Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bring on the Games!

This morning we went out early before the heat was supposed to start. J and I set up a labyrinth, the tarp and a cavaletti. By the time we were done, I was soaked with sweat and swearing at the temps. The course in the big arena looked pretty good and Ashke snorted at it as we went by. I worked him in the round pen first, at a trot and canter in both directions, and then rode him at a walk and trot. He's pretty much done with going in circles and was pretty eager to move to the big arena.

I still haven't cantered. Maybe on Tuesday. Honestly, today was just too darn hot and we had other things to do.

Two things of note in this video: 1. Ashke is paying attention to my requests and although he wants to hurry through, he is pausing when I ask and waiting until I tell him to make the next turn. This is part of the "learning" he is doing in the labyrinth. 2. Do you see that nice little piece of backing action? No fuss, no fight. Just ducks his chin and backs up. I love that!

The tarp was no big thing, once he got a good sniff of it. In fact, he was willing to stand in the middle of the square to show another horse that the tarp wasn't going to hurt him.

Then we moved onto the cavaletti.

Things to note: His reaction to being ridden over the raised bars started with a step, then a jump and finally a bucking rodeo over the final one. I was afraid of what would have happened if there had been four.

We worked through these items several times in both directions until he was pretty comfortable. One of the other riders asked if I was going to do trail and I explained that I wanted to do endurance, but thought that the more tools I can employ and the more looks I can give him, the better he will be. He did good. I do need to teach him to stand still when the reins are touching the ground (ground-tie) and I think I will work him inside a box or circle to teach him to turn on the front and on the haunch.

My goal is too have him trained enough for me to feel 100% confident by Spring of next year. Then I can start focusing on riding distance and at speed to work him up to his first endurance ride.


  1. He'll get those cavellettis eventually. I did notice something in the video--there seemed to be something that was reflecting brightly from the stands used for the poles--I don't know if that was something that might have flashed in his eyes or not. But it looked more like he was reacting to having the poles touch his hind legs.

    I actually used the labyrinth to teach turns on the hind and forequarters before I went to a box. I would stop with the horse's nose in the outside corner of a turn and ask him to pivot on his hindquarters until his front feet came up against the side, and then ask him to pivot on his front until he was lined up for the next straight away. I did this both on the ground and riding.

  2. The brightly flashing things in the stands were pinwheels, which I had lined up in front of the white poles last week when we were working from the ground. I would have done the same thing this weekend, but the ground was too hard to get them to stick in. It was really fun when the pinwheels were spinning last week. They didn't flip him out though, he went over them without any issue other than wanting to eat them. I think he is dragging his hind feet when he goes over instead of picking them up. I will continue to work with him from the ground until he no longer has an issue.

    Can you draw a diagram of how you worked your horse on the forehand and haunches in the labyrinth, maybe on your iPad? I can't see the image of how it would work. . . .