Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wherein We Take a Lesson

AKA "Courage is the best at flailing" AKA "WHO LET THE RACEHORSE OUT?"

When S came out to give us a lesson, it was the second time she had ever seen Courage. The first time, he was just a couple weeks off the track and we hauled to her barn and hacked around for some exposure. We never even trotted.

She watched us walk around for about thirty seconds and honed in on our issues immediately. "He needs to be more responsive to your leg," she said. She talked about being very still in the saddle and using my aids effectively vs nagging him constantly. I think redheadlins wanted to hit me with a bat, since she's pretty much said the same thing every ride. Oops.

Anyways. We started out just doing walk/trot transitions on a circle. Because the little dude is a quick learned, he figured it out in about two circles and was all "OMG LOOK AT ME I AM THE BEST AT GOING FORWARD FROM THE LEG". Yeah, it was pretty cute. I had to focus really hard on keeping my heels down and my leg very, very quiet.

Then we did trot/canter transitions. He's always been pretty good at these, but he cross-applied the principles really well and was quite snappy. We did some nice work on the left lead, then changed directions.

We picked up the right lead nicely once. We came back to trot and re-balanced, all very polite. We picked up the right lead a second time and all of a sudden I had C-rage's head in my lap and legs were going everywhere and his butt had disappeared and I had no idea what was happening. I pointed him at the arena fence to get combobulated since obviously reins were getting me nowhere and S shouts "KICK HIM AND KEEP ON GOING!!"

So I did. He got himself put back together and we carried on. Huh.

After the goofy halt
We chatted for a bit while he stood on a loose rein. Then we were off to do a pattern/quasi dressage test. Courage was all "GOING FORWARD IS SOOOOO FUN LOOK HOW FAST I CAN TROT I AM THE BEST AT FAST". He did the classic green horse halt at x, running forward with his mouth gaping and his nose straight in the air. All I can do is laugh and say "Really. He's never, ever done this before."

We go through the pattern, working on managing his rhythm with my posting and staying completely out of his face so he can focus on forward. All is well (and fast) until we come around the corner and pick up the right lead. He sort of launches forward and flings his legs in all directions and his head is flying and I have no idea what's happening.

As per S, I just keep kicking him forward and stay out of his face. I pick a point and ride to it (giving him direction) and just completely ignore his nutso spaz fit. I still had no idea what he was doing, but he's very balanced while doing in it, so I just stayed in the middle. Every time we hit the longside of the arena by the hay barn, he's scoot off again, but slightly less dramatically than the last time. He even threw in a mini buck, which was strange and sort of hilarious.

First lesson complete
Once we got a little more organized and less spastic, I brought him back to the trot. We did some serpentines to get him balanced and focused, then a little more (spaz free) canter, and ended with big serpentines across the arena to engage his hind end.

And then we walked over to chat with S and he stood on a loose rein like nothing ever happened. Goof head.

Lindsey was a little too busy "watching" and "paying attention" to get video of our more epic flails, but here's some lesson video with his first attempt towards the end.

It was definitely a learning curve for both of us and I'm still laughing about his antics. He got Monday off, but I'm looking forward to putting our lessons to use this week and seeing what we can take away. Many thanks to S for teaching and Linds for videoing and taking pictures! 


  1. That trot is really fancy once he starts stepping out!

  2. Always happens when you want to put on your best show doesn't it!

  3. Lol, I'm sure he will work it out soon enough, he seems bright and willing. At least he did act up when you had a trainer there to help you work through it.

  4. The flailing is cute. (Because I'm not the riding it haha). you have an awfully nice horse on your hands. You have done such a good job with him!

  5. Courage is such a lovely horse! (flailing or no, lol)

  6. He is going to make such a cute little dressage horse!

  7. He is so cute! You guys look great, even with the flailing lol.

  8. Looking good. Courage has a really nice trot and a good canter too. Keep thinking dressage, even though you really want to jump. My best hunter had some pretty serious dressage training and it made huge difference in his show ring performances. It's worth the time and effort.

  9. Keep working! We all know that the dressage comes with time, practise, and consistency :) You're doing a great job with Courage, so happy you guys are rocking it together!

  10. I like his canter. You did a really nice job sitting in the middle of your horse during his special moves. I think his trot actually looked improved afterward. Maybe you should add flailing to your training toolbox. Loosened him up or something. ;)


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