Monday, September 16, 2013

Red is Still Worried

I rode both Red and Pie today.  Pie didn't get a ride yesterday, so he was up first.  We had a really excellent ride in the indoor, with lots of forward, soft trot and also some really excellent canter work - he's come a long way.

Red was still somewhat "jangly" after yesterday - he's a very sensitive, high strung horse.  We ended up having a good ride, but he started out very braced and head high - this is his "I'm worried" default behavior - it doesn't show up that often but when it does it's pretty noticeable.  We kept working at the walk, with some backing thrown in - it took a while - for him to relax just a bit and offer me some softness rather than bracing through his head and neck.

When I first asked for trot, everything fell apart again and we got the balk/brace.  I went immediately to a secondary cue - tap with dressage whip - and got an ugly walk/trot transition.  We kept working on it - the key was to have him soft, sometimes through backing, before the walk/trot transition - don't make the transition if the softness isn't there, no matter how long it takes.

This bracing behavior indicates the degree of his worry over the Mikey incident.  As with yesterday, we worked through it and he was able to find a place with good softness at walk and trot.  Every day, I expect he'll be feeling a bit better and be able to find the softness faster.  Poor Red - he takes things like this very hard.


  1. A friend left the following remark on my blog after I said I found it strange that our horses didn't seem to miss Sam when Rick put him down Friday. "I think your horses are OK with Sammy's demise because they knew ahead of time (probably before you & Rick knew for sure) that is was, indeed, time. I think they worry a lot more if they didn't see it coming." That fits with Red's worrying, since his friend was "there" and healthy, and then GONE.

  2. Poor guy. Since he's one of the herd bosses, he probably feels a big hole in his life right now. Make sure you explain it all to him. Do not underestimate his ability to understand what you say to him.


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