Sunday, March 29, 2009

We've got to pace ourselves...

My husband came out and took pictures yesterday! Yay!

I did some c/t to get Dixie to stand still so I could mount. It worked fantastically well. I feel pretty stupid for not having thought of this earlier. (Well, I couldn't have thought of it very much earlier; I just started clicker work with her in February. But I could've tried clickering her last February!) I suppose next I should introduce the mounting block. She is within 1/2" of being too tall for me to mount from the ground, and I know it's not good for her back for me to clamber up on her like I do.

She was less awful about the bit. Not great, not like she was in January and February at Hillside, but she wasn't trying 100% of the time to rip the reins out of my hands. I think, in the absence of any better idea, that I'll just keep ignoring her bad behavior. Don't reward it, don't punish it, and maybe it'll extinguish.

And look! I have video of the rare and wonderful* pace!
*Actually, it's common and uncomfortable.

Dixie, pace and rack (?) from Funder on Vimeo.

I think at the very end of the video she breaks into a rack for just a couple seconds. When she switched out of the pace into something more comfortable I quit urging her forward and let her come back down to a walk.

She doesn't usually pace, but that's all she did yesterday. I have five more little videos... all pacey. Weird. I'm off to read up on the pace and how to help her not do it.


  1. Man, I wish I could offer something more then, 'yeah that's a pace.' Lol! Different gaits blow my mind completely, especially when horses that have no breeding for it (like a APHA paint at Findlay) start throwing their legs all out of whack. You think it's something she does when she's nervous?

    But darn, she is pretty. *steals the paint!* <3

  2. She is pretty, isn't she? She's put together very nicely for a gaited horse, too. She should fill out this year and start to look like a tank instead of a gawky young thing!

    Anyway, I don't think it's nervous. I suspect she's tired - even though I'm just doing slow dressagey stuff with her for an hour every other day, it's more riding than she's had in a long time. (I am a bad owner.) I'm gonna keep riding her, because I think the extra miles will fix more problems than they cause, and just not ask her to gait. Just variations of slow and fast walking.

    I'm gonna follow the Cure that pace advice. It's sensible, it's stuff I want to do with her anyway, and it's detailed. Do you see any problems with her directions for the movements? Thanks :)

  3. I was always told that when Peanut paces to raise the inside rein. That can be accompanied by half-halts to put the weight back on the rears or asking for collection for the same reason.

    I was also told to do hills. Hills and more hills to get his butt built up into a powerhouse. Since it's been so wet lately, his hindquarters are down to nothing, but hopefully when the trails firm up and my new saddle is in we'll get back to that butt.

    Unfortunately, I've only been able to skim the link thanks to my break being over in, oh, 2 minutes.

  4. Heh, Sara, your horse is actually trained. Dixie is still a work in progress. We are just now beginning to figure out half-halts. Check out the link when you get home; I'd love to hear what you think!

  5. I often forget that before Leeandra, Peanut was a trotter, then a pacer, but nothing else. :)

    I'm trying to remember what I did before he went into training with her, but it was pretty immediate upon my arrival. The lifted inside rein was usually an easy fix, but I'm not sure exactly what it does.

    I'm sure Leeandra would tell you how it makes one shoulder do this while the back leg does that because the head is doing this, but all I know is to lift the bloody thing.

    trofts: lofty trots. Horribly bouncy.

  6. Her head and her gait are going to be related. The more she tosses it, the more her feet are going to do whatever. I can't remember, but when she started to slow down, I think she relaxed and her head lowered, that's when she changed gait. I would guess like you said in an earlier blog, maybe wolf teeth. If it is wolf teeth, she wont stop tossing her head till they're gone, because it hurts when the bit hits it.

  7. So I went back and looked again. If you can work on getting control of her head, you have control of what her feet are doing. I don't want to step in where I'm not needed so if you would like more help just let me know.

  8. I'd love advice, especially what to do about the head-tossing. Do I follow her head and maintain the same contact, or hold my arms steady and let her crash into the bit? I don't know!

    Anyway, update time.

  9. Remind me: you've tried her in something bitless? That cured Raven's head-tossing (teeth were fine and she was in the mildest possible bit).

  10. Ergh, dp, I don't really have the guts to try her in something bitless. I ought to just cowboy up and try her in a halter with reins. The worst she will do is run in circles til she gets tired, right?

    I was going to write a real post but I got distracted. Tomorrow, maybe?

  11. Well first make sure she doesn't have wolf teeth. If she does get them out and give her some time off so it can heal. also "if" she had wolf teeth she will remember the pain and it may take a while to know that it wont hurt any more. I would adjust your reins to light contact on her and leave them in one spot, if you have to brace your hands on the saddle so you know your not moving do it. Try not to pull one way or the other and let her push against the bridle. She's a youngin from what I can tell and she just doesn't know where to stick her head. So if you have your hands in a good spot you can help her by not moving around a lot. Plus it's better if you start with their head lower, obviously your going to have a higher head set, but she can learn low. I've used mech. hackamores and they work fine, but don't help with learning where her head should be. Once she quits with that and she knows hey my head should be here and not everywhere, her feet should come along. if not there are things to help with that. I think someone said hills, that's a good way.

  12. You might be surprised. I was floored by the difference in Raven with that simple switch. She is still a crazy nut sometimes, but so much better than with a bit in her mouth. Try an indian bosal...they are cheap (like $20 or you can make one yourself), easy to attach to your headstall and offer more control than a cross-under like Dr. Cooks.

  13. Hi there Fund!
    Wow, that does not look very did well though..nice cooing goods when she relaxed some. I cant wait for her teeth (and my mare's too) soon! I have been using a Mullen Mouth in the arena so she may go into contact without fear. it does work. Try it.
    Also what about a yieling inside hand slowiny sometimes to see if she would come on down into a rounder frame? Wa really takes that well and starts to blow and snort down after wards, I doi a smaller circle when she starts to speed up and she hates those so she feels the cue and then slows herself before we engage the silly smaller circle to do the same.

    She is a looker, to be sure!


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