Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Goal Check!

I had nearly forgotten they were over there on the blog. I looked them over, and thought to myself, "Wow. Farther along than I thought I'd be. Great!" Let's review, shall we?

Insist on nothing less that the utmost respect from Romeo. Use as little force as possible, but as much as necessary.
This is going very well. He's done some work in the arena, some down the road, and has actually been pretty mindful. Moreover, his behavior in the stall has improved during feed time. I can walk in his stall, push his butt or front over, and he's starting to realize that facing me is the best way to be. Leading, he's occasionally still testing "how far can I go", to see if he can race off ahead of me.. A swinging lead rope has been fixing it so far.

Teach Harley how to walk and trot with light collection.
Nearly there. More work to be done to be consistent here...

Teach Harley how to canter on the correct lead.
Very seldom does he blow his leads now. Again, nearly there. He's cantering off on light contact, and on a loose rein, and stays completely steady no matter what. I watched a few Training Level rides on Saturday, and had to chuckle at the horses careening around their 20M circle, hooves nearly tangled up on themselves. We're not great, but we're a little better than a few I saw.

Visit one or two show grounds during an event, and school in the warmup. - Harley
We've done more than visit two. We've competed in two! I thought we'd attend some shows, and just hang out. Instead, we've competed at both. One a somewhat wild open show. The other? A full out dressage schooling show, complete with that ridiculous thunderstorm.

One good solid trail ride away from home. - Romeo
We've left the house, and gone down the road to distances I didn't think we'd make this year. Still, I'd like to get him in the trailer, destination somewhere, and trail ride. More work to be done. I wonder... will it count if I have someone drop me off waay down the road, and I rode back to the house.. hmmm... thoughts?

Ride Harley to the mailbox and back home again.
We're nowhere near this one. I've trail walked him away from the mailboxes, had pretty good success, and.. thinking.. we've walked in hand about 2/3 of the way to the mailbox (the day he spooked at the mini donkey), and I *think* I've ridden him about 1/3 of the way. More to be done ...

Overall, I'd say Not Too Shabby! Riding Harley outside the arena continues to be a nerve-point for me. Monday evening, after a good rubbing curry grooming, and cleaning out his ears, he bridled pretty good (proving he's not fussy about this every day). I hopped on bareback, and walked him around the front yard. I didn't grab my helmet, so I didn't get brave enough to leave the property. Added to the entertainment when the loose end of the lead rope untied itself from his halter (so I only could direct "rein" from one side). I turned him in a few circles from leg only, and that went well enough. He spent the rest of the "ride" munching grass in the front yard. *grin* snuggle time, I think.

Romeo and I are doing good. Considering where we were, and that I don't ride him as much as I want to (bass guitar, keyboard, R, Harley, dogs, all competing for his affection), when I do ride, he's been pretty respectful. When he has acted up, the discipline has been strong and sharp on my part. I am not ashamed of a strong one-rein stop, and I won't hesitate to back him up hard when he ignores me. On the ground, I've used the end of the lead rope as a motivator, and I've also used harsh tone of voice. I haven't needed a dressage whip in-hand to make him mind, so that's good. No chains, either (*EW*).

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