I assume it’s the same for anyone starting a baby horse, but figuring June out has been so eye opening for me. I don’t know how I would do it without the expertise of someone who has gone through it before, as things are constantly changing. Then it’s sealing in what you want and having that be the expectation. And then things change again. And while this could be the same pattern in horse training in general, I’m finding that with June, since she has no base of knowledge to work from, we’re both figuring out what we want together, even if what we want isn’t necessarily the same.
June’s connection has become so much more solid. We’re now working on not running through the outside shoulder and keeping her straight. We can keep the connection and stay straight on circles and in corners, but I work so hard on accomplishing that, that sometimes we lose our rhythm, and June quickens. On the flat, we’ve come a long way. We can canter in both directions, picking up the correct lead, but again, that falling through the outside shoulder is still a struggle. And June is far weaker going to the right, so there is a lot of swapping behind when I ask for connection in the canter. But, we’ll get there!
Our last few lessons we’ve concentrated on working over poles to a fence. As I mentioned in my last post, this usually starts out fairly easily. Losing the rhythm, and June taking over, usually happens as the exercise, or the jump height, builds. I’ve never had a horse as sensitive as June or as opinionated. She epitomizes “give an inch she’ll take a mile.” And while I love her work ethic, and her attitude of being an over achiever, sometimes I want to sit her in the corner and remind her she doesn’t know how to do EVERYTHING better than I do.
Seriously, though. Our lesson was great. But it takes just one ineffective ride and it can spirl. One time, I let her rush the fence in the last stride. She was SO proud of herself and cantered off after the jump even though she knew that we land, take a few canter steps and then halt. The next time around, fire breathing dragon appeared. But it’s so funny how she does it. Over the poles it’s: perfect angel, perfect angel, perfect angel, and then the last pole to the jump it’s: MUST GET THERE NOW.
I was definitely more effective in my riding than I have been and shut her down a few times. But that one time, where I don’t catch her in time, and she gets over the jump in an on the forehand ball of not listening? That means we will have to work even harder the next time around.
But the good news is, June is a quick learner. And while she will continue to try some antics to get her way, (including snorting and bringing her head down as she does so in order to try and get the reins longer,) all in all, we’re making progress. I feel like we could trot poles to a fence everyday for 6 months before she gives in and stops trying to take over, but that’s not what we’ll do. We will keep mixing it up, lots of work on the flat, challenge her other ways and soon, hopefully, I’ll have a horse who is light and off her forehand to the fence every time. I mean, it will look lovely and effortless, but we all know, I’ll continue to be working my butt off every single stride.