Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In the Arena #32 - In synch

Best. Ride. Ever. I know I've said this recently, and I'll be happy to say it on a regular basis from now on!

As we warmed up this morning, Val was somewhat sluggish and ignoring my leg. (Not unusual.) I brought my whip into play - still no response - tap, tap, tap, tap, TAP! Apparently the timing and intensity were just right because I swear I heard a little gasp like... holy cr@p - she's serious!

And suddenly we were doing little circles, big circles, in and out of the scary corner, working in the deep sand on the rail, serpentines (!) and reaching. And I didn't need to raise the intensity of my aiding again. I believe we had a breakthrough. It felt so rewarding to have my horse's complete attention and focus. All of this while a tree chipper is going to town right next door.

After our ride we did some awesome liberty work, then went for a graze... a bit of ground work in the new arena, finishing up with carrot gingersnap stretches. What a good boy!!!

So the take away is that due to inherent laziness (bless his heart), Val generally tests my resolve at the start of each session. As he would be perfectly happy to stand still or amble aimlessly - possibly why his racing career didn't last long ;) - it's up to me to get his attention, and impress him with my intention. What I don't need to do is get frustrated or intimidated, just patiently convey that I have all the time in the world.

Today we put it all together. Which makes me really happy. Next week Val and I are heading off for a five day clinic with my trainer. I'm riding Val in the mornings and doing longe lessons on school horses in the afternoons. I'm thinking we'll be ready to move forward :)


  1. Great session! Don't you love it when that happens?
    Thanks for the comments you left me on feeding. I've never had an issue with this (the opposite maybe), so it's helpful to hear from people who have.
    Keep us posted on your great progress.

  2. Great stuff - I've never had a basically lazy horse but you seem to have him figured out - mine have always been more the "now we have liftoff" types! But I'm hoping Pie is a little bit different . . .

  3. Great ride again! I know how you feel with Val, my horse Erik was the laziest horse in the world until he found out I was serious. He'd do the same thing as Val, just wander, no focus and then he'd normally look for something to spook at when he didn't feel like working anymore. Maybe it's a gray thing? I know you must be excited to head off for some training work, bet you'll have lots of fun.

  4. Kate-

    I finally figured out that I had been reinforcing his lazy ways :) So happy for you and Pie!

  5. Arlene-

    Glad to hear you had that experience too. When I address my timid riding habits he moves right along.

    Hopefully I'll be able to post from my clinic :)

  6. Hehehehe! Val must be distantly related to my Gabe...I'm having the same lazy issue with him...and he failed on the track for exactly the same reason. I guess he saw no reason to expend the energy. Silly boys!

    I love it when things click like that, it certainly lets you know you're doing the right thing and figuring your beastie out. Congrats!

    And how exciting for a five day clinic! I'd give up my morning coffee (and that's saying A LOT!) for the chance at daily lunge lessons.

  7. Jenn-

    We should compare pedigrees lol!

    I was reading back through your blog, and the post Look to yourself first really resonated. My hips are my worst issue (physically).. I hadn't really connected tight hips with Val's lack of forwardness. Makes total sense - thanks :)


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