Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reining in The Queen

After Lostine's performance during her try outs, I was a bit hesitant about climbing onto her back, especially with the ground being so slippery. I avoided her all day Sunday while I worked with the other two horses.

In between my horse training sessions, loud trucks were hauling stuff into my neighbor's yard and Lostine was all worked up about it. She gets diarrhea when she is nervous, and there were watery splats all over the yard.

However, by 4:00 PM the sun had come out, the wind and neighborhood activity had settled down, and so had she. I started thinking about how I won't get another chance to work with her until seven days from then, so I saddled her up and lunged her with a long line. My goal was to keep her at either a walk or jog, and work on getting an immediate halt at both paces. I didn't want to risk increasing her speed, because I didn't want anymore spills. She's an old horse and I could see her twisting her spine while slipping on mud and falling. The last thing I need is to have to call for an equine chiropractor.

At first she'd take half a dozen steps before responding to WHOA. So, I'd walk up to her and back her up half a dozen steps until she was at the spot where I asked her to stop. On the next try, she took 4 steps and I backed her up 4 steps. She slowly reduced the number of steps she took each time until I was getting an immediate response as soon as I said WHOA.

From that point, I worked on getting her to slow her gait when I said EASY. Once she caught on, I mounted into the saddle and repeated the process from there. We didn't have any spills or spooks, so all was well. Calming her down for that first ride is half the battle. In the end, she got her treats.


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like she was a good girl all around , just needed a "wake up" So glad to read that even though she is older and trained , that you give her a safe warm up first . Good to remember that older gals like her are at risk of being hurt if they get dorking around(kinda like us)

KD said...

Glad you got some rides in! I feel like it's been forever for me. Wow, the inside of your horse trailer is sparkly clean!

Katharine Swan said...

NM, Panama is a nervous pooper too. That's how I know he's finally settling in to the new place -- he's pooping in the cross ties and the arenas, particularly the indoor arena, much less often than he used to. He used to poop half a dozen times or more in the indoor, with each one getting looser and looser, but now I only have one or two little presents to pick up at the end of each ride.

Sounds like Lostine did well -- congratulations!

Leah Fry said...

Thanks for the tips — I will use what you said about backing her up to the point where you first said whoa. I know a certain Appy gelding that needs those kinds of reminders.

Breathe said...

Good for Lostine! Glad you had a good ride on her.

Stephanie said...

sounds like a succesful first ride :) I like what you did with backing her up to the point where you asked her to whoa... I may give that one a try. Thanks for sharing.