Archive for the ‘Sue – How Do You Do!’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Sue How Do You Do trying to Canter!

The problem is that when I ask Sue to speed up enough to canter, she tightens her body in fear and we go into that wonderful gait that only gaited horse people know…the gait where every leg is out of sync with all the other legs.  It’s called anti-rhythm.

“Transitions,” I thought.  We are having a hard time with transitions…even when I ask her to speed up just with a faint higher level of energy.

First I thought that asking Sue to canter in the round pen would be the answer!  The round pen has deeper sand than the arena.  It’s easier to get the canter.

So, here we are in the round pen.  We started out and I asked her to canter. We went into our 4 legged anti-synch /rhythm stride.  “I can’t do this,” my body said.

So, we did passenger riding.  The level 1 Parelli test includes a 21 minute passenger ride task.  Sue and I couldn’t make 21 minutes the last time we tried.  She is way out of shape.

This time my strategy was different.  We would have a lot of walk, stop and speed up transitions during our passenger ride.  She would get tired, but we would have transition breaks. That’s what we need…transitions without fear.

That’s what we did.  We also spent the entire time going to the left.  We veered to the right exactly three times and went right back to the wall going to the left.  that’s interesting.

I believe we made the 21 minutes. Sue was drenched.  At the end, she had enough life left in her for a try at the canter.  We struggled and got two faint canter steps.  We stopped and I got off.  Maybe she will remember the nice outcome from cantering.

I don’t think so.

Next will be at least one pole in the round pen..We need a canter pole!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do -Still trying to Canter

The round pen has fairly deep sandy footing.  That’s why Sue canters in there so well.

Sue doesn’t canter in the arena with me riding.  Oh maybe a step or two now and then when I have a pole for her to lift up her front end.

When I ride her, she is still nervous when I put pressure on her to go faster.  If we are trotting and I put pressure on her to go faster, we disintegrate.  (Sue does a lot of disintegrating.) Occasionally I’ll get a couple of canter steps and then we disintegrate into every foot doing something different.

I”ll have to take a mounting stool and go into the round pen.  We must canter.

Today she was cantering in the round pen with the three beat canter.  From my middle point, I raised up my stick in front of her and she did a sliding stop.

Yes, really.  I couldn’t believe it either.  We tried the other direction and she has a nice stop.  It’s only to the left that she has a sliding stop.

I am still marveling.  It must mean she is putting that weight back on her rear end and cantering.

Ok, that’s it.  I must ride in the round pen. I hate the mounting stool.  I hate having the mounting stool being in the round pen when I’m running around.  It diverts my attention.  I do have my little peculiar oddities.  I’m not perfect.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do with Doggies?

Dogs are nothing to worry about. We are used to dogs.

I rode Sue today at home. We went further than we ever have before.  We were accompanied by our nice Lena dog. She’s a senior German Shepherd.  Sue and I were doing our ground games when I noticed that Lena was trying to herd Sue.  Lena has never done that before.  I yelled at her and she slunk away.

Sue and I were at the furtherest away from home than we ever have been. Lena was right besides us, circulating amoung the great smells.  Lena has never gone on one of our trail rides before.  Well, Sue and I have never been out of our property.  Evidentially, Lena has been waiting a long time for this.  She was having a great time. 

 We have a turf farm to ride on…vast vista of green grass.

Suddenly, Sue tensed up and went tight.  Her rear end bunched up.  I heard a thud and a wimper. That wretched Lena was trying to bite Sue’s back legs and Sue let loose an easy kick.  It connected and Lena learned a lesson.

My gentle Lena was trying her best to get me killed!  I do not need a dog biting Sue’s rear feet.  Good GAD!

We made it back home.  Sue was in mid right brain after that.  When she increased her speed above a flat foot walk, we turned a little circle. That made her come back into her left brain.  We really didn’t have to do this very long.  After a while, Sue was able to walk calmly.

By then, the flies had attacked.  I was starting to breathe flies.  I hate that.  We quit and had a fine ride!

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.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do Fluidity?

FLUIDITY CLINIC- The last time I rode Sue in an indoor clinic, I was overcome by emotional non-fitness by noon and had to quit.

This indoor arena clinic was full of horses and Sue and I rode two days.  What a difference.

The first day when we first started riding, Tony told me I didn’t look fully relaxed.  I thought I hid it well, but there it was…tension.  We can’t have tension in a Fluidity Clinic!

So, I started to whistle without sound.  Amazing how whistling, even when you don’t produce noise will make you relax.  You purse your lips, blow air out and your body relaxes…like automatic.

I whistled (soundlessly) until I didn’t need to anymore. No one noticed I looked weird -pursing my lips, looking like a fish mouth. 

Sue didn’t spook while I was riding her.  What she did do, was refuse to go thru spots where she had to be too close to other horses.  She is claustrophobic in tight spots.

She would pass horses just fine unless two or more horses were close together. Then we just came to a halt and our feet stuck into the arena sand. 

The bigger horse had a bigger bubble.  We had a draft cross in the class and it took more room for Sue to be able to get around that horse!

Sue and I played the squeeze game (with the other horses) for two days.

Seven year old Caitlyn got permission from her father to ride Sue at the end of the first day.  Caitlyn rode in half the arena…all the participant horses were gathered up in the other half.  Caitlyn got Sue to canter.  I cheered!

At the end of the 2nd day, Caitlyn got to ride Sue again.  This time as she rode past where her little brother was playing out of the arena in the sand…well.  Little brother threw something up as they went past and Sue leaped sideways to get away.  Caitlyn told me she came within a hair of falling off.  whew!  I’m glad it wasn’t me riding and I’m glad I didn’t see it.

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