Z: Week Four, Seesaw progress

I’m now one third of the way through the 12 week program I am putting Z through with my rider, Rugby Guy.

You’ll often find that when you correct one problem with your horse they go the opposite extreme. This week is a case in point. Z has had issues with going forward. We’ve worked on that, so now she knows going forward IS going forward, she is zooming away at canter!

This seesaw behavior is not anything unusual. It’s just a matter of adjusting – yes, I want you to go forward, and this is how much I want it.

Another thing to address in training is the level of energy your horse can present. While people love to buy young horses they don’t understand the high energy this kind of horse presents. Typically, you will find the new, young horse kept in a stall for half a day or more, with little to no turnout, and ridden once a week. This, in no way, burns off the energy your horse has.

There is nothing wrong with buying a young horse, just be aware that your responsiblity to him/her will be far different then that for a 16 or 18 year old horse with years of training and experience, and a lower need for exercise.

If you have a young horse that you can’t ride regularly, then increase turnout and hire someone to ride (whether that be a trainer for the very green, or a young college/high school student) on the days you cannot. The payoff will be much better behavior when you do get a chance to ride.

With all that in mind, I’m always of the philosophy that if a horse has energy for naughty behavior (i.e. spooking in order to test the rider vs. spooking for real fear, or bucking as disobedience vs. bucking due to pain) than that horse can work harder. Rugby Guy extended the time length of his sessions with Z this week and she got some very wet saddle blankets indeed. While he is getting better performace out of her, that increase in hours killed my budget this week.

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