**K is still not feeling well and has been staying with her mom. I am taking care of Billy and Bariz, cleaning their pens, feeding them hay and supplements, taking their temperature and making sure they are well sprayed with fly spray, since VS is transmitted through fly bites.
Susan talked about how important it is to go over the basics every once in awhile. That way we can constantly check for holes in our foundation and brace in our horse.
We went over teaching our horse to bridle themselves. First you can teach “Hunt The Hole” by offering your horse the nose-hole of the halter with a cookie on the other side. This gets them interested in haltering themselves. You can offer them a cookie on the other side of the rein loop as well. Hence the name “Hunt The Hole.”
When starting to offer the bit as a “Hunt The Bit” you can put molasses on the bit so when they do pick it up it tastes good. Also when starting you may have to help the horse put the bit in it’s mouth if they haven’t ever had one before. Horses that know what a bit is will understand that it goes in their mouth so if you make it desirable they will begin to offer picking it up.
If you offer the bit in the correct shape it will be easier for the horse to grab with it’s lips as it picks it up.
Be sure to unbuckle the chin strap when offering the horse the bit. It makes it easier for the horse to pick it up.
When playing on line we are:
- Teaching the horse something
- Teaching ourselves something
- Helping the horse connect
When your horse is feeling unconfident with something, help them by asking them to do something they are confident about.
We talked about Diagonals… The leg you are posting on, rise and fall with the leg on the wall.
On a circle when you are on the correct diagonal you will be taking your weight off the horse’s inside hind leg and their back which helps them balance correctly.
- walk=4 beats
- trot= 2 beats (diagonal pairs)
- canter= 3 beats
- gallop= 4 beats
- back up=2 beats (when your horse is thinking and committed to the back up it is 2 beats)
It was time to saddle up after Theory. When I asked Kerri about taking Bariz over to the playground area she said I could go ahead and take him myself. I felt like I had passed some kind of test the day before. She trusted me to lead both Bariz and Billy to the playground! Yay!
I had to saddle Billy, prepare him for our riding, halter and organize Bariz, lead them both over to the playground and then settle Bariz in his pen there. Then it was onto warming up Billy online!
It didn’t take long to warm up Billy today. He was calm and connected and responsive.
We played around with zone 3 driving in our warm up to prepare us for Carrot Stick riding. Billy is a PRO at this as we have been doing it for the last 3 years.
I learned the proper technique for Carrot Stick riding…
- Hold the stick straight up, do NOT rest it on your shoulder = Neutral
- Put the stick out straight @ a 90* angle = Phase 1
- Slowly move the stick toward the horse’s nose making small, quiet circles with the end of the stick = Phase 2-3
- Touch the side of the horse’s nose = Phase 4
We broke into two groups for our morning riding session. One group rode on the rail in Pat’s big 180 round pen and one group waited in the middle, then we would switch. Both groups got to work on emotional fitness. The group on the rail got to walk and trot while thinking about the horses waiting in the middle and the horses in the middle got to learn patience while the other moved around the pen.
Billy did a wonderful job waiting in the middle and when it was our turn to ride the rail his walk/trot transitions were light and smooth. I was so happy with him!
When we had our lunch break we were supposed to drive our horses back to the pens in zone 3 using our Carrot Stick. I did this WHILE leading Bariz. Both horses were very cooperative! Success!
After lunch K was feeling well enough to come watch our afternoon session. She held Bariz online while we rode.
We started with a little bit of warm up, walk/trot, jump a log and canter to check responsiveness, connection and calmness. This was our fastest warm up yet!
We played with more walk/trot transitions then moved onto maintain gait at a trot. We were broke up into two groups again and worked on patience in the middle and trotting on the rail.
One of our riders had an extreme RBE horse that needed a little time in the middle learning how to manage her emotions when the other horses were moving. Susan set it up so that she could trot spirals to help her horse slow down. This was wonderful for Billy to watch. He was in between the horse in the middle trotting and walking spirals and the horses on the rail walking and trotting. He did wonderfully!
We had to trot for an entire song, nearly 5 minutes. Billy only broke gait 3 times. I was so excited as maintain gait at the trot under saddle has been very difficult for me to communicate. Billy was a total rock star!
Susan set up a big figure of eight by having us stand in two long lines in the middle of the 180. We rode in pairs up through the lines of horses and then broke apart and rode the outside circles of the figure of eight, practicing our diagonals and change of direction while changing our diagonals. Billy thrilled me by completely being a partner and maintaining gait and direction.
I haven’t posted so much since I was 22 years old…
After working on our diagonals we started to work on using our focus to help our horse move in a straight line across the 180. There were 16 horses and riders walking and trotting in straight lines across the 180 all without bumping into one another!
At one point during this exercise Billy had a big time spook, running backwards AND spinning to get away from the edge of the round pen. I totally kept my cool and my balance and he recovered immediately to continue on with our exercise.
I found out that Billy could stay straighter and more focused if we trotted our line instead of walking. How interesting!
When our afternoon session was done I took Billy back to his pen, unsaddled him and then took him into one of the smaller round pens so we could hang out and he could roll.
Then we spent a little time grazing under the trees. The shade felt so nice after the hot day in the sun.
What a fantastic day. I was thrilled with Billy’s complete AWESOMENESS!
Billy’s 12th and 13th rides.