Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Assistant Trainer

I randomly had today off work.  When I found out that I wasn't working today, I texted my trainer and asked if I could tag along/ shadow/ help out today.   She said she would love it!

She had one lesson, and 5 horses to ride.  I got to the barn about halfway through her lesson.  The lesson was a woman from the old barn that I have gotten to ride with a bit.  It was fun to catch up and see the lesson.  

First she rode her horse Rooster.  It was fun to watch.  I don't see her going fast very often, since usually she doesn't advocate going fast.  (That's probably saying it the wrong way, but I'm too tired to think.  She has no problem going fast, but she teaches her students that you should have just as much work with your horses at ever gait, not just galloping around.  And of course, she usually only rides at a slow pace since she doesn't want her students to try to do something that they are not advanced enough to do.  Anyways, the point was that she is hardly ever galloping around, and it was fun to watch)

Then, I got on Rooster to cool him out while she went to get her Filly.  (Woohoo, first time on a substantial horse in like six months!) 

Her Filly in training is the beautiful Pinto Hanoverian.  Shes just hitting the 30 day mark on her training, and she is freaking awesome.  She got on her, and could feel that she seemed a bit hot and unresponsive.  She got a few good responses at the walk, then hopped off.  I tied rooster up, and we free lunged the Filly.  We each took a side of the arena and had her do figure 8's.  She was doing beautiful flying lead changes across the diagonal.  She bucked up a storm, galloped around, and let us know when she was done being stupid.   Once she got back on her, she gave her really quality stuff.  Seriously, this fillly is naturally a beautiful mover and super balanced.  

Then, we put both of them away and went to get LBM (Little Big Man) and her Colt (who came with the filly.  Also a hanoverian.) 

We saddled LBM (who is a 'gaited' horse and crazy.  Basically, Pony if she had been started by a terrible trainer that ruined her. He has the same mindset as her, but he freaks out ten times worse, he's the weirdest horse ever.) and left him to stand for a little while (comeon, its good for any horse!) and we also saddled her Colt.  

The colt is a huge Hanoverian, just like the filly, but even bigger.  They are from the same owners, and arrived at the same time, but the Filly is way further along than the Colt.  My trainer works with them the same amount, but the Colt is way more sensitive and has simply needed the extra ground time.  She has still not been on him more than hanging all over him.  He produces MASSIVE bucks that will get off nearly anyone, so she wants to be sure to set him up for success, so he doesn't realize that bucking will get him out of work.  So, we saddled him and took him into the arena along with driving reins.  We put on a headstall and driving reins and drove him around the arena.  This was his second time doing this.  When he was doing really good, we took him out and drove him around the barn.  He got stuck in a few spots, but eventually figured out his 'release' and was really good.  

I guess whoever had done ground work with him before had done parelli and a few other things, but basically not well.  Because while he was 'respectful' of your space, he was terrified of being near you, touched, the whip, anything.  I guess she would take him into the round pen and he would automatically start sweating and shaking.  So thats pretty much why it took her so much longer to get somewhere with him than it did with the Filly.  

She rode LBM after that, which was of course fun to watch.  He always makes me laugh because he's just like Pony! (But whoever started him/owned him for years never gave him release so he will explode pretty easily)

Then, she went to get her Arab rehab and I got pony and we both worked on a lot of transitions.  Specifically a walk to lope transition.  Pony got a little crazy at one point, basically a controlled galloping away with me.  She gets like that sometimes, and I always try to just ride her through it thinking that she relax into it.  However, trainer said that sometimes thats the right thing to do, but sometimes she is really just running away with me.  She said that if I give her a few circles and she doesn't relax into her lope, then I should sit back, say whoa, and if she doesn't respond then park her ass in the sand.  

I have always been reluctant to do that since I thought it was giving her a reward for being silly by letting her stop.  But what she said made sense, that having her face yanked on is not fun, and since she  was essentially running away with me, that I'm not being to harsh by yanking on her, as long as I give her a chance to stop on her own first.  So she got crazy, and she didn't work down from it, so I stopped her and refocused her and then she gave me a beautiful lope, so although I never wanted to do that before because it is 'rewarding' her, it really isn't.  

Anyways, I had a great day, and I learned a heck of a lot.  Also, I'm so happy that I have a trainer that is happy to have me come out and learn and such, she explained what she was doing at all times and why!

And look at pony at the end of the day :)

http://youtu.be/pEk9PaiiFHk

My favorite part is around 43 seconds when she goes flying back across the arena, she looks so pretty :)

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