Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick update (Dolly & Diamond)

Several nights ago I got on Dolly bareback without a halter or anything. Diamond was finishing her feed. I wanted to see if Dolly would listen to me with only leg cues. The answer is...sort of. She figured out go forward and backward, and sometimes she did all right with the turning, but sometimes she took pressure from one leg as a cue to go faster. (I learned that I need to work on leg cues with her.) And she was SO excited, she wouldn't stop. I tried everything I could think of to ask for a whoa. I said Whoa as deeply and calmly as possible (usually she is very lazy and stops instantly). I tried deepening my seat. I tried breathing slowly. I closed my eyes and visualized her stopping. I relaxed every muscle I could. Etc. NOTHING was getting through to her for a stop.

So I've tried two more nights while Diamond finishes her feed (she's a slow eater). This time, I used a halter. Dolly doesn't normally like to be ridden, but she's been fairly excited about it this week (probably because it's something new and she's been bored). Last night, I didn't get out there until around 11 p.m. so it was a pretty late ride. But she did really well. Diamond finished her feed and tried like crazy to come into the pen with us. It's only separated off by a lounge line wrapped around two posts. Diamond leaned and leaned and leaned against it. So I kept navigating Dolly back over toward Diamond to shoo Diamond away from the line. Later, I realized that throughout my being distracted by Diamond, Dolly did *everything* asked of her on the first try. She listened beautifully. I shared an apple with them before leaving.

(These pictures are from a few days ago. It's hard to photograph Diamond when she thinks I'm holding apples.) I almost forgot to mention that I've also done a little more groundwork with Diamond. She's a very different girl. It's hard to describe. I enjoy the differences between them, though. I've grown very attached to them both, even though I haven't had Diamond that long. They've both wormed their way into my heart and are "my babies". :) (Shared status with my dog, of course.)


  1. Sounds like she's doing pretty well. I'd keep that halter on though! Do you think she is excited to be ridden while Diamond watches? Makes her feel superior?



  2. Great that you're getting to spend time with them! I think sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to arrive at the barn late, or early, to spend a mere 15 minutes here and there where we've got it. Sounds like you're allowing yourself to take the bits of time when you have them which is great.

    Sage and I are working up to riding without a halter but for now we practice one rein riding. Stopping is the one rein stop if he won't just listen to a seat deepening/exhale. That way he learns it's more work when he doesn't listen.

    Using just one rein really gives you 'the truth' about what your horse knows, and sometimes you have to flip the rope/rein over to the other side to be able to turn them the direction you want. If I have to deal with a situation where I don't have time to flip the rein over Sage's head, I just circle him all the way around from the other direction.

    We're also working on using the carrotstick in place of the rein. This is how we will build up to halter-less riding; I 'scoop the air' by his head with the carrotstick to turn him, and this is something he knows well from groundwork. He's actually much better about that than listening to the one rein...

    I would think Dolly enjoys the attention. You may find with Diamond there Dolly is happy anytime you are 'her human'. :D


  3. My horses are very jealous of each other, and sometimes that works to a good training have discovered for yourself! I bet it won't take long until you are riding all around the paddock on Dolly without the saddle and bridle.

  4. Lots of groundwork is really good to prepare for rides.Our horses are so much better the more groundwork they get.They enjoy the attention,sure sometimes they don't like to do things but i think it good to engage their minds.The young ones here sure get bored:).And yes they can sure be jealous and some like to show off what they can do,very much,in front of the others watching.Very cute pictures of your 2 horses:).


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