Forward Motion

I am no longer a person who judges and reacts quickly. Maybe it’s age catching up to me, living with a procrastinating husband, or just learning that sometimes my temper can make me do things that I will later regret. So I spent a night thinking upon Z’s current issues, talking to a few friends about my exasperation and thinking over what I was going to do to improve the situation.

Friday temps had dropped some but it was still workable weather. When Rugby Guy came out I told him my plan of attack.

She should stand still after being mounted. This went fine because I had some extra time before his ride and had her saddled and was working her at the mounting block. RG commented again, that she does so much better with me. I’d like to think so but I don’t think for one minute she wouldn’t play the same tricks with me if I was demanding a real workout.

After she walks on, if she balks – she gets a resounding ONE whip tap. A small, hesitant tap will do nothing. 

If she crowhops, bucks or kicks out during any time of her workout – immediately give her a resounding ONE whip tap into trot. She is to remain at trot until she behaves. Once she settles she can be allowed to walk.

It was time for her graduate to canter under a rider, if she balks or humps her back, – she gets a whip tap to the outside flank.

No more will I tolerate this behavior in any way shape or form. To buck, to hump, to kick, the horse must pause for a split second. To move forward, eliminates and/or decreases the amount they can do. The same goes for rearing. Forward motion is the answer.

She first tried humping and crowhopping but quickly realized Rugby Guy wasn’t going for that. Then she tried balking (her next favorite move), and after repeated kicks (and NOT moving) I handed the whip over the fence to him.

He gave her a good tap that whistled in the air — Z’s response was “meh! okay” and she slowly ambled off. He said, “that one even scared me!” That same whip tap on my TB gelding Big Guy would have sent him over the fence. Responses have to be given in concert with the horses’ personality. Z takes a lot of energy and I would rather have one whip tap then a repeated spanking.

Before he asked for canter, I gave him a few tips to make it go a bit easier. First, ask it on the level or when she is going up the slope (the roundpen is not level). Don’t ask when she is going down the slope. Tip her nose to the inside. If she balks, slows, or humps, whip her ONCE and KEEP GOING!

Well, the first canter depart wasn’t too bad if you blinked and missed the buck/strike out she did on the second stride. The next time she balked, she really did a nice buck-kick and Rugby Guy said that one really did surprise him. I think it wasn’t any higher but her kick was more powerful. This is her favorite move – a buck and a kick, usually with the right hind. That’s how husband ended up at the Emergency Care getting his eyebrow stitched back together.

After all that, things went very well. I actually felt that the day had a lot of improvement. Her I-don’t-wanna’s were more emphatic but more quickly over. She gave up on the balking pretty quickly. She did several rounds of canter without dying back to trot. And her balance in canter wasn’t too bad considering.

At the end they trail rode out in the pasture at walk and trot for another 10 minutes. She had quite a workout!

Unfortunately, we are now being hit with rain and Monday and Tuesday will be temps in the 30’s while the better days for next week, I’ll be out of town. Bummer.


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3 Responses to Forward Motion

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks for commenting over on my blog – Z does seem to be quite the domineering lady! I agree completely that strategies have to vary considerably depending on the personality of the horse. I also agree that a lot of people don’t get that . . .

    • horseideology says:

      Thanks Kate for visiting! Yes, Z is quite the Diva and has been a handful sometimes but not out of meanness. It is just she believes she is a princess and doesn’t realilze she lives with the working class.

      I’ve found blogging, video and photographs can only tell some of the story. People are quick to make comments without full realizing the entire scope of the problem. Or not realizing that each horse really is a unique individual because they have only dealt with a few horses all trained by someone else.

  2. Pingback: Z: Week Three Consistency and Cantering « Horse Ideology

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