Monday, January 11, 2010

A sense of wonder

Today I picked back up with cruise control, same as Friday. The horse-beatin' lead rope only had to spring into action twice. Dixie's not a stupid horse; she's just going to take as much ground as I give her, and I've given her a lot of slack lately. I got on, rewarded her for standing still, and asked her to move off. She took two steps and stopped, so I hollered "WALK!" and walloped her with the rope. She didn't get mad, she just walked off and didn't give me much trouble about it again.

I had a Plan today too - one full lap down the short section of road, then one trip around the pueblo house, then a surprise. I had to wallop her one more time for oozing down to a walk when I'd asked her to trot, but again, after that she stuck to the gait I requested. I should note I'm not riding truly Western - I give gentle dressage cues with my legs every stride. So the walloping isn't coming out of nowhere - she's already ignored my first two "asks."

When we finished our circle, I had her keep walking past the barn. Oh no! Her head was up and she was a bit jiggy, and every now and then she'd try to sidepass off the road and turn for home. I made her walk about 2/10 of a mile past the barn, where OMG! Look! An apple has appeared! I'd dropped it off from the truck on the way to the barn. :)

One of AareneX's mares (Story?) thought every new "scary" thing in the world was really just a sugar packet dispenser. I loved that story, and I'd like for Dixie to have some really exciting and pleasant surprises happen to her. She needs a sense of wonder about the world. :)

I dismounted, fed her the apple, loosened the girth, and walked her home. (I walk her home quite a bit - it won't do me any harm to walk, and it's a nice way for her to cool out and relax with me.) Anyway, Dixie was pretty worried about something invisible over the horizon, but she did eat the apple. Every bite of it seemed to bring her "back" a tiny bit.

After we got home, I worked on the wonky toe just a bit again. I've got it pretty balanced right now. And our stats were 3.0 miles in 52 min, with a dry relaxed horse at the end. I want to go a bit further on Wednesday - either a double loop around the pueblo house, or maybe the mines. We'll see how the weather holds out, and how waterproof my jacket really is!


  1. Like the apple trick - I'll have to try that (although it means more hiking for me as our trails aren't along roads).

  2. Didn't get a chance to comment on your last post - but wanted to say that yes, I agree, I learn more (and are more entertained) when things go horribly wrong in people's blogs. :)

    It's funny - it sounds like Dixie and Farley are a bit alike...maybe it's the mare thing? Anyway, glad you were able to get on and have a decent ride. You two have come so far since last year!

  3. I'll keep you updated on how it goes, Kate! I'm hoping it will work somewhat like clicker training - she won't always get an apple at the same spot for going the same distance, but she will learn that there might be an apple ahead!

    Mel, Farley is a sweet angel of a pony. Hush your mouth! We really have come a long way, and I'm so proud of her. And me, I guess :)


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