Friday, October 21, 2011

The Great Pony Swap parts 2 and 3 ...

Training bank

N train

Real live drop
brand new firewood stack


The other new jump

So, I've had almost a week to process our awesome outing from last Saturday.  Gave Muffin Mon off, and Tues went by with me needing to do some work at the house, so he got then off as well.  Little sis rode him on Wednesday:  Nicole's blog

I hopped on yesterday to walk hills (which it's been awhile since we did that).  Today I had an obligation at my church, so no ride today.  I plan to actually head over tomorrow and do a nice little hack before the IEA show on Sunday.  Going to try little sis' bit which is a full cheek snaffle with a copper ball pacifier.The bit in question  She thought she liked it.  I think I liked it too, but didn't get above a walk:)

Another lightbulb moment was had:  Going downhill (especially the steep one), he tends to flip his head and pull the reins through my fingers ... EXACTLY like he does when we halt.  Since hills are supposed to be low stress, I usually let him do it (bad me).  Yesterday, when he tried to pull the reins through, I 'floated' my hands, squeezed my ring finger, and he flexed perfectly at the poll and didn't pull.  YAY!

Project pony swap days 2 and 3 are not too exciting.  Day 2 began with a bit of a 'come to Jesus' meeting about mounting.  I spent probably 10 minutes of my ride working on getting on.  I witnessed a girl getting bucked off when mounting (suffered a broken hand), so to me it's a safety thing that a horse should stand STILL when you get on.  The ride consisted of using his xc setup; a loose ring Duo bit with a figure 8 noseband.  Sparky in general doesn't need the figure 8, but the duo isn't QUITE enough 'whoa' on the xc course, so by increasing the pressure on the nose and around the bit was perfect for him.

I just worked on straight with him.  He is little (14.2 3/4), but wants to fall in hard core.  I worked on keeping that inside shoulder in, so did lots of circles, and shoulder in.  He was better in the duo vs. the above mentioned bit Tiki is borrowing.  In the steel pacifier, he just got too behind it.  The duo allows him to stretch into it, and in fact, he even was more willing to get above it, which is preferable to getting behind it.   I thought he worked VERY well.  Yesterday, he was PISSY.  I was quite honestly shocked.  Sparky is so easy going and happy.  However ... he DID just get a full body clip ... AND it was about 45 degrees ... when it had been 78 the day before ... AND the wind was whipping like crazy.  Poor boy.  He did NOT have any interest in working for me, but we pushed through.  During the cold months, Nicole doesn't get to ride him outside quite as often because she comes to the barn after work when it's dark, so I thought riding him in his pasture would be good for him.  Walked hills like I did with Tiki.

He was just pissed.  He could see out of the corner of his eye his buddies, and he kept trying to pop his right shoulder and drag me to his friends.  NOT happening.  When I put my leg on and took contact, he got behind the bit.  Got him in front of my leg, and he tried to get "hoppy".  He strained SO hard against my leg and hand, I had to circle right repeatedly to keep from 'arm wrestling' him.  I felt like he was inches away from bucking my butt off, so I kept my heels down, and my sweet talking voice going.  Each time we made it to the top of the hill, I patted him and told him what a good boy he was.  Even the downhill he tried to drag me to his buddies, and he kept snorting and borderline spooking.  I just stayed patient, kept my leg on, and worked to keep him focused.  By the 6th time up the hill, he was *almost* relaxed; he definitely wasn't fighting me any more, yay.  Interesting ride, for sure.

IEA show on Sunday, going to use ear plugs and longe him first.  Hope it all goes well!  I will be back on Monday with a new tip of the week:)

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