I rode Connor, our good looking palomino, for a second time over the weekend. He did really nicely, a lot better than last Thursday. Several of you have asked for more details about what I’ve been doing with him. I have two longer posts I’m working on, one about some of the specific exercises I’ve been doing with him and one that’s a bit more general about evaluating and retraining the rescue horses. I’m planning to finish them up and post them both later this week.
He was ten times more responsive on Saturday for ride number two than he was on Thursday. I think it really helped that I didn’t demand much on Saturday–we stood around for a long time and really only walked several small circles before I got off. I rode him for 10-15 minutes on Saturday. Lots of woah and go, and lots of work on steering, mostly working on small circles and figure-eights.
Connor tends to tense up and brace when he feels the rein cue. So, I would put him on a circle, then immediately stop him and reward him when I felt him starting to bend, soften and give to the pressure. Our circles were looking and feeling a bit more decent by the end!
Again, slow and steady wins the race. It’s always better when we go at the animal’s pace and give them time to think about what’s happening. Karleen, at Clickety Split wrote about this principle today on her blog, expanding on some of the ideas I touched on in my posts about riding Tex. Check it out, I think she makes some really great points about how it’s not just our animals, but us as well, who need to take time sometimes to stand around and think.
Also, I think we’ve found someone to adopt Connor! She came out and met him on Sunday and really liked him. She realizes he still needs some refresher work and plenty of miles under saddle, but she is an experienced rider and should get along nicely with him.
We have a really nasty storm system blowing in for most of this week, so she decided to wait until after the weather passes to get everything finalized and move him to his new home. He’s been a fun horse to work with for the past month, but it’s always nice when they get adopted. He’ll get more one on one attention and it will give us more time to work with some of the other horses who also need more training.