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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Begin Again


After making the decision to send Apollo for some trail miles and then deeply regretting it…. We are starting again.


Do you ever just have those incredibly clear and simple thoughts pop into your mind?  My mind is usually jumping around all over the place.  I had one of these during one of my meetings with RK during Apollo’s “training”.  It was this:


“You just need to get your own wheels and take this horse on adventures.”





I noted it.  But I allowed myself to get distracted and pulled in by talk about how “dangerous” my horse was.


Apollo took a fair bit of time to settle in back home when he returned from training.  It took me quite a few weeks to be able to consistently catch him.  I could have sped that up a bit but it was right around the time I broke my nose and I just wasn’t in the best place mentally for playing the “hard to catch” game with him. 





Once I finally was able to get a leather halter on him - I was able to get his hooves trimmed (which were long overdue) resulting in some tenderness.  Now he is of sound mind and body and we can get to work together.


I haven’t ridden him yet since he’s been home from training.  I know he’ll be fine but I really wanted to be in a good place.  I find Apollo is a lot more sensitive to my emotions than Henry or Mystic.  After two fun (but stressful for me to be away from home as I’m a hermit) trips across Canada and one bout of pneumonia with Henry…  I’m ready J

Rolypoly... but we can work on that <3



Coach D has a western saddle that I can borrow/pay off slowly (thanks pneumonia vet bill) that I’m picking up tonight.  So we’ll have a few rides at home this week and then I have planned a short trail adventure for Sunday.  One of the silver linings of being a car accident is that my wonderful father-in-law has loaned me his truck so I actually have wheels to pull the borrowed trailer (since the transmission exploded on ours two months ago).  So I have a saddle, wheels, and a date with my friend C on Sunday for a trail ride at the mid-point of our barns. 




I’m going to plan a few more weekend trips for Apollo before it gets too cold!  I will take some lessons with ST to keep us on track.


So that’s the plan! 


I’ve actually found Apollo is better when I take him off property (wtf).  He’s exploring and really in his element, and totally rock solid quiet.  Like here for example.

One of my favorite days with him <3




When I trail ride at home he is constantly prancing/jigging, particularly on the way back home.  I am totally open to tips to help with this, as it’s not very fun for me to trail ride him at home.  So that might be off the menu for him until I get a better strategy.  We usually go out alone and he’s manageable (although it’s not exactly a barrel of monkeys), he’s much worse at home when another horse joins us.  I could pony Henry, who would undoubtedly be the most annoying pest ever, to see what he thinks of that.  Would love to hear some thoughts!  Will definitely ask Coach D and ST too. 


So far I have tried the following things:

  1. Riding him in the arena and tiring him out before trail riding at home (doesn’t work, trails at home are too exciting)
  2. Circling
  3. Stopping and making him stand
  4. Half halts
  5. Swearing
  6. Wringing my hands
     

I would totally welcome any suggestions on this! 



22 comments:

  1. I know a surprising number of horses who are better trail riding away from home... Ozzy included! One thing you can try is ground driving. That way you can plant your feet and just stand there until he stops whatever behavior you don't want. You can also try riding away from the barn and hand walking back, and if he's really bad, tie him to a tree, sit down, read a book, and ignore his antics until he settles down, then go back to approaching the barn. Every time he acts up, tie and ignore him. He'll learn the only way he gets to go home is to behave.

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    1. That makes me feel better! I like the ground driving idea, will have to give that a try :)

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  2. My horses are ALWAYS better off property!

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    1. I had no idea other people had this issue too!!

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  3. He sounds like a complicated fellow. Hope you figure him out. :-)

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  4. Lots and lots and lots of patience. I have done the hand walking with stoping and waiting them out that Dom mentioned. I have also done as soon as there is a single jig step they turn around and walk away from home until settled then turn back around and walk towards home. Always always always make sure you have plenty of time to get back so you can wait them out. Stinker still isn't great, but he is slowly getting better. Also if you are out with a group you might try letting him go first that helps Stinker out.

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    1. Yeah I'm definitely going to give that a try! He will needs some more miles before he can ride with other horses at home, that's when he's truly the worst :(

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  5. I do what the others mentioned, especially if they're just being rude about going home. I'll also add giving him something to do to the list, it works on one of the mares I ride. If she doesn't want to walk I just school her and make her do 'hard' things instead (leg yield/transitions/circles/turn on forehand/whatever) and normally she's like "Oh right. Work. Nevermind, lets just's walk and chill instead" It depends on whether that would make him more anxious or focus him though.

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    1. I will give that a try! Maybe his brain can think about things besides how exciting it is to be out and about haha :)

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  6. my horse is better off property too haha! glad you're getting going with Apollo again - the only way to really get him where you want him to be is to keep working at it, keep logging the time and miles and practice! he's not gonna get there himself!

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    1. That makes me feel better! I was hoping he could just read this blog post and understand the error of his ways :P

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  7. I'm too much of a weenie to trail ride, so I have no suggestions. But I'm so glad you and Apollo are getting your groove back. Hope you have a great weekend together!

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    1. Hopefully we can go on some adventures before the snow flies! You are way braver than me, I only jump tiny things :)

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  8. The main thing is just have fun on Sundays trail ride and don't overthink about what's in the future. Deal with that when you have to. Enjoy Apollo.

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    1. I will do my best but it's not in my nature haha! Hopefully it's a fun day :)

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  9. I hear you on the frustration about the hurrying home. Everytime he jigged I would ask him to walk and if he didn't work him in a circle and then ask him to walk forward again. he's a smart horse and he'll quickly figure out that he gets there quicker if he walks. With Irish if I held him tight it would get worse and worse. I had to learn to ask and release- otherwise he would lean on my hands and plow through.

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    1. He jigs both ways, it's just worse on the way home (and I am more tired and annoyed by that point too). I will try that circling idea :) I definitely am guilty of holding the reins too tight sometimes on the trail.

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  10. My girl is terrible at home too, but not just for trails--arena work is harder too. I like your #5 method and use it often, lol!

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  11. What does he do if you take him on the same walk with a halter & lead? If he's no different, then you know one thing. If he's different, then you know something else. If the results are indeterminate, then he's a horse. Good luck.

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    1. That sounds like an excellent experiment:)

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