Monday, February 1, 2010

The Work Outs Begin - - Day Two

It didn't take long for me to rethink my priorities for training horses. As much as I want to keep Rhet in shape, I also need to get Reflection into the ring. That means working Reflection needed to be a priority as well.

I decided if I worked Rhet three times a week, I could probably maintain the horse's current condition. As long as I don't have plans to show him this year, that would be fine. If I should change my mind and decide to show him in halter, I would need to step up his conditioning time back to his original schedule.

Bumping Rhet's time worked back opened the door to work Reflection. While the horse had been worked regularly for a time last winter, he had only been worked on and off since and I still have issues with the horse. There's not much chance the horse will ever hit the ring if I don't get through my issues with him.

I had ridden the horse a few times last summer here in the round pen on my farm. The horse had been good except when I'd asked him to lope. Then Reflection had tried shaking his head at me followed by an attempt to buck. I'd spanked the horse for this bad behavior and he'd not tried it again but I stll had and have reservations about riding him.

My first day at the arena with the horse I decided that I would just bit the horse up and lunge him. I knew that one of his issues is about being asked to bridle. I think the horse doesn't like the confinement of his head. I figured if I can recreate his issues in ground work, I can get the horse over some of his resistance.

On that first day, Reflection actually took pretty well to being bitted up. I started him off with a long rein and gradually shortened it as the horse figured out what was being asked. Before his first session, the horse was rolling over in the bridle where he belonged and acting pretty comfortable with it.

Things went so smoothly on that first day, I decided I would ride him on the second day. There was no one around and that made me a bit nervous. I didn't want to end up in the dirt hurt with no one around to know or get help but I was getting to that place I knew I needed to ride when I could. I just couldn't count on someone being there.

That second day actually went well too. I bitted the horse up first and worked him both ways before I ever got on. When I did mount, the horse stood quietly just like he used to before our big accident. We were on a roll.

The horse walked off easily flexing and bending off my legs. There seemed to be no reistance until I asked the horse to trot. I'd already decided I would just work in a circle at one end of the arena wanting to keep things as controlled as possible. When I asked the horse to trot he acted like he didn't know what I meant.

The horse was not worked much in a circle. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his confusion had to do with the circle. I kept him on the circle and just kept squeezing him with my legs and clucking to him eventually I resorted to flicking him with the reins.

I think the reins were about halfway to their destination on his hip when the horse broke into the trot. I dropped the rein ends immediately and praised the horse with my voice but the trot was pretty labored. I was working my tail off pushing him trying to keep him going BUT at least he wasn't running off.

I decided that first day the trot was probably enough. I didn't want to push anything just because I thought I "should." I was more concerned with keeping both of us relaxed and working good together than doing what others might think was a normal workout.

I was pleased I'm made it through the first ride at the arena and I'd stayed in the saddle. My horse stayed relaxed and no new issues had been created. I knew we were a long way from the show ring but at least we were heading in the right direction.

To be continued...............

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  1. Great choice not to overdo it. Keeping them relaxed and thinking is a fine balance. I will keep watching for his next training day. Good luck!

  2. I never overdo it either when bringing a horse back. Less is more in my opinion, glad he did a little trot and ended on a good note. Good for you for 'just doing it'.

  3. The horse in your picture is gorgeous... I have a thing for arabs.