Archive for July, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Sue -How Do You Do with Susan Swatting a Fly in her Ear?

Group Lesson Monday with five horses. We rode outside in the big arena. I concentrated on relaxing and having a good time. Sue’s feet were a little sore from having been trimmed on Saturday and the dirt outdoor arena was hard and uneven.

I told everyone before I got on, not to raise their hands… After that, I didn’t yell at anyone. I didn’t have to! Sue was perfect.


For the big fly that flew into my ear. Of course my arm came flying wildly up to my ear to slap the fly and of course Sue did a semi-bolt. I can now handle flinching, speeding up and semi-bolts. It’s the flat-out bolt that makes me yell at my friends!

We had horses passing us left and right. We didn’t even flinch.

Once again Sue showed me that her right hindquarters are stuck when it comes to sidepassing and leg yielding. I pressed too hard with my leg that it aggravated my knee and I had to stop riding about 1/2 hour before the lesson was over.

Next is carrot stick riding…leg yielding.

It’s always something

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do!

Arena and sole trail ride today…all went great!

Sue and I played at liberty in the round pen. We have a lot of confidence building to do there. In change of directions, she wouldn’t face me to change direction…but just one way.

We worked on porcupine sidepassing and porcupine hindquarters disengagement. She ignores my leg when I’m riding her to sidepass to the left. Perhaps it will get better when we get it better on the ground.

Impulsion Bull’s Eye Game-We practiced walking and trotting around the outside of the round pen. Her job was to learn to go where my belly button pointed and then my leg told her. If her body didn’t go that way, she got lightly bumped with the reins….that was to the left.

I got really brave and picked up the carrot stick from where I had placed it on a small piece of wood along the rail. She flinched like she might erupt into outer space, but she ended up not moving.

I rubbed her all over with the carrot stick. After all, it’s my life that is a stake here!

Then we did the bulls eye at a walk and then at a “trot”. If she didn’t follow my belly button or leg, the carrot stick would swing down and tell her nose to stay on the round pen rail! If she slowed down, the carrot stick taped her rear end. It took a long time before she was able to go once around the round pen without the carrot stick helping.

When she slowed down, she was squeezed by my legs and if that was ignored, the carrot stick taped her rear end. You can again imagine that Ms Rocketship emerged again. I was able to relax and not pull back on the reins except for once, when she started her bolting rocketship imitation.

I believe that is what took her so long to realize that all she had to do was follow the round pen rail…it’s because she kept going right brain when I had to tap her rear end.

Someday, she won’t feel like she’s going to die when she first feels a light tap on her rear…maybe in about a year.

Then we went outside the arena. Only, we didn’t make it from the small shady area right outside the gate into the sunshine. We had to turn around and enter back into the arena…which she wasn’t really sure about either…and I got off.
I led her out into the sunshine and back into the shade a few times. Then we walked up to the 40 acres and I mounted up there.

We chatted with a new person and then we took off towards the east. She tried to fool me into thinking we were going in a straight line, but actually veer over and visit the pasture horses. That was the only trouble we had. We made it to the end of the pasture and we ate grass for a while. We walked back next to the tree and brush row. We even went over the dam of the small pond…a narrow squeeze thru place. We survived all of this without anything happening and we were happy.

I decided that I couldn’t emotionally make it all the way back to the halfway point, so we cheated and angled back to our mounting block.

I got off and thanked everyone! Sue got lots of treats today!


PostHeaderIcon Susan – How Did You Do On the Trail Ride – Emotional Clod!

 How Did You Do on the TRAILRIDE:(
I’m naming this Blog, Susan – How Do You Do? It’s more and more about me and less and less about Sue…or maybe it’s 50-50 now.

So, we went on our first training trail ride today. We had one young horse, Sue and two nice slow calm horses.

I decided that the young horse should ride behind a calm horse who was put in the lead. Then my  friend on her calm horse would ride third and Sue and I would bring up the rear.

This was working great, but my natural impatience exherted itself. When my friend’s horse slowed down to a near stop and failed to keep up close to the front two horses, I rode around and kept behind the front two horses. This was working great. We made it 3/4 way around the 40 acre field when we stopped to regroup. My friend and her horse were about 50′ behind us and she waved at a neighbor. This prompted Sue to spook. We might have spooked 10′ and came to a stop. I did get a little bit unbalanced in the saddle.

Now here’s the really sad part. I got angry. I was angry that my good friend was behind me. Why couldn’t she obey me!

Oh yes,  I was also scared. Scared and angry meant bursting out in dry tears. Oh yes, it was that bad. You should have seen the shocked look that my friends gave me. Of course bursting out in tears made me angrier at myself. What a clod.

Sue and I “huffed” off.

I yelled at the group that I couldn’t ride with them anymore because I had become emotional. I told them just to ride without me.   Sue and I were huffing off down the middle of the field.
They didn’t move. They said things like, we’ll be here when you want us…blah blah. nice things.  Good kind people.  Understanding people.  It just makes me sick!

Shortly thereafter, I came to my senses, tried and succeeded in relaxing and rode back to my group. They had not moved.

So, we made it back to our halfway point. This time I told friend Barb to ride behind me and wave her arms. The front two riders rode side by side…but a distance from one another so Sue and I would have a place to “spook thru”. It was planned like a drill team. We rode the entire way back to the place where I emotionally freaked. Once Sue sped up a bit…that was it.

We rode all the way back again, still with friend in the back waving her arms. No problem.

It was time for me to get off. I’m having a knee problem and pain was running from foot to hip.

Good GAD! I feel like I’m going thru emotional fitness training school.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Spell Progress?

This was a three hour group lesson in brutal heat. We started at 9:00 am and by noon everyone was very willing to STOP.

Last night I had watched the latest Parelli pod cast. It was about horses that are scared to have horses behind them or meet other horses. Talk about right on time Pod Cast!

Pat rode his pretend fearful horse, Cash, in the round pen. Linda’s job was to canter around the outside of the round pen. Cash rode on the rail inside and when she got too nervous, Pat just took her off the rail and went into and out of the middle. It’s approach and retreat. He did that for a while. Then he and Cash rode with Linda..side by side separated by the round pen fence. After that went well, he went the other way and met Linda and she cantered towards him.

HOW COOL! And we have a round pen set up in our large arena at Pine Dell.
This morning I was asked what I wanted to work on and I explained the concept to Jenny. Her eyes lit up with glee. We had a lot of horses that needed to go around the outside of the round pen throughout the lesson.

Everyone did liberty on the ground in the round pen and then it was my turn to ride in the round pen. Certain people throughout the morning were assigned to ride outside the round pen. Some were trotting. Some were cantering. The final person, friend Barb and Cocoa, walked bridleless!

Sue and I rode in front of the horses…with the horse coming up and passing us. We rode besides the horses. We turned and met the horses. It was GREAT!

Sue and I have never rode with the carrot stick. It’s a stick! We have been playing the friendly extreme game with the carrot stick when I first bought her and she is doing great. I’ve been afraid to ride with the carrot stick.

Here’s the other problem I was having with Sue. Don’t change gaits…Sue sometimes drags herself from stop to a go. Sometimes we are going along at a nice speed and she drops to a walk…she occasionally doesn’t respond to my squeezing of my legs to get her to speed up.

She still is terrified of something that appears to want to hit her. I have been using a very small slap of my hand on my thigh to make a very small clap noise. The smallest clap noise makes her startle and speed up. I hate the startle part. Other times she ignores my clap noise and just remains in the slower speed.

In the round pen to get her to speed up, I started clapping my hand on my thigh. When she ignored that, I put my hand behind her. She ignored that and I was able to touch her with my hand. She startled and sped up. We did that for a while until she quit the startle movement. WOW!

Then I asked Jenny to hand me the carrot stick. The exchange went well and I was holding the carrot stick and was still alive. Sue didn’t move.

I played the friendly game with the carrot stick. I rubbed her front part. We moved to the middle of the round pen and resumed the friendly game. I actually touched her belly and then came the time to touch her rear end. This was a scary part. The carrot stick touched her rear and and she didn’t even flinch! Wild Applause!

We started moving around the round pen. When she dropped into a trot, I managed to touch her rear end with the carrot stick…and we TOOK OFF! But it wasn’t that wild power surge. It was a medium power surge. After a moment or two, I was able to get her slowed down.

So this went on for a while. I learned that if I had the reins picked up with feel on her mouth, that my hands automatically pulled back when she surged forward. I started riding in the push passenger mode. I let the reins go slack, pushed against the saddle horn and let her go where she wanted. All I wanted was to keep at a trot-like gait. When I touched her with the carrot stick, my hands didn’t automatically tighten. I actually rode out some of the power surges without pulling on her mouth. Wild Applause here!

Near the end, she was getting mighty tired and started slowing down a lot. I had plenty of opportunities to touch her rear with the carrot stick. Occasionally I tapped her twice before I got a response. As we were going at the desired speed, my body told her to stop and we were very successful.

I also got to feed her treats while seated on her back. I tried to do that last Monday and she got scared of my leg when she bent around to take the treat!

We got out of the arena and zipped around on the wall. We had a horse pass and meet us and didn’t flinch!

I took her to the front, sidepassed to the deck fence and got off on the fence…another first. I have to lean over and slide down her side until my foot hits an opening in the wood. She didn’t move. I was grateful to live through this too.

It all was a HUGE DAY!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do with your Pathetic Rider?

Monday nite lesson. Here was another riding experience when I was more scared than Sue!
Of course you know that Sue doesn’t like other horses too close to her and certainly not Behind Her!At the Monday nite lesson, someone rode too close behind her. Sue tightened up. I tried to zip around the arena, cut through the middle etc and lose the horse, BUT NO! The horse stayed right on Sue’s tail.

I asked the rider not to ride that close to us, but nothing happened. I was pretty desparate when Jenny asked that rider to go ride on the rail and not leave it. Whew! We escaped.

Sue was tight, but not yet ready to bolt out from under me. Perhaps we could have stuck it out and just kept the horse close on our tail and managed just fine.

But, again, I was reduced to a low “yelling” at the other rider to Stay Back.
Once again, I broke my vow of No Yelling!  At least it was low yelling.

My confidence plummeted about riding on a trail ride.

Good GAD! We might meet other horses or be passed by other horses! That was a concept I had not thought of. I cancelled Sue’s “coming out” trail ride …it was going to be too hot anyway!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You do in a Clinic with Many Horses?

We had an Advancing Clinic at Pine Dell today.
Part of our ground work -assigned only to Sue and I- was driving using the 45′ rope. It’s a stiff rope, like a lariat. It’s very long. Sue didn’t like it moving behind her rear end very much. I stayed right beside her and asked her to move on the rail. It didn’t work at all in the arena. She got nervous about the rope on her rear end and got her feet outside of the “reins”. I wasn’t handy enough to keep that from happening. When we went inside after lunch, we did this again in the round pen. I was able to handle my role and Sue zipped back and forth on the rope. I had to turn her 180 degrees with her face into the fence. She had to turn her head to the outside of the fence. We had trouble going one way and managed pretty good the other way.

It was emotionally fun. The clinic was full with 10 riders. Today we had a round pen in the arena. The round pen was in the spot where Sue and I go to “escape” from the other scary horses.

On the long side of the wall, there was just enough room with a little to spare for two horses to pass.

Did I mention that Sue is a little claustrophobic. She’s improved a ton since the Horse Development clinic.

But just listen to what she had to contend with.

Two horses moving inside the round pen. Two horses circling around the outside of the round pen. The rest of us were on the rail of the arena. Occasionally we “met” one of the horses circling on the outside of the   at that narrow space. We refused to move forward at that point. Thank Goodness all the other participants on the rail didn’t pass us at those delicate moments.

Sue sped up fast every now and then, but it was not that pounding hoof speed sound that makes everyone look around in fear of their life.

At times she got a little tight and sped up into what I thought was going to be a trot. I thought it odd that she would tighten up and trot. But then again, it wasn’t a trot. I believe it was a fox trot. But she felt like she was going to keep on accelerating, so I slowed her down. hmmmm…That gait really felt good. I need to get her to do that when she is happy and relaxed!

She did so well on this day that I have made a “date” for our first real trail ride. It’s next Sunday. Perhaps it will snow or freeze or thunder or the globe will shift and the trail ride won’t happen.

Brave Sue and Susan signing off!


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