Monday, 23 February 2009

Draw Reins

Okay, time to address the control issue. I have been advised to give draw reins a try as it will help to pull him together and force him to listen. I don't think he is deliberately fighting against me, I think he genuinely doesn't understand that when I tighten a rein he must give to it and not just pull back. I never feel that he's going to misbehave or take off, he's not that sort, but even so he needs to be responsive to me.

First go with draw reins on him Sunday 22 February. Wow, what a difference! I was trotting him around a small circle and he was bending, yes, bending! He wasn't falling in or trying to go sideways, he was bending around the circle. Fantastic!

I will do some training with these for a week or so, and then try him again without them and see what difference it has made. Fingers crossed.

Oh yes, we did a little bit of jumping too. He did a little spread which I was very pleased with although, as ever, he didn't expend any more energy than he absolutely needed to!


Last weekend was my birthday so me Jasmine and Angie all went out for a nice Sunday morning hack over the meadow which we haven't done for ages. It's the first time Santana has been to the meadow so it was a whole new experience for him. There was still some snow lying on the ground. There are several places for a canter around the meadow, so first we went down the path to the bottom and took the looong track which goes the whole way from one end to the other. It must be at least a quarter mile if not more. That was fab, it really blew the cobwebs away.

Then, as there were people walking their dogs further along that track, we walked back halfway along the path we had just cantered along to the track up the hill in the middle of the meadow. Jasmine went up first on Penny, the Angie's horse Mysti was getting quite agitated, wanting to go so I told Angie to go up and I would follow. My intention was to keep to a nice controlled canter. It wasn't to be. Just as Angie let Mysti go the bird scarer went off, acting like a starting pistol and off we shot! Oh yes, Santana can gallop! What's more, Mysti gallops like a racehorse, but Santana was holding his own and just about keeping up with her. It didn't feel that fast (not like my old horse, ex-racer Wolfie) but he has such a long loping stride that he covers the ground without any effort.

This was all fine and good, but halfway up I thought I'd take a pull to see what reaction I got ....and there was no reaction whatsoever. I leaned back and heaved on the reins to no effect ...oops! I knew he would stop at the top because the others were there but it was a tad worrying to know that I had so little control.

I really need to do something about that, he really needs to have a better mouth, but I don't want to use a stronger bit.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Riding - At Last !

Yay! Today, I rode for the first time in a week and a half. (Not counting the time I rode Jasmine's pony inside the barn bareback!). At last there was enough of a thaw to get the horses further than a couple of yards beyond their field gate. All the tracks on the farm have been like an ice rink so I haven't even been able to take him up to the yard to feed him. Fortunately there's a hay barn just by his field gate so I've been feeding in there this week.

They've used so much hay that there's a large empty space in the middle of the barn so on Sunday Jasmine and I rode Catrin around bareback because we were getting withdrawal symptoms from not riding!

Today we tacked up and went out into the front field which was still covered in pristine snow. It was very wet underneath and I was very wary about Santana slipping. Jasmine, meanwhile, doesn't have a care in the world and was off cantering down the straight side. We did follow and had a sedate canter too though. Then we went splashing through the 'lake' on the other side. We only rode for about 15 minutes but it was bliss!

Had enough of snow now, roll on spring.