Monday, October 26, 2009

A Return to Ground Driving

Hey! I can't graze when you tie me this tight!

What's up with that?

Oh, okay, I'll just stand here like a good girl.

Now that Gabbrielle's knee has healed and I am up and about, we returned to ground driving lessons. I wasn't about to climb into the saddle after not riding her in I don't know how many months. She acted like she was bored with it all, so I made the mistake of ground driving her outside the round pen.

I'm sure I must have tried that in the past, but Gabbrielle acted like it was her first time ground driving in this different location. She got nervous when I drove her away from the other horses, and she spooked at the neighbor's garbage against the fence. I find that kind of spooking to be a nuisance. I mean, the horses stand right next to that garbage pile every day, but for some reason when I drive them near it or ride them near it, the garbage pile suddenly morphs into a horse-eating monster. Gabbrielle spun and got tangled in the lines.

I halted her and untangled her, then started driving her forward again. She was so excited about returning to her friends that she took off at a trot. I had to run behind her so as not to lose hold of the lines and slowly pull back while saying "Whoa!"

I didn't want to injure her mouth, but she would not stop. I think the sound of my footfalls behind her scared her and she ran faster. I couldn't keep up with her, and was pulling harder and harder on the bit. She came to a stop, reared up a couple of times and then spun, getting the lines tangled around her legs again. I untangled her and detached the lines before she could get herself into a really big wreck. She just wasn't ready for ground driving outside the round pen.

Learning that made me all the more happy that I didn't try to ride her. If I can't stop her from the ground with the long reins, I'm sure I couldn't stop her from the saddle. I could use my Clinton Anderson fix. I can't wait to see his show in a couple of weeks.


fernvalley01 said...

Good that you and Gabbrielle are getting back at it . Stick to thr round pen as long as you need

Katharine Swan said...

It's funny how everything seems different to horses when they are tied or being worked. At one of my old barns there was a green grass pasture up front by the road. Even though Panama grazed up there all the time, even right by the fence with the cars going past, the first few times I tried to ride him in that pasture he was terrified of the cars and even tried refusing to turn away from the barn, which was behind him.

I have a feeling that it has something to do with feeling like they're not in control of the situation, and can't get away if something bad happens. It's kind of like kids... The monster is never under the bed until they're under strict orders to stay in it and go to sleep. ;o)

Sydney said...

I drive a lot. I start a lot of young horses line driving the fall they are 1. I don't put a cart on them but I want them to know that they can be away from the herd with me and take directions from me. The first oh I would say 3-5 times I line drive them I have someone lead them. Times like this I don't want a horse to have a bad experience because they are so new in the environment and training I ask of them. It might be worth getting someone to lead her. By lead her I just mean hang onto the lead rope because you want her to be ultimately taking directions from you. Eventually when shes ok with that have them un-clip the lead. If necessary put the lead back on. When shes better about that have the helper slowly make their way back to where you are walking by slowing their pace.
I find when a horse gets scared and tries to wheel around you can get tangled in the lines easily. I always line drive off to one side, alternating which sides I stand on. When a horse does get fussy and starts trying to fool around where they could get caught in the lines I "line lunge" them. By this I am basically driving them in a circle like you would be longing. You can make them change directions, speed, etc and it's kind of like you would be riding/driving them instead of just lunging because you have contact on their mouth. It's a very useful tool and weather I am going to be driving or riding a young horse they all learn how to do it.

I know you are gonna love clinton. I think you would be able to get good results with your horses using his methods. However the stuff he might try and sell you is not necessary. I have videos from before he studied with pat parelli and all he used was a long rope and a rope halter. Now hes got sticks and boots and saddles and saddle pads and a bunch of marketing garbage that if you really need it, can buy it off e-bay or other online tack suppliers for waaaaay cheaper.

Paint Girl said...

You are going to love Clinton!! I just had a great time going to his clinic, and as Sydney says, they do hype up all the merchandise, it is cool stuff, but you can get that kind of stuff anywhere. I did buy the rope halter and handy stick though. I just love Clinton's methods! They really do work.
I have never tried ground driving, I have always wanted to do that. I actually will probably do it with Chance. The barn I work for does a lot of it, especially for the country english horses. It is so neat to watch. I am sure I will learn alot from watching them do it at the barn!!
Hope you have better luck with Gabbrielle next time. I would stick to the round pen for awhile.

allhorsestuff said...

You are great...good stuff here! I love the comments too.
I have never driven and would need help to do that I think...Wa "long lines" well. Now jsut do not have the area since winter has hit.
Hope to hear of the clinic soon!