Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New Day, A New Ride


"Get your mare out and lunge the @%$ out of her today," came the directions from the old cowboy. Didn't need to tell me that!

We began in the arena where the sand is nice and deep. Helps wear them down just a bit, working in that sand. Heck, it wears me down trying to walk across it! I only spent about five minutes there, though, before heading to the round pen where I could work her in the smaller space. Easier to get her to lope when she has that wall, too. In the arena she doesn't quite make a full circle before trying to fade away to the outside, or dropping back into a trot. So the initial freshness gets worked in the sand so that hopefully she's thinking when we get to the round pen.

Today she didn't really feel like thinking, I guess, and chose to fly like a young colt in circles around me. Well, it was her choice, so I just kept her going a bit longer than maybe she'd have wanted to go on her own. Small circles also wear a horse down because they need to use their bodies more than in a larger circle. Once Tika decided that she'd rather trot than hand gallop tight circles, I began to ask her for stops and turns from the center of the round pen.


It was another five minutes before Curt showed up, and by now Tika was warmed up...literally. The sweat was working through that long coat of hers and was beginning to drip from locks of hair.

As Curt entered the round pen, Tika backed up. He took the rope and asked her to step up to him, but instead she lifted her head and backed away like a rope horse dragging a calf to the fire. A treat appeared, however, in the old cowboy's hand, and Tika decided that maybe she'd be friends again.

I mounted up and Curt led us a few feet forward, then walked to Tika's face and unsnapped the rope, asking her if she was going to be a good girl today and not give me a ride like she had the previous day. He rubbed her face and offered another treat, and then I asked her to move to the rail.

There was a slight edginess, but I don't know if it was her or me to be honest. Or perhaps a little of each? A couple of circles at the walk and Curt asked me to come towards him, and another treat appeared. We reversed, walked, trotted a couple of circles, stopped for a treat, then reversed again. Three or four treats later, and the treats were gone. By then Tika was looking at Curt each time we turned to see if he had something for her, and her reluctance toward him had disappeared.

I wasn't on more than ten minutes, I don't think. Perhaps not even that long. We only walked and trotted, and when she tried to pick up the pace at the trot Curt asked me to check her a bit, so I did, and she didn't worry about feeling the bit in her mouth, just responded by slowing down a wee bit.

Tika was delighted to have the saddle pulled from her dripping body once we were back in the arena, and the moment my back was turned she dropped down into the arena sand for a good bath. I think this is the equivalent to a bubble bath for me. She sure does enjoy the deep sand, as you can tell from her after bath photos!



Jeni said...

My Gramps (who your descriptions of Curt reminds me of ) always told me when I was training my Arab when I was a teenager..

If you can't ride long, make em work HARD so they remember it and every minute counts.

Tika will be better tomorrow =) Just as she was better today.

Shirley said...

Wet saddle blankets are what make good horses-Walt Vermadahl.

Crystal said...

sounds like a better day, and she looks like she worked hard, but enjoyed her "bath" too.

strivingforsavvy said...

I love reading about your progress! Keep up the good work!

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Linda said...

Curt sounds just like my old trainer from Lewiston. She's a cowgirl rather than a cowboy, but similar philosophy it appears. And I've always told everyone--she is the absolute one person in the world I'd want with me in a tight situation with a horse.