Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trail Practice

This weekend the Royal Stewart indoor arena at stateline held an open house for trail riding enthusiasts. It was a perfect opportunity to go practice blundering through scary obstacles and helping to get the green colts to conquer their fears. Both of my horses experienced minor strokes at the beginning.....but slowly and surely started to settle into it the more we were there. Some folks showed up with mini horses - (which Octopelle thought were small bears....) and there were lots of boarding horses screaming and banging things in their stalls creating a general rukus and totally chaotic environment. This was a good learning experience for my young guys. Neither Suzette nor Octopelle have ever been inside an indoor arena before, let alone experiencing a challenging trail course and manuevering around other riders. Although we didn't try every obstacle, (some were really advanced for completely broke horses, and would've gotten me bucked off for sure!), but we did over half of the ones that were there. It was a great first time learning experience for both of them.

This was a very tough one for Suzette. I had to go through it more than a couple dozen times to get her calmed down. She freaked out and took off like a rocket the first time we attempted it. There are big pine bows on the other side to create movement after the horse steps off the bridge - and since she is so short, my feet would always bump one of the barrels on each side, creating even more movement. Combine the two moving obstacles and the deep booming sounds of hooves going over the bridge, and it was unnerving for her. But, we did it. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again......until it wasn't an issue anymore.

Octopelle had a hard time with the ground poles, which I thought was weird. I have them setup in the pasture to practice all the time and he goes over them great - but we were in a strange place and his attention was on all the other horses and scarey objects, so he kept tripping over the poles like a total dork. We kept practicing until he had full concentration and picked his feet up.


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