Monday, January 23, 2012

So Much for Riding This Week!

Well I didn't ride at all this week, and most likely won't ride before my next lesson on Thursday. . .

I stuck to my plan and drove Louie yesterday.  He was a little wound up, but we didn't have any trouble working through it. . . . until I asked him for an extension along a straight away.  I tapped him with the whip a few times and he crow hopped, felt the crupper, then started kicking out badly, up over my head, I was scared for my life.  I tried to work him through it, but he caught one of my reins with his hind leg so it was wrapped under his leg.  He was speeding around a corner, still bucking and running and I had no control.  Feeling that it was wiser for me to bail out and save being kicked in the face since I had no control with my rein lost, I rolled myself back out of the cart and Louie kept going. . .

He only ran less than a lap around before he stopped and stood while one of my barn mates caught him.  I unhooked him right away and checked us all over.  There didn't seem to be any damage to me, Louie, or the cart, so I started off long lining Louie in some circles at a trot to settle us down, knowing that I would have to hook him again to preserve our driving abilities and avoid building fear. 

After a little while of long lining he seemed to have settled down, so I re-hooked him and drove for about 5 minutes, both ways, some circles at the walk and trot, and other than being timid with the whip, we didn't have any issues. 

Today, I needed to regain some ground, and while it was too stormy/windy to drive today, I put the harness on (with my kicking strap that will now become a permanent fixture on the harness), hooked some side reins and a lunge line and set out to work out some issues.  I knew that he would be likely to buck/kick on the lunge line when fresh and stormy, so this was a perfect opportunity.

After a little while, I asked Louie to canter on the lunge (which nearly always produces some sort of buck/kick/jump), and when he set out to canter and let out a little buck stride, I growled at him, pulled on the lunge line, used the whip at the same time.  Well whatever I did sure got his attention.  He did the same thing once or twice more, and I did my best to show that that sort of behavior is NOT acceptable.  By the end of the lunge lesson (which by the way did cause Louie to work up a pretty good sweat), he was making decent trot-canter transitions both ways on the lunge line, with no funny business. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to drive again soon to cement to skills that we worked on today, with the kicking strap as my safety net.  I was just thankful nobody got hurt!

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