Today I stopped the unstoppable.
Today, we had a family thing at my aunt's house, aka where my horses are. As the family was having dinner I did my usual thing - I rode. I decided to get on the barreling mare who never seems to run out of energy..it's not that she's bad or anything, just loves to run. We walked a few laps, trotted a couple then I let her run. After a while I dropped the reins and let her do as she pleased, not in an unsafe manner, she's very sane. After a couple times of her running, she saw that it was much nicer to walk. She walked a couple times, and to my surprise actually dropped her head. We've had her for 4 or 5 years now [I lost count, but I believe it's 4] and she hasnt really relaxed like this with someone on her back. Even more shockingly, she left it down. She has ALWAYS moved with her head held high.
So the lesson I learned is, give a horse the opportunity to do what they want, and they may just do what you want instead.
Another lesson is that if you pull on a horses head they will raise it up and push against the rein generaly going faster.
I love seeing that someone else has seen this. I had one that wanted to do a running walk and nothing else on a trail ride, so I let him. He loved it for the first six miles, but the six miles back I had him keep going. (he was in good shape) At the end of the ride he was very happy to walk calmly. I never had to argue with him about speed again. I decided that sometimes it is not worth it to fight when you can just give them too much of a good thing, and you make them think that it was all your idea in the first place. :)
I have done this with a few horses, and, especially if you keep them going fast beyond the time they want to, usually they figure out that doing what you wanted in the first place is so much easier! Only one it didn't seem to really work on was the Appy I worked with for a few months...the more you 'allowed' him to run the 'hotter' he would get...dope never figured it out! Haha. Oh well, he's living the 'puff' life of a trail, occasional gymkhana horse now, and seems to be enjoying it. He was just not going to make a good dressage horse, or even pleasure horse, because he just would not 'rate' and collect up at all when you asked for it...probably due to the fact that he'd been ridden 'hot' for so many years before I got him.
I should really try that method with Night Heat. And see how she goes, because she is also a speed freak...LOL
Well done with your accomplishment. It always feels great when something goes well when riding. :smile:
has anyone ever tried a chambon to kind of introduce this movement to the horse? It's minimally invasive if applied the correct way and only temporarily. My Arab holds her head high naturally, most of the time, too...
I haven't personally tried it, but I have seen someone else use it. Once the horse learns what it is supposed to do with a chambon, it can be a great asset. Although I wouldn't really encourage riding too much in one.
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