A really big day for Tucson yesterday. We rode in the arena for just a few minutes, after some ground work, then he felt ready. I opened the gate and outside we went. I think it’s important to get a horse outside the arena or round pen as soon as a person feels confident enough in the horse and what he has accomplished.
As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty mountainous around the barn. We started up the hill that is behind the barn, just at a walk, I asked him to trot as we started the climb and he did ok. It’s when I asked him to canter that he got his shorts in a bit of a wad and wanted to buck. It was no big deal and after just a couple of jumps he was done. If a horse is going to buck with me I would like for it to happen when he is going up hill. Takes all the thunder out of the buck and is pretty easy to ride. Anyway after that little deal we continued on our ride for about an hour and a half. He really seemed to relax and pay attention to me, all the while seeing, smelling and watching new things. When we got back to the arena I started to work on a break, or stop.
When a horse is a little tired is the best time, I’ve found, to start to work on a stop. The horse is already tired and is looking for some rest. So, when I ask for the stop he is way ready. How do I ask or work on a stop? Another good question.
I use the flexing to a stop exercise, that we have been using all along to teach this. I ask for the walk or trot, I sit deep in the saddle, put my feet forward in the strips and wait for a few seconded to see what he will do. Most of the time they don’t know what to do so they keep walking forward. I count to three and then flex his head to a stop. Pretty soon he starts to understand that when my seat changes and then my legs come forward, I’m going to ask him to flex to a stop. It’s not long before he understands what’s about to happen and the min I take that deep seat and put my legs forward he will stop, without me having to flex him.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.