Saturday, January 10, 2009


Well, it was ugly but we did it. Working on cantering is something I have been subconsciously putting off, especially since I got a wild ride last week. Yesterday I went out around 3pm and tied the horse to a tree. Then I did my chores, saddled the horse, and left him tied. Then I started taking apart the round pen. Another boarder talked to the barn owner and explained that the round pen was unusable for weeks at a time due to a low spot that floods. So, I started taking it apart and moving the panels. They weren't too heavy and John showed up shortly after I started, so that made things easier :)

Boomer stood tied to the tree the whole time. He was a bit grumpy about the situation, but never pulled back. He was tied for over an hour.

I took him to the 'new' round pen and bridled him up and rode him around a little. He was really good but when I asked him to canter, he just sped up and leaned to the inside. I really think the round pen is too small for him to properly balance. I measured the diameter- 35 feet... Not exactly ideal!

I took him into an empty paddock to use as an arena and worked on trotting serpentines in there while he loosened up. Of course, the horses in the paddocks on either side were running and bucking along side us, so we just stayed at a nice slow trot until the other horses lost interest. Boomer was really good about that. He pinned his ears at one horse, but never rushed or felt out of control. When I asked him to canter, he sped up his trot and got a little fussy with his head. I brought him back down to a sitting trot and worked on circles more. The second time I asked, I got just a few strides. I gave him a pat on the neck and let him walk on a loose rein before trying the next side. The only other time we have cantered was in a straight line in the big pasture (and when I almost died last week). As you may recall, Boomer has a hard time balancing at the canter on the longe, unless he is in the round pen. He needs those walls to tell him when to turn or he sees the fence approaching and panics, putting on the breaks. So, I was happy with just a few strides. After getting a few choppy strides in both directions and then relaxing for a few minutes, we tried again. This time we got about one and a half laps to the left around a 50 foot circle in the arena. I gave him lots of praise and we relaxed again. To the right, we got two laps. I really had to hold him in it with my legs, squeezing the whole time. I also had to steady him with my hands. I have a tendency to revert to my saddle seat riding position when he gets racey because his head comes up. This is much preferable than his head going down... followed by a buck! So, I had my hands higher and helped him balance around the turns. Though it was ugly, unbalanced, and fast I was happy with the effort. After all, what in our training so far hasn't started out ugly?

After that, I called it a day and cooled him out, loosened his girth, and tied him back up to the tree. I took his saddle off, brushed him, and watchced another girl work her horse for a while and then put him away and fed him. I bet he spend almost 2 hours tied up today and he never even offered to pull back!

Charley also had a grand time yesterday. He discovered an abandoned Jolly Ball and played with it for at least an hour without interruption!

1 comment:

jacksonsgrrl said...

Hi Heather! I like your blog. I too am working on a green horse, and am interested in how you are working on keeping from falling out on the right shoulder. My horse (an AngloArab) is a pro and I actually broke my shoulder from falling off at a canter a month after I got him. He went to stop, fell out on the right shoulder and of course I fell over the right shoulder!!! We've come a ways since then...just curious as to how YOU are working on it!
Nice to meet ya!