RIDIN' NOT WRITIN'
The good riding weather brought my log
entries to a standstill. But, the ridin' has enabled me time
to reflect upon past and future entry subjects.
The progress for Plenty and Tempest this season has been good.
Tempest has completed three LD since May and Plenty has completed
four LD and three 50's. Both completed within the last hour of
the allotted time. So, no fuss over speed.
Plenty seemed to have depleted her mineral and/or vitamin reserves
but I think we have a handle on that and she is volunteering
on her rides once again.
Tempest moves along trip, stumble, hasn't fallen yet and is oblivious
to it all. She is riding in a shank snaffle and is just as lite
and responsive as in the Dee Ring Snaffle. We are very pleased
with her growth and progress. She will be five years old in March
of 2003 so we will see how she progresses. Her only negative
points are her camp manners. She will improve as time and miles
pass. We will keep riding, watch and wait, she will tell us in
her own time.
Their self confidence is developing because I don't ask them
for anything they are not prepared to do. I suggest and wait.
If they didn't hear me, I try again. If they ignored me, I put
them to work until they are ready to hear me. It's simple.
All the little subtleties I have been offering are finally coming
together. I prepare them as though I were going to show them.
The show situation requires that cues, or signals, are unobservable
so, that's the way I prepare them. The example is simple. If
I wish the horse to execute a maneuver I suggest with for example,
eight ounces of pressure. It would do no good to prepare by giving
five pounds pressure and expect the same maneuver with eight
ounces of pressure in the show arena. So, I prepare exactly as
though I were showing. Yes!! it does take a long time to prepare
a horse, longer than one would believe. But, the finished product
is more solid and capable of executing movements with ease and
Let's assume we are loping along relaxed. To stop, I will feel
the face, give my body signals and wait for the response. Consistency
on my part now pays off because the sequence of signals are exactly
the same everytime and the horse doesn't have to guess correctly.
The challenge to us is to detect our subtleties which in reality
are the signals or cues. There may be a sequence of two or three
but we give them whether we realize it or not. That is why it
is so difficult to analyze ourselves, we do so much automatically
"without thinking", oops, pilot error. Automatic can
be fine provided we can manually check each part to discover
any breakdown in the system. The horse is so sensitive and perceptive
that we overlook what we do, but he doesn't.
Were you able to put into writing how you ask your horse to stop?
It is more difficult than one would think. Once we begin analyzing
ourselves we can "simplify" our signals, thus increasing
our softness and consistency.
Softness is one of the keys to good communication with the horse.
My opinion is, we can never stop being too soft. Remember from
an earlier entry where I asked the question, "how soft can
you be?" It almost becomes a game with ourselves. How have
you been doing?
The subtleties, suggestions and feels all pay off in dividends
because they become to what the horse responds: Thus we are able
to ride our horse by doing less and receiving more. You may remember
I started riding Tempest last September and it has taken until
now for the pieces to begin going together. It's too simple,
we have to believe and practice until it becomes "automatic".
Wait them out. KEEP IT SIMPLE.