Since today is a terribly rainy day I am so very pleased I went riding yesterday.
Snow is not off yet but we have been having slightly warmer weather resulting in some bare ground and much less snow (wheeeeeeeeeeee!)
Joy did well yesterday, She is shedding so had some nice brushing first with a curry comb, which made her very happy, I wish I had the camera with me as the faces she made when I hit the itchy spots were too funny! We went on the two mile loop, I let her stretch out and wander at first then hit some good jumps, cantered a few hills and when she got hot we worked on transitions. She has come a long way, I don't think she will ever be a calm beginner type horse but she is much more self disciplined now. I have been thinking a lot about the process of training a young horse, I really enjoy starting horses and if I could figure out how to have a real career doing that I would be very happy. So many people rush the horse and leave huge gaps in training, then the horse can never be a true partner because they simply don't understand their job.
So yesterday there was a fallen tree I have been wanting to jump but haven't because I wasn't sure if it was safe, the snow was off and it was good so I put her in a large canter circle and she popped over it happily. There are so many advantages to letting a horse mature and gain confidence rather then pushing them to fast, she feels confident jumping and I have built that confidence by putting her in good situations where she can be safe and have fun, now she trusts me and herself.
On the way home she got hot, I let her gallop up some hills and she had a great time and got herself worked up, Joy is not the type of horse where you can run them to burn of steam. When she was younger and I would free lunge her sometimes she would get her "canter button" stuck and would run around and around till I managed to get the lunge on her and force her to walk and trot. What works well for relaxing her is walking, leg yields and transitions. When she is over sensitive she spooks at everything so slow relaxing work is the way to go. I am wondering how she will do at cross country this summer but I guess we will figure it out when we get to that.
I really think horses are intelligent and the best way to train is to put them in situations where they see the benefit in doing what you ask. Joy is never going to be an easy horse, she is smart and independent, which is a blessing and a curse. I don't think most horses are trying to be bad I think they don't understand whats being asked and many "bad" horses have a low frustration point. They would get more confidence from trail riding and from being ridden as one rides a green horse, with patience, kindness and understanding.
Please set them up to succeed.