I’ve been starting slow with riding my ex racer. I spent the first couple weeks just getting to know her and letting her get to know me. Of course I had the hoof abscess to help me along with that. My adorable filly’s manners were some what lacking. I chalked that up to a few things.
1. Shes only just barley 4 years old
2. She’s a racehorse and sometimes acts like one
3. I’m a walking treat factory
I am compliant in her sometimes bad manners or rather sometimes no manners. She’s improving and I’m working on trying to have her earn her treats instead of just giving them out like the treat factory I am. I admit it I spoil her, I spoil my dog and my boyfriend too so I will always have this issue to deal with as its just kinda part of who I am.
When I first rode her we basically walked in both directions and did a little trot. She was responsive to me and tried real hard to understand what I was asking of her though it was clear to me she really didn’t know much. I was pretty pleased with the first ride. The second ride was in the out door area. Lots of distractions for her and she was distracted. We did a little walk trot and this is when the realization sunk in. This horse had no brakes. She didn’t know the cues for halting. After the second ride I started to think about how I was going to get my horse to stop.
I decided to walk her into walls. I would walk her into walls and when I asked her to stop right before the wall I would use over exaggerated cues. I would settle back into my seat, pull back on the reins and verbally ask her for a ho. (I don’t say whoa I say ho, its a habit I picked up a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away) I rode her a few more times just hacking about in the indoor and outdoor arenas so we could get a feel for each other and honestly I was saddle sore as hell, it had been a long time since I was on a horse and I needed to build up to it I’m sure as much as she did.
The other day we began our wall walking adventure. It was a quiet day at the barn, it was almost as if i had the whole place to myself. A rarity for sure. I walked her into the arena walls, back and forth, all the way up and all the way down the arena each time right before we’d get to the wall I would pull back on the reins settle back in my seat and say ho. It took two passes before the light bulb went off with her and she began to stop at each request. I moved on to asking her for a halt not only before the wall but half way to the wall. She complied. I stopped walking into walls and started going around the ring in both directions randomly asking her for halts. She complied. By george I think shes got it. We moved on to the trot. I quickly learned that walls were needed at this new gait. So we started the process again only this time at the trot. I’d say she got it about 60% of the time. Not bad for one days work! I went back the next day to make sure are new ability to halt sunk in. I started out in the walk and hot damn if she didn’t do it every time it was asked of her! This time I added in “back up” occasionally. Though she throws her head she will back up for me and she halted, every, single time at the walk. She improved at the trot as well, though not 100% of the time shes definitely improved.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with how fast my girl picked up her new ability to halt. I was besides myself with excitement and much praise for her. She’s a smart girl and wants to please, almost as much as she wants the peppermints always in my pockets.