Monday, June 10, 2013

Dusting off the Green

My Appaloosa mare, Diamond, has been ridden on the trail a couple times but of course is still very green. As the training continues my goal is to develop a solid horse that will be a good reliable mount. Sounds easy but it takes a lot of work and knowledge. I have brought this mare along fairly well but I don't always feel adequate on the knowledge end of things, so I sought a bit of help. I had met a fellow that lived in my neighborhood, which around here is within 5 miles. I really liked the way he handled the horse he was riding. And the horses his kids were riding were very well behaved, and the kids were good riders. After some conversation he agreed to help me with Diamond.

Diamond learnt many things, one of which was to yield her hindquarters better, crossing her inside hind leg over the outside, allowing her to pivot around on her front. This improved her flexion but also served in later developing a great one rein stop and softness. The exercises build more respect and horses learn to trust their rider and listen to what is asked of them. 

Diamond also learnt the basics for learning to do a future sidepass as her front end was then moved in a circle around her hinds, and now she had to cross her front leg over to move around. Took a bit for her to understand that she couldn't cheat and just move her feet around, she had to cross that front leg over in front of the other. 

Two of the kids were busy mimicking "Dad" as they worked their pony and put him through his paces. Another son sat on a horse outside the pen and watched and occasionally the oldest boy helped get Diamond moving when she'd get stuck. So amid all this learning was a great number of distractions, which she managed to work through and still watch her handler.

Ted worked with her on lateral flexion both before and after saddling, this will enable us to develop power steering as time goes on. 

Then she got some great desensitizing in motion exercises. Some I had done but even those I had not done enough. So this step took a bit longer.

After that she got another lesson in yielding to pressure. I had tied her head around to the cinch ring for this but I do believe this was more effective in teaching her to give her head and flex. 

 Diamond also learned that people sometimes do crazy things. And I was once again reminded that this was exactly what I had Hollie do so the granddaughters could get on her. But I hadn't thought of doing it with a green horse. Great lesson and Ted loves to raise these horse's emotions and expose them to everything.

After all of what Diamond thought was silliness it was then time to be ridden. She bends when barely asked and is very soft and easy now. After some circling, trotting, cantering, and one rein stops, it is time to go out in the big open arena that is a big plowed field.

The lesson here was to learn cruise control, trot and not break gait, canter and not break gait. All the while as she is cantering along Ted is rubbing her all over, waving his hat, waving his arms, moving his legs around. More desensitization. All that in one day. She was a hot and tired girl but oh so much smarter. 

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