Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Round And Round We Go

I have to say...I think Moon is thoroughly unimpressed with Arizona.

See the thing is, there is a lot of space to ride out behind Mikey's place, and I have been utilizing it. We are spending a LOT of time doing this...


Round and round the bushes we go. Then we do figure eights. Then we do the 'barrel pattern'. Then we walk, trot or lope in a straight line, then we go around some more bushes. Over and over and over.

Moon's pretty sure this should be something that excites him and/or causes him to want to dive on top of a bush, or blow off, or not give and bend to the pressure....But he can't really figure out what that is because technically we are NOT on a barrel pattern...we are just riding.

And outside of me having to kick his ass for acting ridiculously barn sour one day, it makes absolutely no difference to me how goofy he acts or how much he charges around trying to ignore me. He figured out pretty quick that Arizona bushes are NOT worth charging over the top of (snicker), and while he might ignore my request to shape and circle 'this' bush...there are 9,000 more that I can send him around (giggles like a lunatic). And that is exactly what I do.

Believe me an hour and a half into these exercises, Moon was lathered...but much more docile and completely willing to shape the instant I picked up the rein. He was no longer trying to yank his head the opposite direction, no longer trying to shoulder the circle, no longer trying to rush through. Just nice, soft, willing circling. He'd move in and move out, I could shorten his stride or lengthen it out and he never lost his new-found softness.

Not only is this kind of riding the BEST thing I could ever possibly do with Moon, it's giving ME the opportunity to work on what I need to work on...maintaining a straight body, using my legs, lengthening my arms and keeping my chin up and looking.

BOTH of us are re-learning and establishing correct muscle memory...Without ever having to look at a barrel. This is so cool!!

13 comments:

Shirley said...

Years ago, when Walt Vermadahl was giving clinics in our area, after 2 days of colt starting in the round pen and arena, he had us take the horses out in the back quarter, and circling bushes was one of the things he had us do. Great exercise!

in2paints said...

What fun!! Sounds like a great exercise for a barrel horse and rider. Practicing without actually doing the pattern is the best way to practice, I think! I can't wait to hear how your next run goes!

fernvalley01 said...

soo jealous it is approximately
a million below here, OK I exaggerate only about 1000 below

Crystal said...

lol Sherry you make me laugh! Although it is cold today for sure. I love all that extra work for ponies and making them do the same thing outside as in an arena.

Joyce Reynolds-Ward said...

I love doing this kind of work. Though, sadly, mine's mostly done in an arena these days...nonetheless, if an obstacle offers itself, I check it out.

When I was a kid, part of the pasture I schooled in was solid-bottom clay swamp. The grass anchored it pretty solidly, so it was easy to trot and lope through it in straight lines, zig-zag lines, serpentines. I think that was when I really developed a love for riding figures so lightly that I could turn my horse with a weight shift. Plus plowing through mud and tall grass sure made for some natural high-steppers!

(that said, I much prefer arena schooling on a regular basis these days. That particular mare was quite the bronc, and she hated arena work. Lots easier to have a horse who likes complex pattern work in an arena when I've got a day job...)

Laura said...

That sounds so fun!! Poor Moon should know better to resist for so long! hahaha I bet you guys will be in kick-ass shape soon!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That's what Mikey had me doing with Bombay, and now my trainer has me doing it too. I had never heard of circling bushes (or anything) as a way to get control of your horse before moving to Arizona. In Nevada it was all about keeping a tight grip on the reins, but then again I never had a trainer work with me outside of an enclosed space.

I remember being on a hike here and seeing a man's horse back up so fast that it ended in a rear, and then started spinning in circles chasing its own tail. The man was sliding out of the saddle and I stopped to help him in case there was a wreck. I actually thought the horse was doing all of that in an effort to throw the rider, but now I know the rider was making his horse do that to get it to settle down and behave since walking forward is a heck of a lot easier than all those acrobatics.

An hour an a half? The pinched nerve in my neck only lets me circle for so long, so my trainer sometimes keeps him circling while I try to relax in the saddle and not use my arms. We also work on standing still, and then as soon as the horse takes two steps in any direction, we start circling again.

Cindy D. said...

Hmmm, riding in the desert.... JEALOUS!!!!! lol

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kind of difficult to do with a cart... Hahahaha! I have to revert back to long lines to get that action going for driving. It did fix our walk though. Sunday night we had a noticeable difference between a working walk and his extended stretchy walk.

maybe one of these days you guys can come this way or Nuzz and I can head your direction...

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

CnJ-Right now I am just kind of hanging out hoping to get closed on this house. As soon as that happens, I have to run back to CO to grab my other horse and Megan, so I hate to make plans cause I don't know exactly when it will all come together. But once we are settled at the new place, you can bet I'll be making plans with friends.

Paint Girl said...

Sweet!! I wish I had that in my backyard! I would use it all the time! That is so great that you have all that space and bushes to work. Love it!

Cut-N-Jump said...

BECS- Mikey may have passed it along that I'm on the mend at the moment and not able to throw a leg over much of anything. Sucks, but things will work out on both ends in due time.

cdncowgirl said...

That is great exercise/work for any horse, but especially a barrel horse :) It's one of the things Ed talked to us about last year actually... working "barrels" without being on the pattern.