Since Wednesday, I have slowed down the pace with the horses. I groom and graze (hay in the driveway because of the snow) and lead them around the barn and yard, practicing nice leading habits. Pie especially likes this routine because he is basically a lazy horse. Riding is really too much of a bother for him, I've noticed. Sovereign enjoys going out for a ride and has seemed to me to be a tiny bit disappointed that I haven't been riding him.
Today, I decided to tack up and ride. I alternate days, and it was Pie's turn. He was annoyed that he might have to burn a few more calories than necessary. In the ring we worked on standing still to mount. He seems to have forgotten completely how to do this while I was away. I usually mount in our wagonshed by the barn. I think that was a safe zone for Pie and now I am asking him to mount in a "new" space. This will take time to get it perfect, but he is doing much better. I forget that little things that I do every time I ride, like mounting location, become habits to a young horse like Pie.
After I was on, whenever I asked Pie to circle in a direction he didn't think we should go, he threw his head up and down and stamped his foot and pulled a mini tantrum. These antics are similar to what he does out on the trail if he has reached a boundary or is frightened of something and doesn't want to go forward. I was able to move him through these in the ring both today, and the last time I rode. I am hoping I get the same success out on the trail. Last Easter, we got "stuck" in a tantrum in a neighborhood and I had a tough time getting him home.
Today, Pie shied violently in the upper field and we circled around and retraced our steps back to the ring. I gave him some time to relax and try again. He was very rattled, but decided to trust me and move forward. I still don't know what he saw (a manure pile?) but I am glad we conquered it. Eventually, I did take Pie out of the pastures as a reward and around the tennis court, around the buildings, and down the driveway. His antsy behaviour tells me that he doesn't like riding in the ring or pastures. Brian says that Pie knows that there isn't Grandma Carrot or Barstool Apples in the ring and I think that is pretty accurate. What does that say about me? I have a perfect trail horse as long as the trail includes snack stations?
The happy news is that the post ride grooming and grazing were calm and relaxed. Pie was not nervous after our ride which is a big improvement.
I wish I had a place to ride outside in the winter. Sounds wonderful. Poor Pie - being expected to go without snack stations :). I love that term! My husband and I hide apples under the apple tree where our Labs find them in the fall (they LOVE apples), so they think they magically appear there all winter. Now i have a new term for it - it's a snack station for dogs.ReplyDelete
Small steps. Well done. DanReplyDelete
I would love having snack stations on the trail, good idea Pie!ReplyDelete
Snacks stations, both equine AND human... might not be a bad idea! :)ReplyDelete
Juliette, Poor Pie - he had a rough time of it. I'm glad he relaxed by the end. Maybe it has to do with getting your routine reestablished since you have returned. Maybe it will just take him a bit longer to get his confidence back. I always try to think of all the things the horse may perceive as changes, when trying to figure out a different behavior. Sometimes we never know what it is. (Maybe they do come to think of apples as their "entitlements..." lol!)ReplyDelete
I vote for snack stations!ReplyDelete
Stop by my blog for a tasty award ;)
Some days they are just more anxious..dont you think? Pie is having those moments. Snack stations to him may mean security and reward. So it's all good in my book :)ReplyDelete
There's a VERY deserved award for u on my blog that I'm working on now..check later tonight! xo
Oh Juliette, I understand what you are saying so well! And yet, maybe without even knowing it, you tell your version of the story with such humor! Poor little Pie upset that he has to burn a calorie or that the snacks aren't waiting for him on the trail. It may be annoying to you, but it makes me smile so much! What characters you have at Honeysuckle Faire!!!! Hey, do you know who I thought of when I read the very first sentence f your post today? Judy, Mr Jeffers and Fair Lady!! Exactly! I read Afraid to Ride while in Vermont this weekend. It was wonderful. One of my favorite lines in the books is how a horse's weakness can also be her strength! Isn't that so true of people too?ReplyDelete
Just stopping in to say "Hi" ; can't wait to catch up on my reading here. :-) Been away due to trouble (horses are O.K.). Life...right? (sometimes)ReplyDelete
Just had to pop back over and say I heartily endorse clicker training. It was the key that allowed my anxious, nervous, flighty, uninterested in humans mare to start becoming the sweetheart she was always meant to be.ReplyDelete
Let me know if you want more info about clicker training books, videos, blogs, or listserves.
smazourek - Thanks for the extra info about clicker training. It is your blog that is really helping me. Yesterday, I ordered Alexandra's book. I probably will take you up on advice from time to time!ReplyDelete
baystatebrumby - I am so glad you liked Afraid to Ride - I thought you would! You would love the Queen Rides book too. It is soooo you! You really understand my chubby Pie Pie boy. You get him and his silly food loves.ReplyDelete
Isn't the tale of Mr. Jeffers and Lady and Judy just the very best?