Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In the Arena # 79 - Oh, it was hot all right...

Well, not how you would think...

Temps did get up into the 90's right after our last ride, so we skipped out for a few days, sticking to hand grazing and ground work. Then the temps came down nicely (!) However with the cool breezes from the north came acrid smoke from a forest fire burning peat in the ground on the mainland. Trust me that it stinks! More groundwork... extended grooming sessions... mane pulling... tail banging... tack room cleaning...

Finally today we rode. After a whole week off, I guess I expected to be a little rusty. And I kept to a walk, as our footing is dreadfully deep. It is hard for me to push the wheelbarrow through it at the moment.

While warming up I asked for a turn on the forehand, and we somehow ended up backing into the electric fence. Poor Val. Often I think to turn the fence off before we ride because it's really strong and I fear touching it with my legs when we work on the rail. *warning - Darwin award material coming* Once I touched it with my shoulder while reaching in to pull the drain plug out of a tub full of water... reaching through the fence strands instead of going around - into water! Lazy + stupid. When my shoulder hit the wire it felt like a cigarette burn, or maybe a hot iron...

Anyhow - after the shock came "the great leap forward"! Thankfully I stayed on, and again a few minutes later when we got too close to the same spot. Interestingly, our ride really improved after the shock. Val listened better, and had more energy. Our school figures were very accurate, we got a bigger walk, decent contact - chewing and reaching on the loose rein, and a number of halts from seat, core and exhale / no rein.

What started out as a disorganized and frustrating ride, evolved into a success. The takeaway:

Give Val the benefit of the doubt - keep the aids light
Following hands
Consistent inside leg to outside rein makes consistently round circles
Engage the core and breathe

And apparently my seat is a little better than I think it is. Val popped up and bolted forward today. Only for a few strides, thank goodness, but I was right with him. He didn't react as violently as he could have, and I didn't freak out either. Good for the confidence - that :)


  1. I never considered backing into a hotwire to wake one up. lol
    Sounds like you had a good ride. We are battling heat here already too, but on the plus side, they tend to keep their feet on the ground.

  2. Maybe you just need to ride with a taser...hehehe

  3. When you wrote "the takeaway:" I thought for sure you were going to say something like "zap Val to get him forward" or "remember to turn of the fence." LOL. Good for you sticking the jump/bolt!

  4. .I was about to go to bed, now I'm cracking up awake!
    You're too funny..Val getting so much better after that-zolt-!
    sorry it took that, but glad you had such awesome results, you both have it in you!

  5. Poor Val. Glad you had a good ride after a week off - but ouch!

    I rode Pie around the outside fence yesterday morning and I had forgotten to turn the electric off out there. I rode him horribly - hitting his mouth with the "bit" (I am bitless but that is how I was riding, stupidly pulling him this way and that). I vowed to always remember to turn that off. His big butt is like a magnet with the fence.

  6. Oooh a zap to get things started...never thought of that. Sounds like you had a great ride and stuck with Val even though you hadn't ridden for a while. Good for you.

  7. Amen to feeling confident after riding through some "interesting" antics.

    I think you need to give yourself more credit, you seem to be a better rider than you think you are.

    My caption: derwin. Close, but no cigar.

  8. Ouch and ouch! I'm glad I don't have hot wire at my place because I would for sure have a similar story. I fail to think of these things and am always climbing between rails, etc. Glad you both are ok and not too frazzled! Who'd have thought of hot wire to improve performance! Geez!

  9. I was going to comment, but then I saw the taser comment and laughed so hard I forgot what I was going to say.

  10. Whoops - just lost my comment... glad you were able to stay put in the saddle and poor Val! Good that things went positively after that big zap...!

  11. OMG electric fences scare the bejesus out of me! I've never been "stung" by one but I'm constantly paranoid about it. Good for you for giving yourself credit and sticking with Val. If a horse ever had an excuse to bolt, I think he had it:) And yes, it's waaaay more confidence building to stick with a horse easily through a spook/bolt than to have them never happen--I find otherwise I'm always waiting for the shoe to drop! Great job:)

  12. Yikes! This weather is the pits, but a hot wire is even worse! Sounds like Val recovered without a problem. Velcro pants?!

  13. Wow I'm glad the electric fence where I used to work wasn't that hot because I constantly zapped my thighs stepping through it lol. Okay not constantly but a few times for sure. The worse time was when I accidentally swung the chain into it. Ouch!! My arm was numb a while.

    I'm glad you stayed on and the ride went so fantastic. Next time maybe go for a gallop (I know you can't because of the mud just teasing) to wake him up instead of backing into the electric wire lol!!

  14. One of my biggest fears is forgetting to unplug the electric fence before I ride. I have an electricity phobia! Good for you for staying on so nicely.
    I thought for sure the take away was going to be to ride with a cattle prod :) just kidding! Sounds like your riding is going really well.
    Thanks for the nice comment you left me. Wish we could 'beam' for a visit and ride :) I think we are working on so many of the same things.

  15. The shock of an electric fence is not just shocking, I think it also makes you feel very creepy. Like some creepy thing just snuck into your veins! I cannot tell you the number of times I have almost backed or side passed into an electric fence. I forget about them sometimes, but the horses ALWAYS know where they are. Good for you for staying on during the Great Leap Forward! That mjst have been a confusing and scary moment!

  16. Heheh! That's what Gabe needs to wake his butt up!

    My Darwin story: I was climbing through the electric rope fence (there's JUST enough room between strands to wiggle through without touching if your balance is good). My balance on this particular day was not so good, the ground was muddy, I was straddling the fence, lost my balance reached out instinctively to grab onto something, grabbed the steel fence post and zapped myself considerably (remember, i'm STRADDLING the fence!), screamed and to fall into the mud. I was shocked, filthy and angry. Not a good morning.

  17. I'm surprised that you were able to continue your ride. I think if Eagle got shocked he'd be done for the day... And possibly for a couple of weeks. He'd likely take personal offense to the whole matter. You should see how reacted when my mom loosely flung her arms in his general direction to keep him out of her space. He was completely disgusted and appalled. With his reaction, you'd think that she had just tried to blow her nose on his mane or something (when, incidentally, he was probably trying to do to her when this all happened).

    I shocked myself on a chicken coop once. I saw that the fence was electrified, but it looked like it was disconnected and I barely touched the fence... When it happened I had no idea what was happening and I became very disoriented and thought that the chickens had somehow rushed the fence and were biting me. I do not do well with shock therapy.


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