Saturday, October 27, 2012

Opinionated Cobs

With Sandy breathing down our necks, I was determined to get some rides in before weather grounds me. First up was Comrade.
I already decided to go out on trail with him, but started in the arena. Good thing I did. Comrade seemed to think the ghosts and goblins were already in the arena. Especially in the car that had been sitting and then moved. That sent him taking off across the arena. That boy can move when he wants to. Fortunately a one rein stop worked great. After that the trees and leaves were scary.  You know that is where the goblins hide, right?
Well, lateral work into circles with lots of changes of direction finally made him remember he had a brain between those ears. Now I could head out for the trail. Time to play over some jumps and move through the leaves. I love this time of year.
Tic Tac Toe 3 jumps in a row :)
These jumps are not big, but they are on a hill. Comrade has to push to go over them. He tends to be a bit lazy over the first, give a really good jump over the second and smooth over the last, which you can just see in the picture. This series also heads towards the barn so he has more incentive.
Quarter circle with two jumps
 Okay for Comrade these are more like raised trot poles. Someday I will make him jump them, but today I was happy with him moving over them in stride with energy.
Multi option jumps
 This jump can lead to a number of connecting lines. One you can see in the picture to the right. Another is straight and down a little hill to a similar jump. I love to use this area of jumps to work on his turn response. When I first took him out here, it was like turning a yacht. Now he is almost like a speed boat. There is another uphill series of jumps near this jump that makes a great series.
Comrades BIG jump
 The jump is not really big at all, but for some reason Comrade always jumps this one big and round. I like to make this jump the fourth in line after that first series of three. After there is another jump to the right. If I really want him to work I make him jump as if he were coming towards you in the picture. It is a baby drop jump that way which makes him think about his feet.
Comrade says "where are he bigger jumps?"
Peggy is working on raising the jumps to give him more challenge. Plus Mom wants to make some coop and tire jumps. Even little they are still fun to play with, especially with all the leaves. After all his theatrics earlier, he handled the haunted woods well :)

From one Cob to the next, Rosemary. I was really mean to her. I brought her in and left Dottie outside. How dare I separate the girls. Oh well she could be the drama queen until it was time to work.
Rosemary and I have gone back to nearly square one.  She has been super opinionated with me and we clash and end up getting frustrated. Me more than her. So I took a lesson from Clinton Anderson. Moving on a loose rein at the speed I choose and following the fence, When we started, she kept wanting to trot to get her way. If she moved faster than I wanted, I used one rein to do a stop into lateral flexing. Rosemary thought this was a good time to use the stirrup to rub her nose. Once she relaxed and stood still, I asked her to walk on. During this exercise she also kept trying to turn towards the barn. To the point of bulging shoulders and swishing tails. Enter following the fence lesson. With this the horse is suppose to learn to stay along the fence. If the horse drifts beyond a preset parameter, one rein guides the horse back on track. I only have an open field, so my "fence" was the cut lines from the tractor in the grass and the gravel road between fields. If Rosemary went into the uncut grass, I led her back to the cut grass. It was not a quick fix, stubborn pony, but she did finally manage to go both ways with only a few drifts. The best part was she even walked by the turn for the barn. Of course right after that she must have seen one of Comrade's goblins because she spooked big time. I made her work a little longer then called it good.
Setting goals at the beginning helped me stay focused and calm. I got off not feeling frustrated, but successful. Having a green pony is tough, especially one so opinionated. I am going to take baby steps and hope we both learn along the way.
So two Cobs were conquered, but don't get me started on one Draft Mare who is feeling much better.

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