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Perry's Sixth Week of Training
Tuesday, July 11 (Kelsy) Day 38
Because I’ve been riding Perry in a sidepull I thought we’d change things up and try riding in a bridle again with that dreaded bit. To try and break her now habit of trying to chew through the bit, every time I ride with one I put a cavison with a flash on too. Flashes aren’t my favorite training tools but they do have a place in the world. Perry is so busy chewing the bit that she doesn’t always hear what I’m telling her with my reins. After digging out the cavison and getting it on properly, I thought we would start in the arena in case she became upset while adjusting to the flash holding her mouth closed--and she was. When I asked for bend, instead of being able to open her mouth and avoid the bit, she had to keep her mouth closed and truly bend. At first she would shake her head and brace her neck and jaw against my hand. Each time she would do this I gave gentle bumps with my hand until she softened. It was the same with backing up. I would ask her to back and when she would brace and/or start shaking her head I waited until she backed like a lady (or sometimes when she just thought about it). Each time she was asked to do something she became less defensive about her mouth and more willing to listen to what I asked. We spent about 20 minutes walking and trotting in the arena.
After working in the arena we walked out to the track with me holding the reins on the buckle. She was expected to walk no matter what, and for the most part she was fine. I only had to give her a few reminders. We cantered a lap around the track and at one point I gave her the entire rein to see what she’d do (how fast she’d go). We got up to a nice little gallop, but speed really isn’t her thing (meaning she’s not that fast, but don’t tell her that because she thought she was flying). Perry came right back down to a nice easy canter in a few strides, and when we reached the end I once again expected her to walk on a loose rein.
Wednesday, July 12 (Kelsy) Day 39
This week Ches and I have a friend, Jessie, who is staying with us and riding horses. So we put Jessie on Stuey and I hopped on Perry to give the farm tour. I rode Perry bareback with her bridle and flash. We started by playing on our hill. The field the hill is in had seven horses in it who all thought it would be great fun to come with us up and down the hill, run laps in the field, and then come up the hill at mock eight past us. Perry wanted to join in the fun and games and spent time bouncing around whenever the other horses would come by. Because we are teenage girls on horses and were also running up and down the hill, I didn’t bother to correct her at all, just let her do her thing and pretend that she wasn’t bouncing around. After we had sufficiently explored the hill it was off to the other side of the creek to show Jessie the trails over there. In typical style we raced across the hayfield and then proceeded to trot and canter all the trails, even jumping some of the smaller fences. Perry was very good and would lead the way or go in the back (just as long as you didn’t leave her behind). Today was kidmanship at it's best: run like heck and deal with everything else later.
Thursday, July 13 (Kelsy) Day 40
Thursday we had a beach trip with our horses that didn’t get us home until 8 pm. It was starting to get dark out, but we thought between the three of us (Ches, Jessie, and myself) we could put some rides in on the training horses. I hopped on one of Ches' training horses, Jessie grabbed Perry, and the three of us made a B-line for the track. Jessie rode Perry bareback even though she’d never ridden her before. Seeing as there were three of us and we all happened to be riding young green horses we thought it would be a good time to play leapfrog. Leapfrog is where everyone gets in a line and the horse from the back passes the others and goes to the front. Once the horse from the back moves to the front, the horse that is now in the back goes to the front, and the process continues.Because leapfrog gets old fast, when all the horses were being good we all went in search of the elk. The fact that we live in the middle of nowhere means it only took us 30 seconds to find some elk out in the backfield. We even happened to stumble upon a mom and her baby. After the elk left we continued around the field trotting and cantering. Perry was into the horse race that wasn’t there, and Jessie had to keep stopping her. I personally have no idea what Perry was thinking because the other horses were much bigger and faster than her. But both Perry and Jessie seemed to have a fun ride..
Friday, July 14 (Kelsy) Day 41
I rode Perry in the arena in a saddle and the sidepull (she was happy to get rid of that nasty bit). We train many of the young horses to stop moving if their rider starts falling off or bouncing on them. Some horses, even older trained horses, do not like it when the rider starts bouncing around on them because it worries them. Most of the time when someone is banging on their backs it is because the horse is going too fast for the rider and the rider is close to falling off. At this point if the horse freaks out and takes off most people will fall off for sure, but if the horse stops or slows down the rider can save themselves a fall. The best way to start this in not when you are falling or losing your balance, but in a controlled environment where you can help the horse out. Like I said, some horses don’t handle bouncing riders well so start with soft bouncing and build on it. I know Perry and her comfort level for most things so I didn’t start with light bouncing, but I’m also not trying to break her back so keep that in mind. I would ask Perry to trot and after a lap or so around the arena I would start bouncing and banging my hands. The minute she stopped I stopped. The release of pressure (the bouncing and banging) came when she stopped moving, so being a Haflinger she had that figured out in about five minutes. Perry and I also worked on when I jump off or “fall off” she has to stop. Sometimes I fell off of the left side and other times off of the right side. I even fell forward onto her neck and slid down under her neck. She handled everything with flying colors. If she was late on stopping when my feet hit the ground then I would stop and back her and try again. We not only did this from the trot, but the canter too. Ches and Jessie got a good laugh from watching this ride.
Go to Perry's seventh week of training (new website)