Let's trot!!!

This teenaged bay Arabian gelding is in rehabilitation. Watch his progress as he goes through eye surgery, gains weight and returns to his original beauty!

Let's trot!!!

Postby Juliane on Wed May 30, 2007 11:57 am

It is so hard to really gauge where Buddy is in his knowledge and training under saddle. He often noses out, much like a green colt, when riding. He is stiff to turn, and sluggish to move out. All of these responses seem much like a colt who hasn't been ridden before.

At the same time, when pushed and asked to move forward, Buddy will halt, tense up, tuck his tail and become very, very worried. He has yet to do anything bad, but it's obvious he is scared.

On Monday, Ally and I trailered the horses down to the Fall City arena, as I had to get some miles on Dandy, carrying the flag. Ally is so amazing with Buddy, and this was an excellent way to get him some more exposure under saddle.

She saddled him up and then spent some time doing groundwork with him at the arena. She introduced him to new and scary things, asking him to acknowledge them. What I love about Buddy is that he is not spooky - at least not in a typical hot Arabian way. My gelding, Whisky, still spooks to this day at silly things he's seen all of his life. Thank goodness Buddy isn't like that! :P

After some short groundwork, Ally mounted up and rode Buddy around, working on bending, halting and moving out. She tooled around on him while I got the practice done that I needed to on Dandy. Then, we decided to try working on Buddy's trot.

We felt that it would be encouraging for Buddy to try trotting behind Dandy - so I got in front and asked Dandy to trot off. A few seconds later, Ally asked Buddy to trot. He almost picked up the trot, and did lengthen his walking stride, but then stopped.

We kept this up and before long, Buddy was trotting along behind Dandy, though would stop on his own. With much encouragement, he got better and better, and it was obvious that he was trotting on cue, not just because Dandy was.

However, when we took Dandy away and asked him to trot on his own, he immediately stopped, tensed up, head up and became immediately worried :( Poor guy. So, back to the beginning of having Dandy leading, and before long, Buddy was trotting comfortably again.

It seems obvious to both Ally and I that Buddy needs MANY confidence building rides. However, he needs them often and as much as possible. Buddy's behavior and responses under saddle between Friday's session and Monday's session were on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. In part, due to being ridden each day in between.

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Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby myhorsefaith on Wed May 30, 2007 1:40 pm

Oh I just love how leggy this little horse is :) SUCH a cutie pie!

And it isn't like he's not trying- i felt him really want to move out- a few times while we were dinking around the arena he really started to stretch his legs and almost, just almost break into trot. and the second that happened, he'd freeze up and get scared. So we worked a lot on just forward motion, trying to get good swing, and praising him when he moved out, even at a walk.

When we were following Julie & Dandy, he did break into trot when i cued him for it. But Julie and I were talking, and my focus was less on him and more on Dandy- its like he can't tolerate the pressure of 1:1, and he does much better when the rider's focus is less on schooling him and more on something else.

It is pretty saddening- i do feel sorry for him. He's not misbehaving, and I think he does understand what we're asking- he just can't find it in him to do it...yet.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve to try to help him learn to trot with a rider, alone. I'm going to play with him more on Friday to see if we can build his confidence and trot some :)

Lookin' forward to it!
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Postby Juliane on Wed May 30, 2007 6:16 pm

I was just thinking back to when I took Buddy to drill practice one time. I think it was his first time there, and I rode him in team warmups. We were really moving out, at a very extended trot with the entire team of 16 horses. A few times, he even broke into a canter, I believe.

Of course, I was all about looking at where I needed and pushing him forward. I do remember using alot of leg pressure, but he responded beautifully.

Maybe if the work you do with him on Friday doesn't help much, we should go back to working with another horse, riding as pairs and such? I can't wait to hear how he does! You are so good for him!
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby myhorsefaith on Wed May 30, 2007 7:49 pm

i think what will be best for him is to go on pairs/ group rides- but lets just see if something can't be worked out on Friday...
:wink:

He is a lot of fun :D
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Postby Hope on Thu May 31, 2007 6:31 am

My arab was alot like Buddy when I first got him. He was rode very harsh before I got him. Plus I believe it was tack that didn't fit him, causing him pain there too. At first he had 2 speeds fast and not going.. Fast was to run from the pain, and try and do what was asked. If you even put leg pressure on him, his head was in the air.. and he was testing you big time. Not going was, I am not moving and you are NOT making me, with head in the air... almost like he was going to rear. It was kinda frightening. He is also the blind in one eye horse, like Buddy.
I've had to totally take him from scratch almost like an unbroke horse, and redo everythign with him.. and give him the confidence he needed and I needed. He is one of the most beautiful horses I've ever seen, and wants so hard to please you. I've done alot of lunge work with him, getting him where he could GO, (but controlled) and not have the interference of a rider.. no side reins.. nothing, just lungeing... and telling him to trot, and GO.. he was definately stuck. Then I would get on him, and we'd do ALOT of walking, and transitions. I spent most of my early days on him just walking in the arena. Telling him what a good boy he was, and we'd do exercises and bending. When I felt comfortable, and knew he was relaxed and comfortable we'd trot. The minute he either got too quick, we'd walk again. Its taken a good year to where we are now. Granted I've been totally inconsistent with him over the last several months... but theres no harm in that.
My goal with him, is someday show him in dressage.. as he is a beautiful mover.
Buddy just needs patiences.. like you guys are doing. You (Juliane) and Ally are doing a great job with him. Also another good thing to do, is LOTS AND LOTS of talking with him. While you are on his back, talk.. (good boys, walk, trot) whatever you want him to do, tell him vocally. It'll get him more intune with the rider. Even if there isn't much to say, try singing a song. I often do that while I am trotting around on Hootie, as it helps me to breathe and relax.
Keep up the good work!
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