Friday, July 2, 2010

I Finally Got Mad!

Oh that may sound bad, but it was actually a very good thing to happen. Okay maybe not mad, but peevbed!

I rode Corrie on Thursday and she is getting more fit. She is thinning down a bit, getting a bit more muscle. We are starting to understand each other. Not quite there yet, but we are learning. Corrie is not sure that I mean what I say. I am not sure I mean what I say.

I think she also is a bit bored of the indoor and gets spooky just to liven things up. As we were riding around, after we did our ground work, she was still looky out the window. Then a bird landed on a blue barrel. I had a moment of "oh no", then she scooted, almost out from under me. I almost lost my stirrup and came off. But I didn't. (yeah me!) Then I had a few moment of "Should I just get off?" and then it hit me. She has enough energy to spook, but trotting forward is too difficult. Eff that!

I brought my energy way up, and asked for a forward trot and away we went. I was amazed that she was being so forward with out a battle. She would try to stop and I pushed her on. My mind filled with thing to do. We started making halt trot transition, at every halt we would so some flexing and then trot off to do it again. Darn mare can be darn sensitive when she wants to be!

I have been trying to figure out how to get her more forward with out bring out a whip. It is not that I don't believe is a good smack if it is well time and deserved, but like I said last time, I am not good at the "command" part under saddle. So finding out that just bring my energy way up makes Corrie step out is very encouraging.

So what is energy?

I have heard some pretty interesting responses to that question. Some think it is some new agey or natural horsemanship type of voodoo. Really it isn't. I want you to think about sitting in a chair. Your relaxing and just reading blogs. Basically you are at a very low energy level. You think to yourself, I really need to get up. But your energy is so low. So you sit there and work up a little energy to get up. Then you stand. That feeling you got just before you got up is "energy." If the phone rings and you jump up, that is a lot of energy. Does that explain energy a little better?

Corrie actually responds to my energy fairly well. Especially on downward transitions. That is how she was trained: if your relaxed, she is relaxed. Unfortunately I tend to be pretty low energy when I work with her. Another thing I need to work on.


  1. Bringing your energy up and down as needed isn't voodoo at all - it's reflected in your attitude, your breathing, your heart rate and all those things - and horses are exquisitely sensitive to those things. It's an amazing tool to use both to encourage a slow/dull horse to liven up and also to calm an excited horse down. It's very powerful, when used correctly - nice post!

  2. You just described my haffie to a T. Bodhi can be sooooo sluggish. But when he is bored he is very "looky"
    Not TB explode and snort mide you , but draft pony fixate and shuffle. We actually lose a lot of forward when he is doing this. I have learned to do just what you did.
    "If you want to be looky and spooky you need to go forward NOW." Walking on a loose rein is only permitted for a relaxed stretchy pony. The ADD pony needs to work.
    On a personal note I am like you and I had some major confidence issues. This kind of horse was my best medicine. They need you to be firm, but fare, you can not make them do anything but find the motivation and you have the lightest horse ever with the best work ethic. I personally really think positive reinforcement works really well with these guys. You own a donkey so you already have a head start ;)

  3. My 12-year-old and my 23-year-old horses both still spook quite a bit. I nearly found myself riding air when my mare did that scoot-out-from-underneath-me-sideways move when a butterfly flew off a barrel in an arena. The other day a hiker commented on the trail that my horse seemed nervous. I said that she spooks a lot. She said, "Some of them are just that way and they never get over it." That's when I decided to just view the spooking as a part of a way horse moves and learn how to keep my thighs clamped down hard enough that I can stay on, but keep my upper body relaxed enough that I won't tweak my spine or hurt a muscle in the process. I've spent 10 years trying to prevent spooks, and nothing has worked, so I just accept them and ride them out. Energy is an interesting subject. All I have to do is tighten up my pelvis and the horse will pick up speed. They pick up on the smallest adjustments in body, thoughts and attitude.

  4. Sounds like your figuring it out. Each horse has it's own energy level. For example with Sheba I have to amp mine way up to get her going. For Indigo I normally have to make it go way down. Indigo and I have similar energy levels. We know when it's time to relax and take everything in stride but haul off and work when it's called for. I think thats why we make such a good team. We can be gone into a gallop at the blink of an eye and back down to an ambling walk within that same thought.

  5. Channeling your energy is a great tool. Sounds like it worked well.

  6. Congrats on the breakthrough! My trainer is big on energy for creating a slow or forward trot (I used to take dressage lessons), so I know exactly what you mean. :) I'm proud of you for not getting off when you got scared. You did a great job!


Thank you so much for your positive comments. I love you hear from you!