Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Memorial Day Clinic


ugh!  where does the time go?  April and May were not full of driving adventures for me this year. Family responsibilities took front seat for the most part, but I did get some driving in never the less.

On Memorial Day I attending a driving clinic. My Gator "Alice" and I packed up Legacy, all her equipment, all our equipment and headed out. We settled in on Thursday with our first lesson to be on Friday.

Friday lesson did not go well. I could tell when I long linned Legacy that she was not happy. She was not her usual self, relaxed and willing..but instead tense and, we worked her a bit and decided that Sat's lesson would be without the carriage and in the farm arena, instead of the wide open spaces. Saturday's lesson brought to light a few problems I had been having.....there have been a few times Legacy did not willingly move forward....for a driving horse, that is a real problem!  so....we went back to the basics and looked for hole in her training and a method to fill those holes. I have to work alone. I have no driving trainer in my area and sometimes I have Legacy is learning to stand quiet while I sack her out. In many clinics you will see the teacher wanting the horse to move. In driving the horse ONLY moves when asked to do so with your this is a "hole" we had in our training.

I have never seen a trainer ask a horse to walk and handle a flag flipping around their back at the same time. This is an exercise we did for a long while until Legacy accepted it.
Next...we worked all the previous exercises while she was wearing her driving you can see, touching her tail brought a strong reaction...but we eventually worked through it.
I also learned how herd dymanics had changed Legacy and my relationship. When her Dam died, she stepped up to lead the herd. However, she passed my leadership role , claiming the top spot for herself.  I have to learn to be VERY precise in my cues, and never let myself be lazy about what I ask her to do. A common problem with the human/horse relationship.  So, the clinic was a huge learning experience for me...I did not learn what I went to learn, but I learned what I needed to learn...and we go on from there.
I also learned how heavy and unschooled my hands are, so I will be doing lots of practice....both on the off the horse! I plan on building a rein board as soon as I can get to it.


  1. This blog was so full of information; thank you for that! First of all, I survived a very difficult period during which Ah-D was determined to have Top Spot, and I have no doubt that you will come out ahead on this just as I did. It is not easy, but on the other hand, it definitely helped me to grow as a horsewoman.
    I used a rein board many years ago (when I retrained my young Standardbred race horse to pleasure drive), and it is amazingly helpful! I doubt your hands are that "heavy and unschooled," but since your desire is to drive Legacy in Driven Dressage (is this correct?), I bet it will help you tremendously with the finesse side of things.
    I can't believe Legacy's reaction to having her tail touched! Holy Smokes! I bet you are glad you discovered that and worked through it!
    The worst (because it is the most dangerous) problem I am trying to overcome in Ah-D's training is his complete lack of a solid stand when I say whoa. He is very fidgety and fights me on it. Linda, if you or anyone else has any hints or suggestions for me to try to get a nice solid halt and quiet STAND, I would appreciate it greatly!!!
    You are doing such a nice, thorough job with Legacy!!!

  2. Thank you Susan! your comment was very encouraging! I can not believe that my "top spot" ranking left when Krinkles passed. Instead of me retaining my ranking, I was challenged for it! I am putting together my rein board today ;-0 just need to find all the parts I bought and moved a couple times in my tack room :(

    I do have a solid "whoa" on Legacy, I was using the word "Stand" but the instructor insists I have only one word for a quiet halt AND standing still until told otherwise. The only thing I can suggest is, if you feed treats try stopping that practice for awhile. If a horse is expecting a treat, he will be wiggly and anxious to get that treat. That is my opinion ......a lot of folks feed treats with great success...I have found my horses to be too piggy about it, and I have a serious scar from a horse that bit me when I was a kid, he was used to taking a treat from all humans, and I approached him without out and he took his pound of flesh (so to speak ..and 100 stitches later!)

    This year seems like retraining, but in fact,it is just filling in the holes for a safer turnout in the long run.
    thanks Susan for your encouragement.

  3. I am not using treats, but I AM using the word "stand" when he starts to fidget, so I had an "aha" moment when you passed on the information about the "whoa" only. Thank you so much! I know it will take a lot of patience and consistency on my part to beat this bad habit that I have allowed Ah-D to develop. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Hehe ! I love learning ! yes, a simple whoa is a good term, I have managed to delete "stand" from my vocabulary. I have started to use the word "feet" when Legacy does not move her body per say...but instead cocks a foot to rest it. I want her on all fours unless I tell her's session was AWESOME !!!!!!!


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