Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer is Here, HtH

HtH --- Hotter than H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.  Yes, summer arrived, with a fire breathing dragon chasing me across the back yard.

I've ridden a little bit, mostly early early AM, or late evenings.  Harley had a light longe followed by a light contact ride, then a day of tough dressage work, and then a day of complete goofing off walking down the road.

I loved the dressage ride.  He was cooperative, and is in fact learning his lessons.  I know for certain he's ready for Intro C, and he just might be ready for Training 1.  Maybe not quite TL1, but close.  We've got time.  The summer "break" is here in the local show club, so we'll have more time to improve.

I really loved the walk day.  I saddled him up, tightened the girth, and hopped on.  Harley stayed at the walk, the entire ride.  We made it half way to the mailbox, including a jaunt in the highpower electric overhead right of way.  When Harley realized it was Mo he saw, and he was looking at the pasture from outside the fence, his ears and body relaxed near immediately.  Anytime his head would raise, his ears-radar would perk in one direction.  I'd ask for a halt, and let him stand, look, and sniff, right up until he'd relax.  After the third time, he looked hard, and when he eased and relaxed, he walked off on his own.  A trail rider will tell me, "That's not the best habit to have, where he goes without a cue", but I thought it was cute.

We then headed away from the mailboxes, back past the house, and passed CRNG's crazy yard.  Harley took a long hard look at all the little buildings, and listened to his loud rooster, then walked off.  He wanted to go farther than I did, but I realized we'd been at it for25 minutes, and decided that it's better to end when he wants more than have a spooky argument and *insist* that he go beyond his comfort zone just to train trust. 

Mo and I had a good argument Friday morning.  We walked past the mailboxes, down the road, first corner, second corner.  By then, he'd spooked at one deer, one horse, two bunnies, and a flapping plastic bag.  :-/ Disappointing for his age, but I also recognize we haven't been off-pasture much this year so far. 

The worst of the battles occurred at a muddy culvert pipe with water running up to it.  As Mo realized what it was, he stopped a way in front of it.  Locked up.  I hopped off, and hand walked him to the running water.  He snorted and spooked, but I forced the issue.  I "longed" him through it both directions, probably a dozen times each way.  Finally, each direction, he settled mostly.  I'll admit, it was muddy, unclear how deep, and he got hock deep a couple times.  Mud splashed everywhere.  I mounted back up, and made him carry me through it once.  I even got mud splashed on me.  So not the best place to train "it's just water and mud you dingaling, trust me!", but it needed doing. 

I suspect I'll get one to two "good hard rides" of dressage and/or jumping on Harley a week, followed by two walk-only rides.  Mo?  He'll be doing lots and lots of walking down the road.  I hope to take Mo (and maybe Harley) on an adventure trail walk in town or a local park sometime soon.  The heat gives us plenty of reasons to "just walk".  While to most that seems simple, riding in unfamiliar places, especially with inexperienced babyH, should lead to a summer of confidence building.

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