Shadow's 2nd ride

This 8 year old, 15.3hh registered Appaloosa gelding is in rehabilitation as he gains weight lost due to EPSM. He will be started under saddle and available for adoption.

Shadow's 2nd ride

Postby Juliane on Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:35 am

I spent the day working at Rex and Tawny's, trying to help finish the barn and last minute to-do's before moving my horses there. Susan offered to come help, and suggested at the last minute that I bring Shadow along in case there was time to work with him again. So, I did!

Towards the end of the evening, we had time for a quick session. Susan has done an amazing job with Shadow, and I've been so overwhelmed with my own personal life stuff (moving yet again, legal custody battle, etc), that it's been a stress reliever to let Susan take on Shadow's training.

That's not to say that I won't work with him - it's more of letting her manage his training. She can let me know what he needs, how she'd like him to move forward in his training, etc. At this point in my life, it's nice to take direction from someone else, as I handle the administrative part of it all (his care, advertising for a new home, etc.).

So, I was the ground help this evening as Susan saddled up Shadow and sent him around the round pen. Shadow is still recovering from our strenuous trail ride a few days ago (aren't we all??), and wasn't in the most objective minded mood! :P His feet are still tender and it looked like he had a slight girth rub from the saddle.

Given this, we kept tonight's session short and sweet. Susan did a few mounting exercises, then finally mounted up and asked him to move out. After about 5 minutes of clucking, leg pressure and rein guidance, and Shadow continuing to stand still, she asked for help. So, I entered the round pen and stood in the center as I might when free lunging him. She again applied the pressure/commands to ask him to move forward, and a few seconds after he didn't respond, I gave him the signal from the ground to move forward. It only took a couple tries before he was completely listening to Susan's cues and moving forward when asked.

Susan worked on forward at the walk and trot, halting and turns. Shadow is already dealing with an issue of being defensive of his mouth. I noticed this when I ground drove him. Immediately upon applying rein pressure, he tosses his nose out. However, I remember when I first started Dandy, she had this same problem (you can see her reacting to the bit in the Evening Magazine episode, where I am riding her for the 3rd time).

We ended on a good note, calling it a night when Shadow showed great improvement on softness and giving to the pressure. I think it was a great session and am eager to see how quickly Shadow progresses. He's certainly got a good head on his shoulders!!!

As you can see in the video below, Shadow is still a bit tender on his front feet. I intend to get a farrier out asap and put shoes on him. Had I known the trail we were going on would be so rocky, I would have made sure Shadow had shoes first, or at last the Old Macs boots. Oops!

Here's a quick video of his first ride: ... -14-07.wmv







Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby stardreams on Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:49 am

Shadow was less then thrilled last night when I went to tack him up, but rolled with what was being asked of him. It's these moments that I appreciate seeing what a horse will do when they reach a point of "I'd rather not deal with this". I try to do what I can to help them feel respected, while still needed to do what is being asked.

Shadow was a bit touchier last night, I'm sure because he's still recovering - even I'm still on the sore side. I tested him by mounting up on both sides to feel out where his brain was and his sensitivity. After sitting into the saddle, this is where I made my first mistake. Rather then just asking him to walk forward, I asked him to turn instead. This set his mind into the 'backing up' mode rather then moving forward. What I was testing is something I learned from him on the trail. To ask him to turn, you touch and give. Touch and give. This tells him which way to turn, he gives and moves that direction. Rather then the typical, take and release when they give.

It was WONDERFUL to have Juliane in the middle of the pen with me when Shadow did stop and not want to move forward. He'd hit a spot of being unsure, and then "I don't want to". It helped to give him the security of knowing FOR SURE what I was asking, while also that he really did need to do it.

Shadow turns easier to the right and moves forward, and stalls to the left. This is something we'll need to be working on more.

I was debating what to do regarding Shadows head tossing when any pressure is taken. Last night I found out the answer to that, even though I came prepared for another direction. When Shadow would toss his head, I'd put him forward in mid toss. This stopped him. Each time he'd flip, he'd be pushed forward. It worked wonderfully! since he was giving at the same time, which is what he is being asked to do anyway.

Shadow surprised me last night by showing me something that I haven't ran across in quite a while. He doesn't like pressure on his mouth at all, and where one can normally stop their body movement by sitting, and stop their hand movement so they come into their own pressure, with stopping being the end result... he responds best if you sit into him, and stop your hand movement but bring your hands slightly forward (no pressure at all), and in return he softly stops. I love it, it's a great feeling. It brings many of the ques off of the reins and much much more into the seat.

Shadow did great last night with walk/trot and walk/halt transitions, as well as turning both directions and from the turn moving forward. It was a perfect session from where his mind sat and how he felt, and was just a confidence booster and touch up from what he learned on Sunday.

The things I will be sure not to do next time until he has more confidence of moving forward on que, is not to turn from a halt but rather from forward movement, and well as continue to push him forward when he flips his head. I will also be asking him to stop from a que that really is most correct which he naturally has fallen into, and slowly work towards the que that most riders seem to ride with (off of hands with seat) since this is what he will be working with most likely in his new home.

What I am not doing at this time is teaching him the backing up que. This can wait until we have the forward movement down.

What a remarkable horse! (I just can't seem to say this enough)
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Postby cutiepiepmu on Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:23 am

My Qh stallion is this way about his mouth - always has been - although it was extreme when he was younger where he would rear and nearly tip himself over if you touched the bit. What I found worked really well when training him is to Use a light gag type bit that has the braided rawhide noseband - I will see if I can post pictures. It is a VERY mild snaffel bit but when you touch the reins - it picks up the nose/chin and poll first and allows a delay before touching the mouth. It gives him time to react and figure out what you want before any pressure at all is applied to the mouth. This was a saving grace when training my guy - of course we started that nearly 20 years ago and at that time there were not alot of the new little things out there!! The other thing I have did with him was use a rein that had a 6 inch piece of heavy surgical tubing - again, it softens the response on the face and gave him time to think before having to freak about his mouth.

He is older now and I actually use a very light d-snaffel on him - but I let it hang out of the corners of his mouth - no wrinkles - actually it BARELY touches. I miss riding him simply because of how light and responsive he is - I bet shadow ends up like that!!

Good work you two!

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Postby maefly on Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:28 pm

It's possible that he might have a low pallet too. I had a qh mare that was a bad head tosser when I first started training her. She was fine when ridden in a halter, but when bitted she would really toss her head. My aunt suggested she might have a low pallet and to try a frenck link snaffle on her. It really did the trick. If you know someone who's got a french link it might not hurt to borrow it and try it out. Lilly was the sweetest mare and she tried really hard to please, so it totally baffled me why she would toss her head so much.
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