Since I am about to leave for vacation tomorrow (cannot wait) and next week’s Equine Tuesday post will also be on vacation, I decided to write about my long-term goals.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Finnegan is not good on the long line. He tends to quickly back up in circles or flip out. This past summer I got him going well, but then this fall he fell back into his old ways and would randomly stop and back up in circles. I could not get him going again, despite everything I tried. Those sessions would usually ended with him standing in the middle of the ring looking smug and me banging my head on the round pen fence.
I know Finnegan responds best to consistency and lots of attention. So my long-term goal with him is to be patient and keep trying. The key will be to stop on a good note, even if he’s only been doing one small good thing for 10 seconds. He loves praise and I think I need to be more free with it. Now I just have to get over my frustration and approach our longeing sessions with an open mind and the drive to succeed in any possible way.
Timbre is much better on the long line, i.e. she will actually go in a circle, respond to voice commands, and listen. Because of her foot injury, I want to ease her in to longeing since it can be hard on her legs.
I don’t have a riding ring, nor do I have a trailer to take the horses to public riding ring. We live on a very hilly piece of property so schooling the horses is often very difficult. Luckily, my neighbors have a riding ring that they let me use. It is a bit of a hassle to get over there, but I am so grateful they let me school my horses in their ring because it has been a life saver a number of times. When my horses haven’t been worked in a while, they get pretty wild and mischievous (like many horses).
T and I will be working with Fin and Tim in the ring a lot, not only to work on their behavior, but also to improve our skills and their fitness. I can’t wait to actually canter with them in a controlled fashion within the ring. Maybe by next fall we will be schooling over small jumps – but that could be wishful thinking.
Finnegan is surprisingly well behaved on the trail. He tends to act up more in a ring (I guess he knows he has to work more in the ring). But he will sometimes startle at a deer running past or a dog running up behind him. He is also very tense when he is out alone, so it will be a while before I trail ride Finegan alone. He will need a lot of consistent riding before we get to that point.
Timbre, on the other hand, is the opposite of a cool cucumber. She tends to get herself worked up once we pass a certain point on the trail. She feels like a ticking bomb ready to explode at any time – certainly not material for a peaceful ride. She tries to wheel around and rush home. I do a lot of circling with her and we are slowly working our way further and further along the trail. The key is to refocus her energy and make her work a little so she can’t focus as much on her nervousness. Before a riding accident a year and a half ago, she was going really well on the trail. But now I feel like I am starting over again. At least I know she can be calm, which gives me something to work slowly toward.
The key for all these goals will be for me to find the time and the will to confront these problems. Like I said in past posts, my confidence is not what it used to be, so while my horses take baby steps in their training, I will be taking baby steps in building my confidence. This is why I started these weekly posts – to create small weekly goals to work toward.
When I return from vacation, I will dive headfirst into working with Fin and Tim and writing weekly goals and updates.