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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The backbone is connected to the ... leg bone ...

I've had a couple of lessons on Kahlua now.  She is so fun to ride!

First ride:  New saddle, new pad, new blanket, new rider, new bridle, etc.  Yikes.  Took me a bit to figure it out, and it's tough getting the brand new latigo tight enough to handle my fat ass getting into the saddle.  Finally figured it out, though.  Rode down to the arena.  She definitely wants to go ... a lot.  Put open space in front of her, and she goes.  That's the first thing we're going to work on is getting her to walk.  I was stopping her every time she got into a trot.  What I am finding out, though, is that a better training method is to make her work when she does that.  Make her circle.  Don't stop her.  Wait until she stops herself.  And this method is teaching me a ton.  Balance.  Big time.  Going from a trot into tight circles brings out every little weakness in the way I am sitting in the saddle, how my feet are in the stirrups, whether or not my latigo is tight enough, whether I am leaning to far forward, etc.  All at once.  She also had a three-beat stop.  I'd "whoa" her and she would take three steps.  We're getting her to stop quicker.  If I don't put her into circles when she goes into the trot, I lead her right into the corner of the arena, and "whoa" her where she doesn't have room for 3 steps.  And when she is just standing, she gets bored, and will either start heading off pretty quick, or if I don't let her do that, she's pawing at the ground and threatening to roll on me.  So those are the things we needed to work on.  We rode for about an hour and, despite the bit of spoiled brattiness I was finding in her, I really enjoyed riding her. 

And yes, I was a bit sore but none the worse for wear.

Second ride:  (I should start making a log of this so I can see where her training goes.)  Had a lot less fumbling getting tacked up, still had quite a bit of slipping with the saddle during mounting, but that will work itself out when everything gets broken in.  She walked out to the arena this time -- obviously understanding there was work ahead of her.  But I was glad she walked.  We got into the arena ... and with nothing in front of her, she walked.  And walked and walked some more.  Great progress.  We stood still.  No pawing.  No attempting to roll.  A few times, she had nothing in front of her and she wanted to trot, so into a circle we went, and she would give up much sooner than she did previously.  I was very very happy with the way she worked. 

Another very important (to me) thing we are working on is leading.  She has been allowed to lead with her shoulder next to the person.  I am very uncomfortable with her up there.  She is learning to respect my space, and I am learning how to properly correct her -- with a focus on being fair in my correction, having it be firm enough so as to be clear the first time so I don't end up nagging.  I have to admit, though, I am a bit intimidated correcting her when I am on the ground.  But I'm learning.

Before I went riding, I grabbed a couple of bales of hay and threw them into the back of my truck.  When I picked up the first one, it was about 25 or 30 pounds heavier than I had anticipated, and I've succeeded in throwing my back out pretty good.  Hard to walk, hard to move, hurts to sneeze, can't lift anything, hurts rolling over in bed, etc.  So, I'll be down for a few days I'm sure.

Oh, here's a couple of photos.  I clicked this one on our way back to the corral after our ride.  If you recall, I mentioned how Kahlua is not nuts about the shutter noise on my camera (the only thing that I've found she is uncomfortable with thus far).  Well, my phone has a fake shutter sound on it.  So while we were very calmly walking back to the corrals, I snapped this photo, and she took it as me "clucking" her to go, so she got into a trot.  I laughed ... thought that was cute.

And here's one when we got back up to the house.  She didn't jump when I took this one.  Progress! 


  1. Awesome!!! Glad you are making progress and enjoying Kahlua!!! She sounds like she is willing to do what you want!! Enjoy reading your updates. Hope you back is soon better.

  2. Nice to see you are having fun with your horse.