Saturday, November 27, 2010

Go and Whoa

One of the things I wanted when I was engaged in the great horse search was trying to find a horse with both go and whoa.  It seems that's what I've got, and I'm delighted.  Today Pie and I went on a nice trail ride, despite the fact it was in the upper 20sF with a wind chill in the low 20s.  But the sun was bright, and the wind was less than yesterday, so we took what we had and made the best of it.

Pie and I hadn't been on a ride for almost a week, but he strode out nicely going away from the barn - much less sticky about it than he's been.  He moved out into a nice trot whenever I asked, and immediately slowed to a walk at the slightest lift of a rein (he's still in the sidepull and goes great in it).  We didn't do as much trotting as I'd have liked - the limestone trails are like concrete with the cold temperatures so we did most of our trotting where there was a grassy edge to the trail.  On the way back to the barn, he did want to speed his walk up a bit, but immediately slowed or halted when I asked.

The only thing that gave him much pause was a green plastic trash can that had fallen partway over and was propped up at a 45 degree angle by its lid - now that was alarming.  It was trash day and there were lots of green cans out, including some with lids banging in the wind, but he didn't mind those - just the one at an odd angle.  He really didn't want to go by it and was quite concerned, so I dismounted and stood by him until he decided it was OK, led him by - he was fine with it by then - then remounted from a stump a few feet down the trail.  There were a few startles due to rustlings in the grass, but he calmed down after each one pretty quickly.

Pretty good in my book for a young horse that hadn't been ridden in a week to go out and do a nice ride on a cold and windy day, and give me go and whoa whenever asked!

I also worked with Dawn for a bit in the afternoon - the first time in 11 days - we did some leading and in-hand work, including some turns on the forehand and side passing, and then we did some ground driving at the walk, doing patterns and turns.  She was very forward but well-behaved and I think she appreciated the attention.


  1. You're better than I am about going out in the cold. Although today it was kind of windy here....

    Pie is proving to be quite a good boy about things. I like the fact that he settles so quickly after he spooks at something. And a trash can on its side is certainly "different" than a can standing up. I'm sure his perception of it was skewed along with the can.

    Love having "whoa" at my disposal. It's so valuable.

    Good for Dawn to enjoy some attention. Hope you are able to work with her more often.

  2. That's pretty cold and I agree with Jean. You're braver than I am.

    Glad things went well.


  3. Well done, Kate! Good for you!

  4. Pie is a winner. I'm sure Dawn was happy to get your attention. The wind was outrageous here today with temperatures like yours...give you a lot of credit for riding in this kind of weather.

  5. 20? Yikes. We batten all the hatches at 40.

    I wonder if the few days off did him some good. The soak time, as Mark says.

    Glad you got Dawn out too. She reminds me of Lily - hates to be left out!

  6. Pie is so great so far! the more you go out there with him, the better and better he will be. Isn't the trail the best?

  7. Sounds great! Good for you getting out with both horses in the chilly temps.


  8. Pie sounds like such a wonderful young fellow, and I'm so happy for you!

    I do have a question, since you're more experienced and very thoughtful. How cold is too cold to ride with a bit? I used to ride Champ in a halter and lead at any temperature, but Dixie really detests having her nose pulled around, so I only ride her in a snaffle. My favorite excuse to skip a ride on very cold days is "the bit will conduct the cold into her mouth," but I don't know how accurate that is.

  9. This chill is daunting, but you braved it with Pie and Dawn! I love the story of Pie and the angled trash can - funny how they notice a slight difference. We usually have your weather (not as severe) a day later so I hope our winds die down a little. I rode today, but it wasn't pleasant.

  10. Funder - I don't worry too much about the bit. I think as long as it's well-warmed ahead of time (ours live in a heated room) the horse doesn't mind. Obviously, if the wind chills are outrageous, metal could get very cold against the outside of their face, but I'm never riding when it's like that anyway. I'll ride down to 10F as long as it's not windy. A clear, still cold day is just lovely - not that we get much of that around here - we're not called the Windy City for nothing!

  11. I love those still morning rides. Glad Dawn behaved better for you and I hope the shim pad helps with saddle fit.

  12. Pie is just a wonderful horse and can only get better with time. Glad he's being so good for you. We ride in all kinds of weather, but I'd just as soon skip the wind.

    I'm sure Dawn liked getting your attention. Glad you and she could spend some quality time together.

  13. Makes me feel bad for complaining about the low 50's we've had the last few days. I actually told Jason I was too cold to ride yesterday when it was 51 degrees! Oh well, it is no secret that myself and cold weather don't get along.

  14. Sounds like an awesome ride, trash cans or not! :) Congrats! You have a great horse.


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