Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*Joe's Journey continues.....

Yesterday I took Joe to the indoor arena and lunged and rode him, I had not worked him since last Thursday, so he was a bit "up", but not too bad. 

So, today I thought I would repeat the process and headed over to the indoor.  Joe seemed a bit distracted, but I wasn't too worried about it.  With a horse that I have in training, I never force myself to ride them if they seem "off" - I just listen to my own instincts and go with them....  So I lunged him and he was actually pretty good, but he still seemed a bit "off" and then I realized that there was snow on the roof and it was starting to slide off.  Even horses who are used to this noise will usually be bothered by it, but with Joe just looking for a reason to bolt around, this was his excuse for him to say to me "See? Things happen that are scary when you are working with me and I am SCARED!".  At this point I decided that riding him was not in my best interest at that moment :) and instead I decided to "up" his anxiety level by quite a bit and then show him that I was a good "boss mare", that I could take care of him even when things were scary.  So back on the lunge he went and we did a lot of transitions along with quite a lot of cantering and extended trotting!  He worked very hard, but I insisted that he listen to his training and go from a canter to a walk, back to trot, then canter, then walk (you get the picture).  After about half an hour of this he was really listening very well - still a bit goosey, but no longer paying attention to the snow on the roof, which was my goal.

At that point I had to return home as the farrier was coming to reset Joe's shoes and so we headed home and had his feet done and then I rode him in my ring.  The footing isn't great, but since he has winter shoes on, he was okay with it.  He was STILL a bit "up", but he went very well and settled nicely until some of my young horses decided to bolt around their pastures and at that point Joe even gave me a stride of canter (which we have not done yet under saddle!).  But, for the most part he listened to his training and we did some more transitions, one rein stops and leg yielding and he settled pretty good.  I got off him a couple of times and did some moving him around exercises, lowering his head and a few things like that and he listened to that exceptionally well, got back on, rode some more and then called it a day - those youngsters were really roaring around lol.

So Joe's journey continues - this is what makes a horse a solid riding partner, working through some of these issues.  With Joe - he could easily become a horse that prances and dances around, tossing his head and acting out a lot - it is my goal with him to teach him what to do when he feels like this - and that would be to "listen to and revert his training when things get scary"  - well, this is my goal for all my horses and it is so gratifying when it all comes together!
Shelly in Summerland


  1. Good job, Shelly! Reading about everyone's training will help when Tygs comes home! Joe is coming along nicely.

  2. I always like your posts, Shelly! We have a metal roof here, too.

  3. Thanks ladies - I try to see the positive, but I will say that I found yesterday with Joe a challenge! I will be back at it today though - just keep chipping away - working with a horse on a regular basis is what gets them trained how we want them.

    Susan, it isn't actually a metal roof - we have a metal roof on our barn and he has seen and heard that before. The indoor arena is a Coverall and it makes a tarp kind of whooshing noise - the horses cannot see what is making the noise, of course, which really adds to their anxiety level! Still, when they are working, they should pay attention and that was my goal with Joe yesterday - I wanted "me" to be much more important and interesting then the noise!

  4. :) Yes I agree. You are doing great Shelly!

  5. I am really enjoying this journey with you Shelly and you explain everything so well as you are going through it and dealing with it. We can learn alot! Thank you!! I ended up ordering that book you mentioned, I can't wait to read it! =]

  6. Way to go Shelly!! Nice to hear the stories of someone else with a youngster too!


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