Ta-rot, you English pony! =)

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!

Ta-rot, you English pony! =)

Postby myhorsefaith on Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:53 pm

Yesterday I went up to Juliane's to work with Buddy-man & the trot thing.
I had thought about it for a few days, and came up with a few ideas on how to build his confidence when asked to trot.

If you know anything about me, you know I am a ground work queen. I try to teach horses just about anything I can on the ground first, knowing that it will become important during saddle work later on. This challenge with Buddy was no different, even though the issue with trot happened under saddle.

Having worked with Buddy a few times now, I was left wondering what would happen if I simulated the request for trot under saddle from the ground. Sure, I had longed him in the past, a simple driving pressure from behind got him to trot. But what about pressure where the rider's leg would be?

Another thought I had was about saddle issues. It occured to me that it was highly likley that most if not all of Buddy's rides were done in a western saddle. I know my own saddle fits him ok- but a better solution could probably be found. So, to change things up a bit, I decided to try out my treeless english saddle from Heather Moffett's Enlightened Equitation (www.enlightenedequitation.com). If anything it would definitely keep his shoulders free and possibly help him break into trot when asked.

Upon saddling, I noticed my smallest girth, 24", was a touch too big. Good enough to work with on the ground, but definitely did not stabilize the saddle for a rider. So, I decided this session would be ground-work only.

I brought along a crop, which I intended to use in hand to tap Buddy's side, cueing for forward, and eventually trot.

So after a quick desensitization session with the crop, we were ready to get down to business. First I used the crop to tap where the rider's leg would be. As soon as he moved off, I released the pressure. After a few times doing this successfully, I then used the crop and kept tapping until Buddy moved off faster. A few more times, and continued the tapping until he broke into trot.

It only took a handful of tries until he understood what the crop tapping meant. Sadly, the first few attempts at trot did scare him, and he offered the same "Freeze & tail tuck" that he did with a rider on his back. We worked through it with me reassuring him, and he eventually did break into trot. We did this a few more times to make sure Buddy understood to trot on cue, and then moved on to the more difficult side: the left.

His left side (the blind one) he was much more unsure about than the right. When playing on the left side, Buddy will almost tune out the handler- his mind sort of leaves his body like he knows something bad is going to happen and he'd rather not be present to experience it. He's not trying to be bad or disrespectful- i know this because when on his left side, his body tenses and his tail is in perma-tuck mode. Poor guy!

So we practised, though lightly, on the left side, getting to the point where he'd move forward off the tapping motion on his belly. Good boy!

All in all it was very successful. This afternoon I ran out to buy a smaller girth for Buddy- of which I will try tomorrow. If successful, I will try riding him in the english saddle, and hopefully our ground work will pay off!

Here are some pictures of the session. Sorry I only have a few, night was falling and my camera's flash didn't work. :roll:

English saddle:
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Preparing to work:
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Desensitizing to the crop:
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Postby Juliane on Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:37 pm

Oh my gosh! He is SOOOO cute in the english saddle! Ok, if he hasn't found a home by the time the SAFE show comes, you have to promise to show Buddy, ok? :) (assuming I don't have a drill competition that weekend!)
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby myhorsefaith on Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:46 am

IF you go to the show, and IF Buddy is still with us, then YES, I will take him to the show 8)

He's a good little man, I am very proud of him!
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Postby Juliane on Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:51 pm

Ally came up yesterday and worked with Buddy again on getting his trot gear working under saddle :P Since I wasn't able to watch how she worked with him on Friday evening, she showed me what she did to ask him to trot from the ground.

Buddy clearly remembered what he was supposed to do when lightly tapped on his sides with the crop, as he immediately moved out into a trot. Wow! There was no tail tucking or tensing up. He seemed completely relaxed.

After reviewing the cues and asking Buddy to move out in both directions, Ally mounted up and started riding around. The first thing I noticed was that Buddy was much, much more relaxed under saddle. He was happy to walk along.

When Ally asked him to trot, he stepped right into it, only raising his head in slight discomfort when she started posting. She kept pushing him forward, all the while, giving him lots of confidence and reassurance. I was totally amazed at the difference in Buddy!

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Postby Hope on Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:24 pm

Way to go!! He looks great trotting. :)
Does he have shoes on? In one of the pictures it looks like he has shoes.
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Postby myhorsefaith on Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:33 pm

Good eye-he is shod in the front. 8)

I am so proud of him, Mr Buddy definitely tries his hardest!

If anyone is wondering what I am doing in that last photo: I'm helping Buddy gain confidence with a rider stroking his neck while he moves. He has a tendency to tense up when the rider leans forward. So once we were reliably trotting under saddle, I started to stroke his neck and help him keep moving as I did that. At first he was pretty scared, but he did try his hardest to keep moving forward. I am just so proud of him! I can't wait to get back out there with him. :)

And for those of you keeping tabs- the girth that finally fit Buddy with this saddle...20"...and we had only 1 hole on either side left! :shock: :lol:
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Postby Hope on Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:44 am

Wow, he has a thin barrel. Hootie takes a 24' but he is quite plump. You look great on him! I've never seen that particular saddle before, it looks comfortable. You said it was treeless, does it fit almost every horse you put it on? Yup, done the neck thing with Hootie before, still do from time to time. Does the head in the face thing, when he doesn't want to, not as much as he used to thats for sure.
Have you guys come to a conclusion Buddy shouldn't be ridden with a bit? He seems to do really good in the rope halter.
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Postby myhorsefaith on Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:52 am

He is pretty thin- but this particular saddle also has pretty long billets. I could punch holes higher up, but I don't want to :oops:

Yes, it is a treeless saddle. I came across the maker, Heather Moffett, a few years ago when I first got Faith, my ottb. Her book, Enlightened Equitation, was an easy read that made a lot of sense to me. At the time, she had been involved in several saddle redesigns, and then eventually started making treeless saddles.

Eventually she made the Fhoenix, and it became available for sale in the US. I originally purchased it for my ottb mare, but she's not rideable anymore. So i've been using it on horses of all shapes and sizes, and I've only found 1 horse that it didn't really suit.

It is sort of hard to get used to riding in- in most treed saddles the rider has to pull their lower leg back because of the stirrup bars. This saddle hangs your leg exactly where it should be. But the muscle memory of pulling the leg back is hard to break, so I've been trying to remember to let them hang or even just push forward a bit, otherwise my legs ends up being waaaay to far back :oops:

I do love the saddle though. It is extremely comfortable to ride in. 8)

As far as the bit- I was actually talking to Julie about beginning Buddy's bit training. I've ridden him in a bit 1 other time, and he just doesn't accept it- he acts very green in this respect, and somewhat defensive of his mouth. With the halter he has no issues, so I started there. The bit training will begin this week, but on the ground. I will probably continue to ride him in the halter until we can bridge the gap into bridle work. I suspect he'll do just fine- he just needs to gain confidence and be taught the right way. :)
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Postby seahorse on Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:24 am

IT is a lot of fun to read all of the updates on Buddy. He is such a pretty boy and I hope to read that he has his own home soon! If you would like to use my Dr. Cook's on him for a briodle let me know.......
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Postby myhorsefaith on Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:42 am

Hey Chelsea- I have a Dr Cook's up a Julie's...it is a full horse size though, and i remember it being a little too big for Faith.

Do you have a smaller one?

Thanks for the offer!
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Postby seahorse on Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:53 am

I think it would fit as I used it on Sanka.........I will put it on Paris tonite and see.......I do not think I ever had it fitted correctly so it may not fit.....
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Postby myhorsefaith on Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:48 am

thank you, Chelsea!
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Postby cat_67 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:46 am

My Dr. Cook's is at Chelsea's house and you are welcome to borrow it. I know it fits a small head - Belle has a small head and an itty bitty nose.
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Postby seahorse on Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:49 am

Your Dr Cooks is at my place? eeeek I do not remember seeing it......
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Postby cat_67 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:56 am

I threw it in the trailer with my saddle when you picked up Belle, remember? Might still be there. :)
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