Friday, August 10, 2018


I’ve been so proud of Ashke that I have been bragging about him to my friends. I was talking with my friend Chris and told her how non-reactive he’s been, how a soft request from me to stay with me is all he has needed to refocus on our work. He has been happy and willing, with a huge try.


Wednesday night started with him spooking at the mounting block, until I got off and moved it back from the edge of the “court” I was riding in before my lesson. After I moved it back, he continued to “hunt” it, giving a huge flinch when it came into view behind the jump standards that were in the same place they’ve been since we started riding in that arena.


Even once Amanda got into the arena to start our lesson, he was jumpy, spooky and overly reactive. He was spooking at the sound of the siding on the barn relaxing in the cooling of the night air. We responded by putting him to work, with serpentines, lateral work, leg yield at the canter and half-pass. It was incredibly frustrating.

At one point, Amanda had us riding the serpentine loop from the Novice test of a couple of years ago. I was struggling with getting his body position correct moving back to the wall after hitting X at the quarter line. Ashke bolted and I hear Amanda talking in my ear “Moar leg”. All I could think is “he’s already bolting, why more leg? I’m going to die.” We didn’t but it was a close thing.

We ended the lesson riding one handed. It really emphasizes how much I pull with my right hand when we are circling to the right. We did walk - trot - walk and some walk-canter-walk half circles with the reins in my left hand, which is getting a tad bit smarter. I stopped every time he went above the bit and waited for him to find himself again, before going on. I am beginning to feel more confident and comfortable with my left hand and he seemed more understanding. I had spaghetti legs when I got off.

We ended it there. I was drenched with sweat, as he was, and it was time. The night was neither easy, comfortable or fun, but we got through it.

Teach me to open my mouth.


  1. Ah ponies. We are truly crazy. Or getting there. The idea behind more leg in the bolt is to get them moving forward in a more productive way. My instinct is to shut it down but by putting my leg on and riding forward I get control faster and she doesn’t do the spinning thing that unseats me. It’s really hard. So good for you.

  2. I love Ashke!!!!!! He is of the same blood of my heart horse, with so many brotherhood traits and features - the deeply curved ears, the huge black eyes, the slender face and right-mane, but he shares the right pink nose with Mag. Are bloodlines so prepotent? Cuz all your discussions with Ashke, I've had with Baasha, but I was in my 20's, so there was no heart palpitations, just "WTH Baasha!" When I read about how other breeds react to stress I'm happy to be with Arabians, cuz they fight "nice" not nasty, ya know? And if they're nasty, it's honestly fear. Well, most of them: )


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