April 6, 2015

Weekend Wrapup

Connor and I had a good ride on Saturday, and an interesting one on Sunday.

Springtime at the barn.
We are continuing to implement the suggestion from my trainer which is not to let him get on his forehand from the very beginning.  On Saturday, to the left, I did a turn on the forehand any time I felt his left hind stop reaching under.  Maybe that's not the right thing to do, but it's what's in my toolbox, and it worked, even if we were doing a lot of them in the beginning.  It was a good ride and good work from him.

Hairy eyeball firmly in play

On Sunday, we did more of the same, but in the outdoor, and Connor threw a fit for no reason at all.  He was rushing, tuning me out, and getting more angry the more I directly tried to do about it.

I was about to write off the ride when I remembered that some of my best lessons have started with Connor fits, and my trainer has helped me work through them in the past, so I decided to stick it out and consciously not fight him back. We did a figure 8 against the fence of ~8m circles, trying to use a lot of seat and very little hand.  The fence was essential because it helped me slow him down.

Within a couple of minutes, he relaxed through his entire body, slowed down, lowered his head and started licking and chewing, like he completely forgot whatever he was mad about.  It was awesome, and useful.

I rode for quite a while after that, now that I had a brain to work with, and was strongly reminded that she's advised me to "be persistent and keep trying, even if it seems like he's not getting it", because I rode longer than usual and he was doing really well in the impulsion and self-carriage departments toward the end.  And once I had it, I played with it for a while, doing leg yields back and forth.

Things are going better, but I am still looking forward to the refinement those trainer rides will bring.


  1. Glad things are going better! Good for you for sticking with it and having a good ride after all :)

  2. I always think riding through things like that on your own gives you confidence for shows and off-property outings. :-) Glad you were successful on your own. You guys are a great team!

  3. nice work sticking with it - and being able to objectively avoid the fight and simply persist!

  4. Kudos for you for being able to pull out some great tools and effectively deal with the situation! Sounds like the ride went really well after that!

  5. Ries had the same moment on Saturday of absolute grumpiness! We didn't really get to work through it though :(