Since I got to AZ with the horses, I have had deafening silence from the gal that said she was interested in Frosty. (cue crickets). But all of the sudden it's not that big of a deal. My husband made my jaw drop and my heart flutter by asking me if Buddy (the old TB) was gentle enough for him to ride.
Unfortunately, NO! Buddy is not a nice, quiet, trail horse kinda guy. He looks old and acts old when you are around him on the ground, but step on and he is all fire-breathing dragon...most of the time. He's pretty quiet in an enclosed area, but can get pretty hot, pretty quick in that setting too. So no beginners for this guy, no matter how old and decrepit he looks. :-)
Those of you who have known me the longest know that THIS is a huge deal! MH expressing an interest in r.i.d.i.n.g.?....I'm all over that like a fly on honey. In 13 years, I have gotten MH on a horse, ONCE!
I should make it perfectly clear...It has never been a problem for us. MH has interests that I am not into and although he has asked me a few times if I would like to join him in doing them, I decline and he is fine with that. It's the same with the horses. It's my thing and not particularly MH's. It's not that MH doesn't like horses, he just hasn't had much interest...or time...to do anything with them, outside of pitching hay and filling waters for me when I'm on the road.
Now obviously, MH could ride Moon out on the trails, but probably the best horse I have for MH would be Frosty. The big, lazy buckskin. So all of the sudden, it's not a priority to get him moved. If MH only rides him a dozen times a year, puttering around out in the desert with me, and MH is safe on him, and likes riding him...That is good enough.
In the meantime, I'm going on with my plans to turn the horse into a gymkhana horse. Frosty has really settled into the barrel and pole pattern, but we continue to struggle in one little area...
His lead changes. It took me forever and a day to get the horse to even do a flying lead change and to accomplish that, I finally had to get after him by swatting him on the hip with a crop. It's not a physical thing because he is perfectly capable of going from one lead to the other with just a a slight break in gait. He's just that f*ing lazy that he didn't want to pick up his hip and change on the fly.
The problem now is not that he won't change leads between 1st and 2nd barrel, it's that he is worried about the lead change. He's thinking about that instead of thinking about the 2nd barrel. So even when he does change, he's still not getting positioned for the 2nd turn in time and wants to blow out of the backside. I wasn't quite sure what to do to fix it. It's not something that you can just keep working on and working on while patterning because your horse quickly associates nervousness and worry with that run between the barrels.
Then this little gem popped up...
This is perfect. I can work on the lead change without creating tension and worry between the 1st and 2nd barrel. He knows the pattern well enough that in his mind, he will be 'off pattern' and then only allowed to come back 'on pattern' when he is relaxed and willing to change his lead.
Funny thing is, back when I was training Moon, I did a similar exercise for him, except Moon's problem was that he was changing his leads too soon so I would lope him around the barrel, then go up and lope more circles, going the same direction, at the top of the barrel. It was a way to make Moon hold his inside lead until he had completed the turn. My mom just hated when I did those kinds of exercises because she swore I was going to ruin Moon's pattern. Ed Wright is also not a big fan of 'exercises' either....so I guess over time I sort of just stopped using them. On the other hand, Charmayne James is a big fan of exercises and includes a lot of them in her book, which is where I got the one I used on Moon from. I think I am going to be going back to more of what I am comfortable with this year and that includes a lot of exercises.
BTW-For 1st and 2nd barrel, the 'top of the barrel' is always the side of the barrel that is away from the gate. The 'bottom of the barrel' is the side that is closest to the gate and the 'backside of the barrel' is the side that is closes to the fenceline. 3rd barrel references are generally, 'Going into' and 'Coming out of'. The side that is closest to the fenceline can be referred to as both, 'the topside' or 'backside'.