Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 > Daily Dispatch #140

May 21, 2014: Horse Sense: Fast Forward

Raudi and I are now moving forward at what seems to me to be the speed of light. I am ecstatic about this for we are no longer stuck, stuck, stuck. Last night we had yet another lesson at Beth’s Two Rivers Ranch. I had a wonderful time, and I think Raudi did too. Some of the things we learned were hard earned others less so, but this is what moving forward is all about.

First of all, trailering. I feel bad about the fact that my vision is such that I can’t drive the man truck and trailer. However, others are giving me an assist, and for this I am grateful.

Pete had to teach, so Vickie Talbot, Pete, and I came up with a plan. I picked her up, we drove here, she drove our truck to her place, picked up Hunar, and we went to Beth’s. Pete later met us there, and drove Vickie home. And I drove our truck home.

Raudi wasn’t wanting to go anywhere, and indicated that she didn’t want to stay in the trailer by walking out. Vickie had a great idea, this was that I open the side window, and hand her the lead rope. Then I’d shut the inside partition. This worked wonderfully.

The lesson itself went well. This is in part because Raudi seems to be energized by distractions, which there in abundance. Outside the arena, there were honking geese; horses were being saddled on the far side of the pen, cars and trucks passing, dogs, horses, and people, lots of people. And a round pen was being assembled, one that soon contained a mare and a seven month old foal.

And inside the arena, there were horses, lots of horses. As I rode her, I recalled that there was a time in which Raudi would have been reactive. Instead, she was attentive, and very curious about what was going on around her. I would have liked it if she was more focused, but this will come in time. In fact, I think the goings on enlivened her during the course of our warm up and subsequent lesson.

During the lesson itself, we ten riders followed one another at the walk and the trot, falling out of the circle and letting others take the lead. This worked well for us because, as Beth noted, in following one another, the horses are forced to pay attention to one another. We next trotted over poles on the ground; there were two sets of three poles before us. The value of this exercise is that it forces pacey horses (like Raudi) to pick up the trot.

We next went over some low cross jumps, again following one another. From the previous lesson, I recalled – hold onto the mane because this is why God gave them to us. Then later I followed Vickie and Hunar over jumps. This was extremely helpful, for Vickie provided me with near-instantaneous commentary. And as importantly, Raudi saw what she was supposed to do.

For me to say that Raudi was brilliant and that we were the stars of the show would take this dispatch into the realm of fiction. The truth be known, she was at times erratic and I was inconsistent. For example, we messed up going over a few jumps. No matter, for we are now moving forward. What I learned is that those refusals came about when, approaching the jump, I lowered my head. This then threw my good horse off balance, in part because I disengaged with my core. And at the same time, I ceased to indicate to Raudi where she was to go next.

Ahh, the mental and figurative concept of moving forward holds. The big message here is that I need to keep looking forward, both in and out of the ring, which is if I’m serious about Raudi and I making it from Point A to Point B.

I later I looked at the photos that Pete took. Gosh, both Beth and Vickie were right – my heels WERE down. This too, I know, will further throw a horse off balance.

What to do? Head up – focus on a distant focal point. Heels down – heel stretches, yoga. In general, breathe. In addition, I need to find a saddle that is better suited for flatwork/equitation. Forward thinking me is now attempting to find a loaner saddle, since I can’t (right now) afford to buy one. Maybe I can use this saddle in exchange for tack cleaning. I will find a way of dealing.

Lastly, we ended the day with Raudi’s again jumping out of the trailer and running off. The up side to this was that I was easily able to catch her. The down side was that this should not have happened in the first place. The lesson that I learned here is that I must always be forward thinking if I am attempting to move forward. I am going to work with her (today and tomorrow) on standing quietly in the trailer when being loaded. And I am going to clip her in rather than let her stand loose. Far better to do this than to dwell on what went wrong.

The dog and pony show continues in a grand and glorious way. It takes a lot of energy on my part to keep it all going. But I would not have it any other way.

Next: 141. 5/22/14: Dog Training: Learning as WE Go Along