direction as far as my riding goes... I know I need work, but it would seem that mostly trail riding has gotten me lazy as far as equitation... and somethings I just never got down to begin with. Like any good riding instructor, I was reminded any number of times about legs position- heels down, lean back, sit on your pockets... my main thing was my leg position was such that I was always putting pressure on Lic's side... I am going to have to rethink and relearn how to sit in order to keep the pressure off so she listens better when I do cue.

So our 1st month of training is done. The plan from here is, I'm going to work her for a couple weeks at the walk/jog. I go on vacation this weekend, but I am going to work her before and after. Then, starting sometime in the next couple weeks, we will start with some lessons, and once I recoup my money losses from vacation, we will do another month of training to get her going on some canter work. My goals until then are:

1. Body position- keep my butt where it belongs. I am singing to myself... Head, shoulders knees and toes- knees and toes!
2. Consistency- I must make my lazy ass get up and work her every day, or work her every morning before bed (I work nights). The trainer said she needs that 5 days of saddle work per week, or she will start to slide back.
3. Timing- she gets two chances to respond to my ask, then tell, and after that, if she still doesn't listen, she's going to either back as fast as she can or get popped with the over-under, depending on if she's just being lazy or actually being defiant and nasty about it. I need to get over the little hesitation and get automatic on my cues and follow-through.
4. Goals- pick something to work on, get it done, and move on. This might mean either being done for the day, or working on another task.

Yesterday I was feeling frustrated after a tough trail ride (it was cool and windy, so Lic was fresh and spooky, meaning, of course, it was hell to get her to pay attention to me). Today, I am thrilled... we might make a successful little local show horse out of her yet!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Training update

Well, today marked the start of week 2 of training... Lic was a champ! Which I didn't expect, seeing's how she was a PMSing mare all weekend... presenting for Dutch one second and the next, pinning her ears and trying to bite anything that came within 5 feet... including me, if I dared to groom her. She got a few swats with the dandy brush for that shit and quickly learned to be quietly grumpy about it.

Last week, Lic had a sharp learning curve. She gave the trainer shit for a few days, but the trainer was consistent and persistent, not stopping until Lic was a good girl and doing whatever was asked with a happy face. There were a few impressive tempter tantrums though, and a come-to-jesus meeting on the first day of trot work. After balking and ignoring cues for about 20 minutes, the trainer hopped off and made her walk, whoa, back up, and repeat several times on the ground. Finally, Licorice decided it was easier to trot.

On Saturday, she had the day off from training, so I rode out to state land and let her run. It's really amazing that she can be such a lazy, resistant cow at times because on Saturday, you would have sworn she thought she was a racehorse. We galloped about a mile until finally, I couldn't take it anymore, I was starting to lose my seat. So we finished out at a canter and walked 2 miles home so she could cool out. I could tell she had a blast with it though.

Then, today... she was wonderful. She walked/jogged wherever she was told. The trainer said she does a lot better to her right, the only balking she did was while going to the left. So she kept things positive today and worked more on her "good" side, and tomorrow she is going to work on going to the left without stopping at the same place every time. But overall, I couldn't be more happy with the job this trainer is doing or with the progress Lic is making.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Pics

I took these pics on my cell phone, so if the quality isn't great, sorry.

Chubby Girl munching on hay after a bath.

Looking nice and shiny!

Dutchy boy after his bath- 25 years old and lookin' good!

Out on state land, looking at cows. I always leave her halter on for trail rides, so I can get off and lead her up to or through scary stuff.
And finally... just chillin' at the barn.