November 18, 2012

Why Don't We Do It in the Road?

Since I posted about an unconventional thing that helped my riding on Friday, why not do it again today? 

Earning his oats on a 60 degree November day.  T-shirt weather again!
Today I rode Connor in the grassy field across the road, and then had an idea: why not ride in the road?  We live in a rural area.  The road is wide, flat, paved, and you can see cars coming from about a half mile in each direction, and I've ridden Connor on roads enough to know he's fine with cars coming both ways.  Curious, I hopped on it after we'd already done enough to tire him in the grassy field.

I soon came to realize that the road was awesome for helping me with developing timing for the lateral work, because it added an important element to each footfall: sound.  When I was able to identify the strike of the outside hind, I was able to half-halt with very precise timing, and of course, when I'm doing my job correctly Connor always follows suit.  We zigzagged our way down the road and then up the road, doing leg yields as we went.  Besides the sound element, the two sides of the road also served to help me identify when he was going crooked, as we were never too far from the "arena fence" like we could be in an arena.  I really liked the results we got from it, and I will definitely do it again in the future.

After we were done, since we had the barn to ourselves and our cross-tie area can be shut off from everything else with gates, I decided to start working on "ground tying" with the tired pony.  Not really a necessary skill for him, or one I plan on using often, but rewarding him for standing still while the lead rope is draped over him could prove helpful in certain situations.  So, he stood in the wide aisle with the gates closed while I swept the floors as one of my final chores, and I gave him a treat every so often.  If he moved even a single foot, I put that foot back where it started.  He seemed to like the idea of getting treats for doing nothing.

Other than that, enjoy some scenes from my morning of stall cleaning and trough filling in sunny, warm southern Indiana:

I like to lay on the grass and sleep while the troughs are filling.

DJ came over to say hi.

Pride was countering my attempts to fill the trough by drinking out of it.

Watching my own little guy as I fill his trough.

I love this place.


  1. Love all the pictures. That would be fun. We don't have anywhere we can ride on a road here. The road the farm is on would be a death trap!

  2. Lovely pictures.

    I agree that the road is a great place to practise lateral work - you can do everything except maybe half-pass, (but I never got that far, travers was the most advanced thing I ever taught a horse!)

  3. I have not got up the nerve to ride the road in front of our barn - country road, but people fly...

  4. What a cool barn!

    I hate riding on paved roads. Cuna is shod and the speed limits are pretty fast and ugh. Does not sound safe like your situation. I do use ditch banks to do that, though. :)