I woke up to Billy escaped from his pen. What a little stinker! I’m sure he scooted out under his gate. He ignored me completely. In fact he put quite a bit of effort into NOT looking at me. So I sent him up the hill a bit past a couple of pens with horses that would not be interested in him. Lucky me, he turned and went into a pen beside a mare that I know would not like him nor would he be able to befriend her. I’m so tricky! I locked him in and waited for him to look for me. I waited for about 10-15 minutes then decided to clean his pen and Bariz’s. I fed Bariz, filled Billy’s hay net and got both of their supplements ready. I fed Bariz his and still Billy wouldn’t look at me. So I went and got dressed then went to the lodge to have my breakfast and some coffee. When I came back about 45 minutes later, Billy was waiting for me, no more grass in his “new” pen and no new friends. Suddenly he was very interested in me! He was super happy to see me and stuck his nose right in the halter and led me happily back to his pen where his supplements and hay were waiting.
You can start with one kind of phase one, but the goal is to make that lighter and lighter until it’s nearly invisible/just a thought.
We went over the patterns we had already used:
- Follow the Rail/Trail
- Figure of Eight
Then we went over some new patterns that we were going to use today!
- Question Box
- Clover Leaf
- Corners Game
The Question Box helps horses understand a pattern. They start asking questions as you enter the box. This pattern causes the horse to be ready all the time, actively participating in the conversation.
The Question Box is a perfect pattern for LBI’s. The Box can be a resting place.
**Always go straight up the middle of the box, never turn right or left and cut the box into quarters.
A full Clover Leaf Pattern is doing the entire pattern (all the different colored arrows) 4 times. Once you have done 4 complete patterns you will offer the horse the chance to HALT in the middle on X. This pattern is wonderful for long horses (LBI’s and RBI’s that need to go forward longer) because they learn to do the pattern so they can rest in the middle. It’s also great for short horses (LBE’s and RBE’s because they like to move their feet) because you have the corners to help them keep their minds on the pattern, they get to move their feet and learn to settle down so when you offer them the halt they are happy to rest!
The Horse is in charge of the Brakes.
The Human is in charge of the Accelerator.
Corners Game is using the Point-To-Point pattern and the Follow the Rail pattern for the straight lines and then stopping at the corners. At first you will stop at every corner. Then you can add variety, stopping at only 2 corners. Then at only one. Then you can stop at 3. Use consistency to teach the horse and variety to spice it up later.
We did a quick warm up. Because we saddled and did a warm up two times every day, my warm ups got shorter and shorter. Billy definitely became more and more connected and needed less and less in the warm up.
Before I could get my helmet on I noticed someone riding up the road… it was Linda Parelli riding Hot Jazz with her protege’s following and Highland tootling along at liberty. She came up to visit with our class a bit on our last day! She even posed for a picture with us. That was one of the highlights of my time at the ranch for sure.
When I finally got on Billy he was acting a little strange, popping his head up and feeling a bit reluctant to move. I asked him for some lateral bends, hind quarter disengagements and direct rein using my Carrot Stick and he quickly settled down.
We rode into the 180 so we could play around with the Clover Leaf Pattern. Billy was so difficult to keep trotting that I felt lost in the pattern most of the time. I finally stopped him and readjusted his saddle, then climbed back on and we tried again. I figured out he would maintain the trot if I DIDN’T post the trot. As long as I just sat he would keep trotting. How interesting!
We ended up taking it pretty easy as I slowly figured out he was sore. It had been a long week for him, being ridden for 5-6 hours every day and having an acupuncture treatment the afternoon before.
When we left the 180 Billy and I just took it easy on the Question Box pattern. I used the box as a place for him to rest. He was more than happy to boogie on around that circle as soon as he figured out the rest part.
Towards the end of class Susan had us all go back into the 180 together and play around with sideways while on their back. Billy ROCKED that. He is a super star at sideways.
For the end of our time together Susan showed us how to open a gate from horseback. Billy was so tired by this time he fell fast asleep, standing up this time, and at one point gave a mighty JERK that startled himself, me and the horse next to us! Just goes to show that he is still a big ole baby!
Billy’s 18th ride.
We ended our day with a fun session in the lodge making our knowledge board. Susan shared a great piece of advice with us…
You may not have the Perfect ride,
but you can have an Excellent ride.