Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Practice, practice, practice!

Who knew riding to accomplish a task could be so difficult!??? Billy and I have been practicing riding challenges for the last 3 days and still cannot complete them all. Poor Billy is so confused! His version of "riding" is usually at a walk with his nose pointed straight ahead. Now, I am asking him to trot, do circles, back up, walk over things. His brain is just tired! As is mine! But, I love it! And, I think Billy does too because he is not running from me when I go to get him! HA!

We first did the back up. Now, he learned some stuff when he was at the trainer a while back. I think the arched head is a result of some training he learned there. I am not pulling too tight on the reins, just enough to make sure he knows I still want him to go. But, the head arch is pretty extreme. I notice he does it more when I also put my legs on him at the back up. Not sure how it all connects, but it looks kind of cool. I know, he is probably trying to evade the bit. Take a look.

Next, we worked on the trotting figure 8. I have had three days of Motrin because of the pain in my legs from trying to keep him in a trot! No kidding! We have tried taping this 4 times and each time he would fizzle out at about circle two. In this video, he trips on the last circle and I told him "oh, nice try. But keep going!" hahaha! Of course, my dogs, who are oblivious to what is going on, definitely do not help! I am sure Billy was trying to not step on them many times. He is very off balance, because like I said, we usually only walk in a straight line. So, this is hard for him. The more I do it, the more balanced he will become.

And finally, here is an attempt at backing through and L shape!!! This is sooooo HARD!!!! We have practiced and practiced and still cannot get it. Soooooo, I am hoping you all will give me some advice on how to accomplish this.
What I notice:
He pulls through the bit.
He completely ignores my leg cues and usually pushes into the leg I am putting pressure on. (I am very afraid to use spurs!)
Sometimes he goes forward with my one leg cue.
I have no idea how to get him to turn into the L.
I think I need to change my focus. I am always looking in the same direction. Maybe I need to look the other way when I want him to move?

This is an ugly video, but I really want to accomplish this and have no idea on how to teach this.


  1. Laura, your figure 8's and back up were lovely!!! GREAT job!!! Okay....so with the back up through the L. FIRST, before you attempt this, you need to teach him to pivot his hind around.... Meaning, keep his front still and just move his hind over, so you can turn your corner effectively.
    The way you do this is: (Pivoting hind to the left)
    1. Set Billy up square. Tip his nose to the right slightly..have nice soft feel. Drop your seat bone just a bit on the right side.
    2. Drop your leg back just a touch and press to move his hind over to the right.
    3. Open your left leg so there is no pressure on that side.
    4. Hold your reins so that if he tries to move forward, you can block the motion.
    When you feel just a tiny try, release and praise!
    Work on that first....then try the L again. =]

  2. Hi Laura, your post was great - VERY entertaining and amusing! Denise was right, your figure 8's and backups were pretty darn good. I'm glad someone else has a trail horse in this competition so AhD and I won't feel so bad about trotting in circles and our L Back Up. We haven't even tried them yet. I can hear AhD now, "...and what is the point of me trotting round and round in this circle? What IS your problem today, anyways? Are we ever gonna GO anywhere?!" And when I try to pick all four feet from one side he is probably going to lay down, just on general principals. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!! YOU AND BILLY ARE MY COMPETITION, HA HA!

  3. Oh Susan! I am so glad you were entertained! At least one person finds my trials with Billy funny! Yep, Billy is definitely a trail horse. He does not understand the reason behind any of this! And the L shape has become his nemesis! What fun! YOU and AhD are OUR competition! I still thin Billy and AhD would be perfect trail partners!

  4. Thanks Denise! I understand perfectly what you are describing. Can't wait to give it a try! Question .... When I put my right leg on him and he scoots forward (which I know he will do) how do I stop his motion? Do I keep his nose tipped to the right and stop with the left rain only? Or do I stop him with both reins and start over by tipping his nose again? Thank you soooo much for the suggestions!

  5. Use both reins, like a wall. Stop forward movement. Release when he stops. =]he might get frustrated at first wanting to know what you mean but don't meet his emotional level...stay calm. Relaxed, breathe. Try again.....make sure your legs are not giving mixed signals. Sometimes when we get rushing, we get braced all over. =]

  6. Oh and ladies.....remember, everything I am asking you to do IS important for our trail horses. It is all about control and obedience. I learned that the hard way remember?? =] The reason our boys don't like this stuff is because it requires focus and really listening to you. They would rather hit the trail and do what they want to do...or rather, not having to use brain power. =] We need to switch their brains on to asking them to do stuff ALL the time, so they don't have time to worry about the scary thing out in the woods, or that blade of grass or whatever. This all converts to the trail, trust me! =]

    p.s. Laura, Billy's laziness can also be disrespect..Reese used to do that too. When you ask him to move out, he NEEDS to move! =] Grab a crop and tap him if you need to..to reinforce your leg. You should never have to work harder than Billy!! LoL.

  7. Ok. Got it. I can't try this tonight because we have High School Orientation! I am freaking out about having a high schooler! Just doesn't seem like that much time had passed. Thanks Denise fir the tips!


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