Sunday, October 5, 2014

Training: Cross-tie drama and impromptu lesson

Today was one of the very few days Max really got on my nerves. He was soooo antsy at the cross-ties and refused to keep still. He acted like there were spiders crawling on the ground and climbing all over him. Seriously! Chill out horse!!

I was about to give up and take him outside to tie him to a post instead when my trainer walked in and said "No, he needs to learn to stand quietly at the cross-tie, even if it's a nice day and all his friends are outside". 

So that's what we did. I put a lead rope on him and every time he started to jig around I'd put him back in the middle. 

I even started to braid his mane. Boy did he hate that. He tried all kinds of tricks to get out of it, including more jigging, head-tossing, stretching his nose forward like the silly goose he is. What a naughty boy!!

At that point I was losing patience but I stuck to it. His mane was getting braided and that was that. He's had 22 hours of playing around in his paddock doing whatever he wants. He can give me half an hour at the cross-ties.

Anyway..he calmed down slightly by the end..but he sure wasn't the same quiet horse he is in the evenings. I'll have to come up with a training plan to get him to be obedient at the cross ties - All. The. Time. 

I was concerned he would take this bad attitude to the ring, but as soon as I tacked him up and got him out he was as mild as a lamb. My trainer was supposed to ride Max today..but I was having so much fun in warm-up she offered to give a lesson instead. I was torn, but I couldn't pass up riding him in a lesson!!

We worked on giving aids and then keeping quiet when he gave me what I wanted. This went well and soon he was forward thinking. Then we moved on to learning when he was on the bit and when he 'faked' it. She asked me to give pressure in the outside reign by squeezing my ring finger, and supplementing it with inside leg. If he tosses his head, or if I feel looseness in the outside reign then he is faking it. If he curls forward, with pressure in the bit then he is accepting the bit. This was good to know and apparently he fakes it more going left than going right. Aha! Busted!

We ended the lesson with a superb canter to the right. He lowered his head and I could actually feel his back lifting me up. It was just awesome!! He got LOTS of praise from both myself and my trainer.

The day just kept getting better. The BO mentioned she has a stall open so Max is welcome to it if we wanted. I happily accepted and Max is now tucked away nice and warm in a stall as we speak! He gets turn-out during the day, but it's nice to know he has a dry stall to dry his feet out at night. Plus it will be so much easier for me in my evening rides. No more trekking past the forest to his paddock in the dark. That walk is super creepy by myself at night!!

On another note, I want to give a shout-out to Viva Carlos for her Thousandth post anniversary!!
She's a super cool horse-loving blogger, and also one of the first folks to visit and comment on my blog. That's just so super nice of her!!

Saxophone-playing pony says "Congratulations!"


  1. nice lesson! sorry Max was so antsy in the cross ties tho - but good on you for sticking with it! he'll figure out soon enough that it's no big deal

    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement! I hope so! He is a bit sore in the back so I'm putting him on a round of Magnesium. Also going to start at the cross-ties from the ground up. He may need a reset to get out of this bad habit. Will post updates ^.^