Pie and Sovereign are feeling frisky now that our nights are cooler. All summer I felt like I had to practically carry Pie outside each morning to the pasture. He would stretch and stop and take little baby steps outside. Pie isn't a "morning person" and we get a kick of how he does his yoga pose "downward dog" in the aisle on his way out each day in order to wake up. Now that it is cooler, he walks with a purpose and snorts in the early morning air. I didn't think I would welcome their friskiness, but it is nice to have an enthusiastic horse beside you and under you. Everything is easier.
I rode Pie on Monday morning with a saddle. He went very well, although, because of the cool temperature, much spookier than just a few days ago. We had a tiny little situation to sort out that has been nagging me since my ride with my niece, E. Click here for that post. The very last leg of our ride that evening, went by my uncle's barn and his boat. Pie went by that boat 1000 times before, but it had been moved to a new position and Pie was frightened. E. and Sovey had no trouble, but Pie stopped and snorted. E. went ahead and took a path back down toward our barn, but Pie was really upset. He threw some wicked bucks and wheeled around to head back to our barn a different way. I was sad that he was so upset, but mostly I felt sorry for him because I usually stop everything and take the time to work through a fear with him and I didn't that night. Every ride since then has been with my Mom on Sovey and I didn't want to put her in any danger so I have been waiting to work on this little obstacle with Pie. On our ride on Monday, we were alone so I walked him over to the "boat path". He stopped and snorted. I relaxed my seat and reins and allowed him to fully examine the boat in our view. He backed up and side stepped. I laughed softly and kept smiling. Laughing, smiling and singing are my secret weapons against "spooky monsters". I find that when I laugh or sing I soften my posture and that sends "safe" messages to my horse. I knew Pie was scared, but he is always very willing to try to get over fears so I wasn't too worried. He does have some nasty bucks in him, though, so it is important to work through this now rather than wait until February when the wind is whipping! The most difficult thing to do as a rider in these situations is to give your horse a loose rein, but I believe in doing that. Pie and Sovereign don't have bits in their mouths anyway, but loosening the reins conveys the message that all is well. Pie relaxed his neck and back and started walking toward the boat and around it. Our first time by, he looked at it out of the corner of his eye. Our second time, he walked without hesitation. Our third time, he hardly noticed it. I was very proud of him! He is such a good boy.
You are right about how important it is to help the horse get to a better place before stopping, but sometimes it just isn't possible due to circumstances. Sounds like he deals with things pretty well. I like the idea of laughing and smiling (I might skip the singing - it might scare my horse!) as a way to relax.ReplyDelete
Where do the bucks come from? My OTTTB Major never bucked until I took him to that CT clinic, and he bucked during his dressage test! Then a week later, schooling in the arena, asking him to canter and BOOM! Bucks out of nowhere.ReplyDelete
Kudos about staying relaxed, too. Works every time. I pretend to "ignore" stuff when they freak out. Like, "what? I don't see what you're freaking out about......" I'm sure mine think I am plumb crazy. :)
Kate - The singing thing is a problem for me because I don't sing well! Two winters ago, on my birthday in January, a dear friend and I were out on a ride and our horses saw motorbikes in the distance. I was on Baja, a TB, and I knew that I could get him home safely, but I had to sing and I couldn't sing in front of my friend!!! We had to separate! I told her that she had to go one way and I went the other. I sang my heart out amid his bucks and rears and we ended up safely back at the barn...my friend dismounted but she says that now she picked up the singing trick too! This morning, Sovey was acting up for my Mom and I heard her behind me singing! It really works! I learned this trick when I was in middle school and my mare and I would get into sticky situations. She always liked three particular songs!ReplyDelete
Hosanna - The bucks are hidden up there somewhere - no need to drop the head too far either with these athletic boys! "Ignoring" an object and not naming it in your own mind keeps you from sending muscle messages to the horse. I am sure mine think I am crazy too - why all the singing and laughing up there?!?
I really like your approach of smiling and singing. Remember to breathe, too! I think those techniques do keep anxiety and frustration out of a situation like that. I'm glad Pie was able to go by the boat at last!ReplyDelete
It is funny how the cooler weather sparks the friskies, isn't it? I like how my horse is more mellow in the summer, though! I guess I'm less afraid he might try something silly! :)
I agree! I love your approach to scary obstacles and I'm definitely going to try it next time I need to pull a trick out of my hat. My singing is not much to speak of either, but Tiny is pretty forgiving! =) I also giggled when I read about Pie's morning routine! Tiny has a little quirk as well - she doesn't like to be out too early either. If she's turned out in the early AM, she'll put herself back to bed in her little shed stall in the pasture. It's so funny, she goes out, then she goes missing. Sure enough, if you check the stall - there she is, sound asleep!ReplyDelete
The bucking is so scary! But doesn't it also make you feel so bad for them when they buck out of fear!? It breaks my heart when something it so scary that they feel the need to turn tail and get outta there! I like the idea of smiling. Linda Parelli talks about that too. I like your calm and confident riding manner. Pie is so lucky to have you on his back.ReplyDelete
Colleen (baystatebrumby) - I am lucky to have him under me!!! He and Sovey are wonderful boys!ReplyDelete