Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Highlights from Today's Ride

Since today's ride was much like the last ride on Casey that I wrote about (as in she still wanted to live that racehorse life and gallop around like crazy), I've decided not to give a play-by-play, but rather to point out the general highlights.
Highlight 1: When I free-lunged Casey, she was in high energy and decided that it was appropriate for her to try to take out Foster, the head honcho barn dog. He likes to chase the horses around when they are getting free lunged and apparently Casey decided today that it was her turn to chase him. Luckily Foster is fast and smart and so he was totally fine, but man my horse is a dog-hater.
Foster lies waiting
Casey targets Foster
Foster runs for his life
Casey bucks as she gives up the chase
Highlight 2: Casey gave her first big spook under saddle today. Eden and Calvin (the young Border Collie) were being their normal ridiculous teenage-dog selves and chasing each other near the arena and Casey decided that this was the most terrifying thing that ever happened to her so she gave a huge jump sideways and then took off galloping. She tried to give a buck, but I stopped her, but she would not stop running for probably a minute. I would get her slowing down and paying attention and then she'd see the dogs again and speed up. So I just stayed calm and circled her until her little pea brain decided to kick in and work. I think that she was not actually as scared as she was acting like she was because the puppies always run around and it has never spooked her before. I think that it was a combination of her high energy + windy weather + dogs running that made her spook. Either way, it was fine in the end and she was able to focus for the rest of the ride.
I mean... they are vicious, but that spook was unwarrented
Highlight 3: While we were cantering around I decided to see if Casey actually did have flying lead changes. My trainer swore that she did, but I had not seen any evidence of it. So I did a figure-eight at a canter and Casey counter-cantered for the first corner and then in the second corner did a flying lead change! I was so excited and gave her so much praise and then did another figure-eight... and she did another flying lead change! I only asked her to do one flying lead change per direction, because I don't want to push her too much, but this is so exciting! Now I need to get better at figuring out how to cue Casey to do a flying lead change because I am sure that there are things that I could do to help her out more. For today I basically just had her change directions and she took over from there. What's hard about this is that horses can be trained with different cues and I have no idea what cues Casey was taught. I'm going to ask my trainer and see if she knows next time I see her.
Highlight 4: Today was a jumping day for Casey and me and I set a goal for us to be able to go over the brush jump without any issues. The brush jump is basically a white solid-ish plastic fence with some fake grass/brush lining the top of it. It is only 2'3" and is lightweight so in my eyes is not actually a scary jump, but in our last jumping lesson, Casey thought about running out on this jump and I didn't want her to do that again. I warmed her up over some small cross rails and then pointed her at the brush jump... and she went over it fine. So I tried the other direction, and she was still fine. She may have slightly over-jumped it, but she wasn't spooky and didn't try to stop or run out. So maybe she just needed one freak-out about it to get over it? Who knows, but either way Casey will now jump all of the jumps in the arena without any issue.
Still eyeing the dogs
Cooling down after jumping - she loves to stand here and stick her head over the gate
So all in all, it was an eventful day for Casey and me at the barn, with some highs and some lows.
The rest of the week it is supposed to get really hot here, like over 100 degrees, so I will probably only be riding in the morning with short rides, but if any ride is exciting I will be sure to post about it.
I am the only person with a horse that tries to murder dogs? What cues do you use to get your horse to do a flying lead change?

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