Monday, March 3, 2008


Thought I should post some of my rides yesterday.

Champ was a total monster. I tooled around the barn on him for a while in the late morning and he wanted to leap sideways and take off running constantly. He's a fun bastard horse.

Emily, the app, is a good little horse who's been half ruined (or spoiled, maybe) by a terrible former owner. He let her get away with a lot of stuff. She's had at least two good owners before him, so I knew she knew what to do. She just didn't want to do it.

She gave me a lot of shit right off the bat about turning. I asked for a few circles and she gaped her jaw open, yanked against the bit, sidestepped as fast as she could in her chosen direction, tried to run us into stationary objects, and was a general bitch. But she didn't buck, so I figured we'd get along eventually.

I decided I wanted one good lap down the property fence line at a nice gait (RW or rack or whatever she wanted to give me). It took me 30 minutes to get that one nice lap. I wasn't being mean, either - I could tell that she was still just trying to make me give up. She'd gait for a few steps then try to break into a canter and when I'd "nnnt-nnnt" and pull her back down she'd pace. Hard. I mean that mare's picture is shown in the dictionary next to the definition of hard pace. So I'd pull her down from the pace, let her walk for a few strides, then kick her back up. And we'd do it again.

Eventually, she realized I wasn't going to fall off or give up and she gave me my one good lap. Then I stripped her tack, walked her down, and put her back up in her stall. Hopefully next time I ride her it'll go better.

Talking about her later, I learned that her last owner used to fall off when she paced. She'd pace, he'd fall off, and he'd cuss her and put her back up. That's why she kept trying the pace.

I rode Quinn too. I took her across the street by herself. She was a maniac too. I worked on a canter with her a little. Down here everybody thinks if you canter your gaited horse then you'll ruin the gait, but I just don't believe that. I like for my horses to do all their gaits, on cue. So I did the first steps of teaching her to canter on cue. I cue Champ to run by dropping / shaking the reins, leaning forward, and telling him to "GO!" I did the same with her a few times and got a very nice canter. Better than Champ's. More collected, maybe? It's hard to be self-taught cause I don't have much to compare with. Anyway, we tooled up and down the soybean field three times doing all the fast gaits. RW, rack, canter. I don't know how to cue the rack, but she does it on her own sometimes. Another guy, Mike, came up on his cute little green QH and we went off down a trail a little way, but it got too muddy and rutted for those horses so we turned around pretty quickly.

The only other highlight was coaxing the horses past a horse-eating monster, namely, a piece of concrete drainage pipe. That was a lot of fun. Quinn was in a full-of-herself spooky mood and it was neat to work with her to get her past it. She kept trying to sidestep away or just spin and bolt, and I kept checking her back and keeping her moving towards the monster. When she quit trying to run, I let her stand and look at it while I talked to her. When she let out that big whrrrrooof sigh, I knew we'd beaten the monster and I just squeezed and she walked very carefully past it. Yay! Mike's horse Boomer was more scared of losing Quinn than of the pipe, so he had it pretty easy.

More people came out to the field, so Mike headed off with them and we went back home. She left the other horses without a bit of fuss. Such a good girl.

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