Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

Well, hello! My, what a handsome gent you are...
Steve Holt! loves to look at himself in the arena mirrors.


The temp has begun to climb and the roads were once again passable. Steve Holt! found himself in a new situation once again. He was led to the trailer as usual, but once he arrived at the door he found Sandy already standing inside. This was new, and of course deserved a bit of pondering. The divider was swung closed between the two, and Steve Holt! was not sure his long body would fit. However, he gamely gave it a try and to his surprise, all four feet fit neatly inside.

Being the second horse in the trailer wasn't his only first, for no sooner was he loaded than I had him tied. This, too, was a new experience. Not the tying itself, but being tied while in the trailer. Despite having a riding companion and finding his head held somewhat stationary, Steve Holt! traveled down the road without complaint and soon found himself unloading at the riding club.

The purpose for bringing Sandy along was two fold. Naturally, I want Steve Holt! to become accustomed to riding with other horses. Secondly, I wanted to spend some time ponying him over obstacles and around the large arena. I wasn't sure City Boy was going to find time to make it up there; climbing on and riding may not be happening with Steve Holt!, so I wanted to be sure he was able to learn a few other new tricks.

Among the things he was asked to do was stand tied while I rode Sandy. Steve Holt! is not fond of standing and relaxing, so this proved to be one of his biggest challenges yet. I decided it would also help with the whoa button, as the reason he struggles in that area is due to his not wanting to stand still. You may recall a couple of weeks ago when I talked about running my hands down his legs and him moving in circles around me. This is how he deals with his nerves. Not kicking, biting or striking...just moving. So standing at the rail for 20 minutes at a time was good for him.



City Boy stopped in on his way home from town and brought me lunch. He said he'd also bring Darling up after school if I just wanted to hang out up there for the afternoon. Cool beans! Yes, I'd love to just spend a few hours doing nothing but switching back and forth between horses. And when Darling came back, City Boy stepped into the center of the round pen as my anchor, holding onto the long rope and reinforcing from the ground my request for a whoa as I rode Steve Holt!. I would say the word, relax my legs and open my knees, then use my reins. If the whoa didn't happen, City Boy would give a pop with the rope, letting Steve Holt! know that this meant stop now. It was sloppy going the first few times, but he began to understand and respond, so off came the rope and off went City Boy for home while I finished riding.

Darling had climbed on Sandy and she, too, has been working on the whoa. Sandy knows how, but Darling is learning how to use her voice and seat before her hands. That's a struggle for most of us when we begin riding. This weekend she used her hands first and once her body got the sequence figured out, she could feel an amazing difference. Yesterday she commented on how she now hasn't got to do anything but say the word and shift her weight. Good job, Darling!

9 comments:

froglander said...

Sounds like you guys had a good day! I'm glad you have somewhere dry to ride and it's almost better that it's not right at home, makes SH! get some more trailering practice :)

How hard is it to take the step to loping under saddle?

Tracey said...

Thanks, Kristi. Dry is wonderful when you're working towards a deadline. Loping depends on the horse. Some break into it smoothly, others find it a frightening experience. Sandy panicked. Jet needed one heck of a lot of encouragement, but managed to finally get it. I think Steve Holt! comes out of his turns on the verge, mentally, of a lope so I'm thinking he ought to be easier than most.

Andrea said...

Steve Holt! is such a handsome boy. I can see why he likes to admire himself.

I can't wait to come see you guys at the competition.

Jeanette said...

Steve Holt! is such a handsome boy!
I followed along last year with Sandy. Is it my imagination? Is his confidence level allowing you and Steve Holt! to advance at a faster pace during this part of his training?

Tracey said...

Andrea, I think he's handsome, too...but try not to let on to him as I think it'll go to his head. Mirrors are his favorite distraction while in the arena.

Jeanette, you are quite right! We're moving ever so much quicker.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Great going both you and DD and the horses too. She looks so much more relaxed that she used to. And you are doing awesome.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

What a good looking boy. Your lucky to have the indoor facility to do some riding. I think there are a lot of bloggers out there just waiting for the weather to break enough for a quick giddy up.

Tracey said...

Lea, she's so much more relaxed now than she was :) Two week of riding bareback in the snow, I guess, was a great teacher.

Saddle, the weather is surely a detriment to those of us in the northwest, isn't it? But I suppose each region has it's drawbacks...after all, who wants to ride in the sunshine every day??? Oh, wait...that would be me.

Katee said...

Carl also used movement as a release for his nerves. Still does, truth be told. He'd mosey along at a walk with his head nice and low...until I said whoa. First, he wouldn't stop without a lot of encouragement and once stopped he'd stand with his head thrown up into the air and a look of terror in his eyes. Oh, the horror of having to stand still! Hadn't I heard the expression "sitting duck?" Geez!