Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chilly Weather and Macaroni Hands

Since it was about 10 degrees all week, Lakota and I didn't get out at all until today! Although I have to say a plus of this frigid weather is that the ground is nice and frozen, so we don't have to skip around mud puddles (which Lakota is an expert at, being a princess and all). Our last two rides pointed out our problems with each other, however today I really feel we addressed these problems and Lakota has begun to retrain me! Having only ridden lesson horses and Jen, I have a hard time with clear cues. So as our last two rides proved: SLOPPY CUES + GREEN HORSE = FRUSTRATION. Today I learned a lot about Lakota and how she lets you know whats going on in her head. I have the horrible habit of having "noodle arms" and "spaghetti wrists". When my wrists become floppy and askew Lakota lets me know by shaking her head in protest or rubbing her face on her legs. So I have really got to pay attention to every little thing that she does, and correct myself before we both get stuck. Even though we didn't move around a lot, it was a pretty successful day as far as communication and understanding each other goes! Didnt seem to get any action shots today, but here is one before I dismounted after getting one full nice relaxed loop around the round pen. :)

Lakota & Amanda <3


  1. super, Amanda!!!! You two look great together. It's nice to set small goals and end on a good note.

  2. Okay. Here I'm going to show my green side, what has noodle arms and spaghetti wrists have to do with communicating with the horse? I know it's probably a silly question, but I won't know without asking; right?

  3. And great job, Amanda, for figuring out what was wrong!

  4. Hi Janeen, as Amanda's mom, ad hoc instructor, and inadvertent trainer of Miss Lakota, I can explain because I used the term "floppy wrists" and "spagetti arms" with Amanda today. Lakota is a very green, very sensitive horse. She doesn't know how to fill in the blanks for unclear cues. She honestly doesn't know what you want if you aren't clear, both in your thoughts, your cues, and your body language. She can be very frustrating to ride, until you understand what she is trying to tell you, get out of your own head/ego, and listen rather than blame the horse. Don't ask me how I know this ;-)

    Anyway, Amanda tends to "drop" the reins. She holds them with such a loose hold that they look like they will fall out of her fingers. Her wrists kind of flop down, and when she wants to cue the horse, she does it in a half-hearted way. She kind of twists her wrist backward, rather than using a very clear signal with a hinge at the shoulder and 90 degree bend at the elbow with a straight line from elbow to bit end (well, rein end I should say, we use bitless here). When Amanda opens her rein, she kind of half-heartedly opens it very loosely. Lakota needs to know what is being asked. If you are going to open the rein, then open that rein, dammit, and give her space to move into! She has a very big personal bubble, and needs space to move into or she feels her movement is impeded. This shows up in lunging or free lunging her, also. She will stop dead in her tracks if you get the tiniest bit ahead of her girth line, and just turn and face you.

    amanda also lets her reins get too long probably because they are literally sliding out of her hands, and then when she shortens them she tends to hold them too tight, or forget to lengthenn the outside rein when engaging the inside rein in order to allow Lakota to bend. When this happens, Lakota's neck gets short and thick, she twists her head to the side and sidepasses.

    These are all things that lesson horses, all Mandy has ridden so far, will make up for, or ignore. Lakota, however, does not. She also will walk around the ring backwards if your butt is too tight. Don't ask me know I know that one, too.

    Lakota is really a GREAT teacher when it comes to this stuff.

  5. Thank you Susan and Janeen! And yes, my horses have taught me well that small goals add up to big things in the end!