Friday, January 10, 2014

Random 5 Friday

1. There were a few comments on my last post that make me think that I didn't do a good job of explaining the whole "you can't push Winston" thing. Horses need to know who is in charge and that includes Winston. If he doesn't know who is in charge, he worries and fusses and pushes. I constantly remind him that I am in charge; from a firm foundation in ground manners, to respect of my space in the pasture, to riding. Winston does not get to choose what we do. At the same time, I believe that you teach a horse by working up to the edge of their strength and understanding. If you go over the edge, you risk having the horse lose confidence, get hurt, or hurt you (in Winston's case by erupting and tossing his rider). He is not a belligerent or mean horse. When Winston is frustrated with an exercise we don't quit. We change what we are doing and it is often something more physically demanding. We might take a couple laps at canter or working trot, for instance, before returning to work. Have you ever gotten so worried about something that you couldn't think straight? That's what happens with Winston and continuing to push just makes matters worse.

2. I haven't heard from J or from her trainer, Ale. I'm not going to call him although I'm sure he is very good. We can't get to his barn with our trailer and I couldn't get there before dark during the week anyway. I've been hoping to ride with a different trainer, down near Sacramento. Brett gave me some lessons with Sandy Savage for Christmas and I've scheduled my first one for the 20th. I'm VERY excited. She was recommended to us before our move from Southern California as a good fit. Her barn is close to work so I can meet Brett there in the late afternoon or evening -- especially when the days get longer.

3. Another gift that Brett gave me is a new garden gate. Right now we have a small metal gate which is perfectly functional. The hardest part about leaving Aspen Meadows was leaving behind my gifts from Brett: my garden, my greenhouse and my fountain. Now I will have a beautiful garden gate here in addition to the raised planter box he built me a few months ago.

4. Brett took Mufasa on a trail ride today with our neighbor, Cindy. They started out just past Coloma (where gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill) and rode down to the American River. The scenery was beautiful and Mufasa walked over logs, exposed tree roots, and into the river.

5. We have been bringing the dogs into the laundry room at night. Since the nights are very cold, we've been able to keep the window shut so Sedona can't knock out the screen and leave. In the summer, we will put them in the barn since it will be too hot in the laundry room. No more night time barking.


  1. "design modification accepted" LOL Good man!

    And I understand what you are saying #1. I was taught that the horse comes first before rider - if the rider cant adjust to the horse, then no ride. Thats why in Hunter/Jumper circles we would "catchride" all the time - makes for a better rider IMO who can adjust to different horses..One summer I rode 17 different horses!

    but then thats probably what makes us H/J's such snobs LOLOLOLOL

  2. In case my comment was misunderstood...

    What I meant was that a trainer who is used to pushing horses up through the levels in a competition environment, perhaps speedily, didn't sound good for Winston - exactly because of your explanation of him - that he gets frustrated.

    Those are nice presents. :D

  3. great post. I couldn't agree more. Irish used to buck when he was pushed beyond his ability to cope. And when he got over that he just became really tense. It may be that the potential rider has more experience with highly trained horse. It's good that she recognizes that they are not a fit.

  4. That Brett is a real keeper and he knows just what you like! As for Winston, he just needs a patient rider who will make sure he understands the language. It is my humble opinion that that comes first, before he has to do any high level competing. Usually short cuts and being in a hurry can cost you in the long run. You know him well now and he is really a good boy. Looking forward to your next lesson.

  5. I have a Hackney Pony that I also say shouldn't be pushed. I don't mean that I don't make him do something, or that I don't push him by training him new things. What I mean when i say it about my hackney... neither he nor I will benefit if I push him past a certain point when he is learning something new.
    Once he reaches a certain point, usually the tiniest bit of understanding, I have had to learn it is best to quit with that new exercise. If I try to continue he becomes very tense, and will hollow his back and become nervous.
    He has been a learning experience. We work on something new for a few minutes, then do some walk, trot, canter work, and then try the new movement again. And usually he can only handle going over the new movement two or three times a ride.
    I have also learned with him, that it is better to "quit while you are ahead." If he does what I ask once or twice,and does it very well, it is usually best to quit on that for the day, or I will lose the good improvement that we started with.

  6. Paige, your Hackney sounds a lot like Winston. I ride him in exactly the same way. Horses have distinct personalities and ways of learning; you have to adjust your training to the horse. Not the other way around.


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