Saturday, September 6, 2014


The high yesterday was 60. It was grey and overcast with rain all day.

It is so hard to be motivated to ride in that kind of weather. It makes all of my bruised and broken parts ache. T had a race yesterday at noon, so I ended up at the barn about 5:30ish.

Ashke got a good grooming. He is shedding out his summer coat and has turned grey on his shoulders and neck. I expect, with the waning light and the cooler temps, that his winter coat should be coming in soon. I love how sleek and slick he feels. Many people maintain that look and feel with blanketing, but I enjoy it simply through grooming.

It was pattering rain by the time he was saddled so we went to the indoor. I was really glad when we got there that I hadn't thrown on a sweatshirt, since the indoor was humid and very warm.

Ashke was very spooky. He decided that the small red mower sitting in the corner (outside the arena but still in the building) was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. He snorted. He blew. He tried to spin and bolt. It was pretty ridiculous. I employed the "if you aren't going to trust me that the mower will not come alive and eat you, then you will work a lot every time you spook at it" technique. We did laterals, shoulder-in, leg yields on the diagonal, lots of bending.  Every time we went past one of our "problem spots" I applied inside leg and held his position on the rail, something I've been doing on trail to keep him from spooking at plants and rocks and things. It worked last night, as well.

We did changes of direction and trot-halt-back-trot sequences. His halt is quick enough to toss me if I'm not careful. For the most part Ashke was relaxed and on contact, but sometimes during changes of direction he will toss his head up and fight against the bit. In the past, this behavior has brought about stopping and softening. Last night, he experienced a lot of leg (thumping in a couple of cases) and he was expected to work through it. Instead of stopping, Ashke figured out to lower his chin, relax and continue to go forward. He was doing this as an evasion to contact and had figured out it would work to stop whatever we were doing that he wasn't comfortable with. That's not going to work any more, because he tries to do that on the trail so he can run whenever he wants.

We ended with some canter in both directions, trying to achieve both rhythm and balance without me hanging on his front end. If I bring him down too far, he runs on the forehand and that isn't helping rehab our hind end issues. Or make him any easier to ride. He did great to the left and was solid to the right. We did some turns on the forehand and turns on the haunches, then side passing and we were done.

It's still grey and gross today. I was going to do two rides today - one with the fam and one for the moonlit ride, but with the weather we are up in the air.


  1. I should try to employee that technique on trail to try to curb some spooking, too. Good idea!

    1. I've discovered that Ashke likes me to maintain contact with him with my entire leg when we ride at a canter, kind of like giving him a hug. Then when I feel or see a problem approaching, I just tighten the muscles of the leg outside whatever he is thinking of spooking at and instead of going sideways, he cocks an ear and continues forward.