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Who stole my horse? Part I

September 30, 2009

Because this one isn’t mine.  Mine spooks a lot and likes to gallop when he should be cantering.  He bucks and gets excited after cavalletti and jumps.  This one is perfect and responsive.

They look exactly the same – they even act the same on the ground – but my horse would never have cantered nicely around an indoor on a chilly evening after 2 months of festering in a stall.

What?  Start at the beginning?  Oh, fine.  When I first got out to the barn, the sun was already going down and it was about 30 minutes until complete dark.  Since I wanted to try Cass in the outdoor today, I rushed to get him all ready for longeing (which was a very complicated process – first, I put on his halter and then after that I had to clip on the longe line) and walked (with purpose!) to the outdoor ring.

Aww, how nice of someone – they had a few cavalletti and poles all set up for us.  So I let Cass go out to the longe’s full length (yup, all 12 feet of it) and he walked…very calmly?  I don’t know what his problem is; he is worse than this at the arena at home.  Here he is suddenly, like, mature or something.

Walk, trot, blah, boring, but well done (if a little slow and lazy).  The horses turned out in the jump field (which shares a fenceline with the outdoor) were very interesting and Cass wanted to go talk to them but listened when I said he couldn’t.  I was just longeing in a halter, so he pulled a few times to make his teensy 24′ circle bigger or trying to see his friends but, again, listened pretty well when I whistled at him.

Yes, my horse is trained like a dog.  I didn’t mean to do it – I just whistle to get his attention if he is getting distracted – kind of like a verbal half halt – and so he learned that whistling means “hey, we are working in here now”.  He knows other words too.  Like, “Don’t be a snob” (to get him to quit with the snobby face); “Quit being a greedy bastard” (to keep him out of buckets and pockets when he decides he cannot wait for treats); “Go home” (So he will go back to his stall…but I don’t think I will be trying that here – there is a very tempting field of grass just across the road and no gates keeping him on the property like my last barn); “Get out of my bubble” (for when he is trying to creep in on the longe and sometimes the lead); and “Stop with the llama” (to get him to put his neck down).

Hmmm.  Maybe I should start using more universal terms.

Anyway I was longeing him over the whole arena to see if there was anything he didn’t like.  There wasn’t, so I decided to longe him over a pole.

Now would be a good time to note that at home, Cass would rush at poles, rush more at cavalletti, and rush like an insane demon monster at jumps while riding.  So I was expecting him to, you know, speed up or something when he realized we were doing poles.

Nope.  He did it perfectly.  Picked up his feet and everything (the farrier comes out on Tuesdays).  Okaaaay.  Let’s try this little cavalletto then.  Perfect, at the walk and the trot.  And using a nice springy trot to get over it too.  Bigger cavalleto then – set to about a foot.  Perfect.

These are those “building blocks” type cavalletti and go up to about 2’6- I was seriously considering setting up a little vertical to longe him over…but decided not to push him since he was already being so good.  Soon, though.  I have never really seen his jumping form – it feels nice, and people tell me it is, but I would like to see it when he hasn’t messed it by mad galloping towards the obstacle.

Oh, and he was cantering perfectly today.  He even cantered fairly well on the longe – definitely didn’t look lame, just unbalanced because of the tiny longe.  So I don’t know what was wrong…But it is over!

This is going to be a super long post, so it is going to come in parts.  Coming up: more longeing, riding (in a saddle!), and a lesson

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2009 12:45 am

    How cool that your boy is there with you now! Yes, you really do need to get a camera so you can show off your snob! ;) Sounds like he’s really being good for you. Maybe I need to park Caspian somewhere for a couple of months! He,he…just jokin’. But really awesome that he’s behaving so well. I wonder if it’s because he’s feeling a bit vulnerable in his new place? I know when Caspian is feeling that way he tends to behave better for me. Then, once he gets more comfortable, his “Arab-tude” takes back over. But hopefully your boy will continue to good streak! :)

  2. October 1, 2009 12:35 pm

    Cute ;o)

    I had an Arab years ago, bought as a 2 yr old, unbroke, aleady having been handled badly enough to teach her to rear when scared. uuumm…….. Did competitive riding with her for a few years, then I got interested in Dressage and eventing. At the low levels she was fine, but the Arab anatomy and physiology just isn’t rigged for jumping. And oh how I had to work at flat work. Her hocks held up pretty well so I was grateful. However, and here’s the key for me. Once I let her be who she ‘really’ was by natuer, and got me a horse with a build and MIND conducive to that which dressage and jumping require, it was like I was totally on vacation! It was a breeze … and became SO much FUN! I wouldn’t push MY agenda on an Arab again. Good luck.

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