Friday, March 20, 2009


The mud has finally dried up a little bit, so I went out and got Halo worked on Wednesday. My surcingle arrived in the mail last week, so I was excited to try it out. Since it didn't come with much padding, I decided to rig up something half-assed with the pad from my jumping saddle. It looks silly, but was functional. Here's Halo modeling my frankenhorse training equipment:

Halo was a bit fresh on the longe, but I wasn't surprised. I hadn't been able to work her well the previous weekend thanks to everything being so muddy. The funniest thing about her antics on Wednesday was that every so often she would decide the girth was eating her and crowhop while kicking her feet toward her belly. I think next time I am going to try my dressage girth, which is padded, to see if she is more comfortable with that. The girth shouldn't have been rubbing her wrong, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. If she still kicks up, then I will treat it as misbehavior rather than a discomfort issue. Wednesday, I simply encouraged her to maintain the gait I'd asked for, and she settled quickly.

Despite some extra energy, I was pleased overall with her workout. However, we did have a big oops - but it wasn't Halo's fault at all. Nobody else was at the barn, though one of the property owners was at the house. When I took Halo up to the arena I didn't close the gate. She's usually good, so I figured, "eh, no big deal." I'm sure you all know how this is going to end.

As I mentioned, Halo had an abundance of energy. There are always jumps set up in the arena, which we usually just ignore and work around. None of them are more than about 2 feet tall. Miss Halo, in one of her spastic moments, got strong on me and went straight for a jump. I couldn't turn her without creating a crash, so I decided to let her choose to either stop or go over it. She chose to go over, and the longe line didn't clear the jump standard. I had two choices - hang on and let her pull the jump down with her face, or let go. I chose the latter.

Immediately after I let go, I realized what an idiot I was for not having shut the arena gate. Halo beelined for the round pen, went in there and pranced halfway around before realizing that the gate back to the barn was open too. She was home free! She took off for the barn with me jogging after her. Although she did some snorting and blowing, the minute she found a patch of grass by the tackroom, she had her head on the ground and was eating contentedly. Luckily she didn't get hung up on anything on her flight back to the barn, and it's not too far a distance either. I was extremely embarrassed, and also relieved that Halo was unhurt.

Though we had been close to the end of our workout, I didn't want to end with letting her escape. So back up to the arena we went, and I long lined her for the last 15 minutes or so. She was quiet and well-behaved for all of it, and we even long lined with the bit this time. When I finally stopped her, I unbridled her in the arena and she led placidly back to the barn.

This time it's mom who learned the lesson - close the gate!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Isn't that the way it always works out with horses? If you forget one little thing or slack off, somehow something bizarre happens to take advantage of it. I have embarrassing moments pretty much every time I attempt to train a horse. Yet without those little lessons, we wouldn't progress. I've probably learned more from my horses than I did in all 7 years of higher education.

smottical said...

So true! It's always the one time you don't have your bases covered that something will go awry. I'm glad I'm not alone in having embarrassed myself as part of the training process. I'm sure future embarrassment is in store as well.