Archive for August, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do “Tuck and Spurt”?

Tuck and Spurt is a new term I came up with tonight to describe something Sue does.

When she gets nervous or fearful, she tenses, her rear end tucks in and she spurts forward.  This isn’t a good thing.  It would be a good thing if we were in a starting gate ready to chase down a cow. 

As we are riding along and I ask her to go forward, I might “overask” and she’ll tense all up…tuck and spurt.  You might imagine this just destroys the transition that I am asking for.  It makes me frustrated not to be able to ask for a slight increase in speed, but instead I get a tense spurt.  Since she’s a gaited horse, she usually goes into a gait that isn’t comfy. Gaited horses are supposed to be comfy.

I’m taking on the discovery process of eliminating or reducing the number of tucks and spurts we do on each ride

I discovered that short pattern in what we call point to point helps.  We go from short side to side in an arena.  We speed faster than a walk and stop at the opposite wall.  It took about 8 times before she stopped the tuck and spurt the last time I did it.

I’m trying go forward 5 fast steps, stop and back.  It took about 5 times before she would go forward without the tuck and spurt.

Tonight, I discovered passenger riding.  My passenger riding is trying to keep going faster than a walk and the horse gets to pick where ever she wants to go.  I don’t touch the reins.  When Sue breaks down into a walk, I ask her to speed back up.  She gets to turn in little circles if she wants. She gets to go directly into the fence, but when she slows down, I ask her to speed up.  Therefore, going into the fence isn’t as enjoyble as going straight.  The goal is to passenger ride for 21 minutes.  I might have made it about 12 minutes the first time.  We were in an outdoor 120X60 arena.

There was no tucking and spurting!  Only one time did she speed up into a pace.  I just let her pace.  I managed to post to the pace.  She quit and went back into an easy gait.

The passenger riding sort of forces me to relax.  My cues to go faster must be a lot less than if I were holding the reins.  It worked.

After a few minutes of passenger riding, I was able to relax my tension.  It was just great. 

I did another passenger ride for 5 minutes.  Sue maintained her gait for longer periods of time.  She also smoothed out the hard trot.

Passenger riding makes the horse braver and increases the rider’s confidence!

Twenty one minutes of passenger riding is my goal for the next ride! 

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You DO at Focus?

I don’t know whether or not you’ve noticed this, but ususally the title pertains to either Sue or I.  Today, it really is my title.

We were in a nice sized 3 hour clinic this morning at Pine Dell.  There were 9 wonderful horses in the clinic.  Sue is getting better with her claustrophobia right along with my fear termination.

But, we still have a problem going between horses while we are trying to stay at a consistent gait on the wall.  While we are doing that, other horses are standing around, creating squeeze places for us.  Sometimes other horses are coming from the opposite direction on their own path…but it still looks like they are headed straight for us.  Sue doesn’t like that at all.

Coming around the corner, Sue stopped and protested passing a horse standing too close to the rail (in Sue’s opinion).  Plus the horse was facing us…even more difficult for Sue.  There was a nice sized opening, but we failed to squirt thru it.

Jenny said, “You need a strong focus to get Sue thru these spots.  Look where you want her to go.”

I decided this meant that I couldn’t stare worridly at the offending horse  .  I believe this also meant that couldn’t avert my eyes to the upcoming disaster and just look down at Sue’s head.

Focus  It’s a five letter word.

The next time we came around the corner, the horse was standing in the same place.  I focused strongly on the opposite wall where I wanted Sue to go.  We squirted right thru the opening and around the opposite corner we went!

Focus.  I’ve forgotten about focus when riding Sue.  Rather, I’ve been focused on the “stopping things” rather than where we are to go.

Focus

PostHeaderIcon Sue – the How You DID IT Horse!

The Horse Show Goal
My goals were:

  • to ride from the horse trailer to the arena
  • to ride in the show classes, occasionally doing what the judge called for
  • to ride out of the arena to the trailer

 We got big huge virtual blue ribbons and met everyone of these goals

I thanked everyone that came, clapped and cheered. I discovered that smiling when people clap is a great way to release tension. I know Sue enjoyed the clapping. Sue knew it was her night. The arena was ours!  We have a nice group of natural horsemanship great friends who came and provided support.

In one class, we got behind Nova.(Nova is also my horse and a member of Sue’s herd-ridden by Jennifer Vaught in the class)  Sue tried to put her head in Nova’s tail. You know that’s not really good for a young horse’s first experience in the show ring. I tried to pass. Not an option for Sue…and all this was in front of the judge. Finally the judge called for going reverse and Sue and I managed to get away from Nova. Sue found great comfort in following her herd mates!

After the last Sue class was over, I was mulling around the experience.  It came to me that a chapter has closed and a new one has opened.

For the past 2+ years, I’ve been concentrating on eliminating fear (in both Sue and I) by building trust and partnership and playing the friendly games constantly in many different levels in many different ways.

That chapter closed last night. Last night I discovered a talented
horse underneath me. Sue’s flat foot walk can be incredible. Her fox trot is in a raw stage of being incredible. She’s got a huge reach.

I can start following all phases of the levels program now and bring out her talent. The friendly game will still be a big part of this, but I’m free to move on now.

It’s a great white light of a door with the beauty of spiritual nature behind the light.  There the shadow of a beautiful bay mare waiting.

Check back in a couple of weeks for the show pictures.

(it is Sunday)

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do-in the Show Arena?

Show day minus one.  We practiced today.  Jenny rode Nova  in the arena with us.  We were pulled by an amazing force of gravity to follow Nova around the arena.

Boy Howdy – It will be great in the show arena.  Nova, Diva (Sue’s own daughter) and Velvet ..all of them or at least one of them will be in every show class we enter.

Way cool

I have show blanket.  I have ribbons.  I have a Western shirt for the fox trotter western class.  I have a shirt for the other classes.  I’m bringing several shirts for opinions of the group.  I have a western bridle and a bridle for the other classes.

I’m not catatonic anymore.  I’m thinking that I might have a great time.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – HowDo You Do-with Catatonic Rider?

I understand catatonic behavior now.  After I made the annoucement that I was going to show Sue, someone asked me what I was going to wear.

There are people who like to match clothes, saddle blanket and horse ribbons.

Me, I went catatonic.  The idea of riding Sue in a horse show is really all my brain can handle. The thought of having to figure out some sort of matching show wear made me unable to participate in speech or thought.

I did finally respond ”black slacks, some kind of long sleeved shirt and some sort of a vest.”

Then the person asked what color would my shirt and vest be and I went catatonic again.

The next day someone asked what saddle blanket I would use.  Down into the deep I went again.

I can handle it now.  I have but three days.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do – 3 days to zero

I understand catatonic behavior now.  After I made the annoucement that I was going to show Sue, someone asked me what I was going to wear.

There are people who like to match clothes, saddle blanket and horse ribbons.

Me, I went catatonic.  The idea of riding Sue in a horse show is really all my brain can handle. The thought of having to figure out some sort of matching show wear made me unable to participate in speech or thought.

I did finally respond ”black slacks, some kind of long sleeved shirt and some sort of a vest.”

Then the person asked what color would my shirt and vest be and I went catatonic again.

The next day someone asked what saddle blanket I would use.  Down into the deep I went again.

I can handle it now.  I have but three days.

Search
Archives

You are currently browsing the Susan's Viewpoint blog archives for August, 2008.