On the line

Following up on yesterday’s post, I’m continuing my investigation on what’s up (if anything) with Nay Nay. I’m struggling with the heat and some newfound sun sensitivity. It turns out, I now turn into a tomato in the sun thanks to some medication…even when wearing SPF 70. So, I’ve been playing around with different sunscreens and seem to be doing better with mineral-based sunscreen (zinc oxide). But, if I walk outside, I need sunscreen. And I need to remember sunglasses because now my eyes burn too (new discovery–even in 5 minutes).

img_4043Anyway, it’s a struggle to haul out all the time to ride (I really should ask my neighbor behind me if I can use his ring across the street, but that’s a conversation for another time (I probably would need a gate at the bottom of the field for that to work anyway). But, regardless, Nay Nay could use more work than 3 days a week. I just hate hauling out 5 days. So, I’m thinking I could ride 3 times and put him to work on the longe line 2x week.

Nay Nay was…less than thrilled with this plan. It turns out he “knows” how to longe but he doesn’t know how to longe. See, longing has been used to expel energy. He goes on the line, trots and/or canters around and when he’s done/had enough, he stops. This is not how I use the line, but it’s very common for a lot of people. Nay Nay was NEVER taught to walk on the line or trot on command and as a result canter on command. He just does what he wants. He’s OK with moving forward on command which is OK because sometimes that’s what I’m asking, but I want him to walk when asked too.

We had some fireworks to the left. I’m realizing that I really need some actually footing in my round pen vs grass, but we’ll see. I have to figure out how much that would cost. While Nay Nay was “galloping” around, I realized how little he knew and developed my plan for the right.

To the right? We were going to walk. Nay Nay was NOT on board. But, we walked. For 15 minutes, we worked on commands. Slowing increasing the amount of line Nay Nay had access to. And I think we got somewhere.

Things he learned?

  • Walk and one cluck does not mean trot or fly forward
  • Easy does NOT mean woah (this was hard, but he got there pretty quickly — he wants to be good)
  • Commands to move out
  • The whip doesn’t necessarily mean speed
  • Woah (turns out, he didn’t know this one and I didn’t realize that)

Things I learned?

  • Walking is hard. Especially on a slight incline (my property is NOT flat). When it gets hard, Nay Nay will trot because trotting is easier.
  • Nay Nay is a quick study and wants to please
  • Holes in training make things harder but explain a lot (I never realized he didn’t have a woah)
  • Time at the walk will be really, really important
    • Nay Nay was flexed to the outside when we started. After a while, he started to relax his neck and looked really good. That said, this really showed off how weak he is to the right (especially in his hind end) as he couldn’t hold this for long before he’d either flex to the outside, break into the trot, or stumble behind. If we can work consistently at the walk WITHOUT me on his back to build up strength? I think we might get somewhere…

Anyway, I’m going to play around with some walk work for awhile at home. Hopefully, if we can cut the fireworks in the beginning we can do a little more at the walk in both directions.

 

9 thoughts on “On the line

  1. Its crazy how some things you just dont even think about being a thing to check. And then when you realize its missing you think oh of course I should have checked that. Why didn’t I?
    I hope the work on the line helps you guys out. He seems like a good horse, just in need of some more guidance and learning. Good luck!

  2. I’m not a great lunge trainer. I know this about me. And I keep getting horses that don’t really know how to lunge! I was spoiled with Rio and Jampy. Eros I think lunges too, but never really have with him. But Shiny? Forget it. That horse, as perfect as I pretend she is, has ZERO work ethic. So forget the lunge line she says!
    Good for you for finding these holes though! I’m sure you’ll get through them quickly now that you know they are there.

  3. It sounds like a productive session to find out what holes there are. I want to hear the story about the ring across the street as that sounds like a great easy option for when you can’t or don’t want to haul out

    • The barn I haul to is a mile drive and takes me… 3 minutes to get there (longer to get home because I take a longer 2 mile drive home so I can go up my road to better get into my driveway). The neighbor behind me also has a farm with a ring across the road (he has horses at my trainers barn too). The issue is we’re divided by a creek and I’d have to cross the creek, clean up my no-mans land land on the otherside of the creek, and then walk through his propery and cross a road. Somedays I think, easy! And then I go back to the creek crossing. The creek is the issue as I’m hesitent to touch the damn thing. Site of the former illegal culvert and all that…

    • I remember those posts but I’ll have to go look at them now that I actually have a greenbean vs a Subi… LOL.

      I have to say, the more I think about, the more I think the time at the walk will help. If I can get through the “training” part of it, I can actually build muscle. I mean, I have hills. I can actually work him outside of the round pen on different hilly parts of my yard and make him work his butt muscles. If that doesn’t improve strength… The rain just needs to hold off. So I figure I have August?

  4. That sounds like really good exercises you can do at home! I actually consider Amber’s lunging her “calming exercises.” If she’s still anxious I have her walk or jog on the lunge. After years of doing this, she chills out really fast. I think it’ll be great to work on that right side on the lunge line for him!

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