February 21, 2014

After 3 Weeks of Not Being Ridden...

The weather these past few weeks has been horrid.  First it was snow, then it was wind... lots and lots of wind.  Due to the terrible weather and lack of time, I was never able to ride throughout three weeks.  My lesson was reschedule for Friday afternoon, and much to my luck, there was ZERO wind.  It was warm, sunny, and occasionally there would be a slight breeze that would come by.  Perfect.
R.I.P. Jim Bob the Snowman
 There were a few bees and flies out and about, enjoying the warm weather.  Die, bugs, die!  I gave Ypke a thorough grooming and saw that the wooly mammoth was shedding.  Spring is coming!  She was a bit of a brat as I was picking out her hooves, a stunt she hasn't pulled in a long time, but I refused to give up so she ended up cooperating.


Before the lesson I did 20 minutes of groundwork and used clicker training to reinforce the good behavior.  I must say, she has been improving quite a bit!  She used to not want to halt while I was leading her, but now she typically only takes one extra step before halting.  Hopefully after several more ground work sessions we will consistently be halting right as I ask!


The moment of truth, our trainer arrived and it was time to ride Ypke the Beast.  She. Did. Awesome.  This was one of those days where I wish someone had been recording.


She was consistently doing a western jog while maintaining collection (definitely not perfect collection, but this is a huge step for us).   We were switching directions, doing small circles, passing another horse and there was no fussing!   It truly is a wonderful feeling to be working in unison with a horse!   With just slight calf pressure and a bit of a half halt, she would begin to round and I could feel a major difference.   I didn't have to ask her to maintain collection either, she was just staying there by herself.   This was done with a small amount of slack in the reins too.


Around halfway through the lesson, she got bored.  She stopped and pawed (I had vivid flashbacks to THAT day), but there was no way I was letting her roll.  She began to break gait several times and wasn't having any of this collection.


Luckily, we were able to end on a great note, though.  I was really amazed with how well we did!  My equitation didn't suck, and Ypke and I were actually working with each other (except the time mentioned above) instead of against each other.  Definitely a confidence building day!

Staring off into the sunny hills

5 comments:

  1. you used clicker training! that's great! i've actually clicker trained my cat but haven't trained a horse to do anything... i'd love to see a post about your clicker training!

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    1. Thank you! Clicker training had been a blessing for me, I've used it with three different horses (one that was spooky, one that was always grumpy, and then Ypke) so far. I have always gotten great results! I'm actually working on a clicker training post right now, keep an eye out for it. :)

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  2. My sister and I use clicker training on our horses, too, and it works awesome. I would love to hear how you integrated it into your training. Our horses simply love it, and they are so enthusiastic about going out to work. I think that they don't even see it as work. I have also used it on my cat and dog.

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