Wednesday, August 31, 2011

shyloh has a job to do

Shyloh's first SweetTart! 

Shyloh earned her candy from her lunging today. A blog that I have been following did a post and I decided I am going to try to follow some of the advice (modified to Shy and my needs) to help raise Shy's confidence. In a nutshell, the author wrote that if the rider has a job in mind, they focus on that and not the horse spooking. Even if the job was just pretend, it is good to have a purpose for each ride. I will say that I do not agree with the part about keeping the horse tacked up and tied all day until they are ready to be used. That seems cruel to me and Shy does not need that, nor do I have time for that. Shy stands perfectly still in cross ties and while waiting for me to get myself together.

I am going to give Shy a job every time I work with her. This means that after I groom her, I am going to tack her up. That way she will know that she is working. I have heard that before (and from a very experienced horse person), but honestly, I was being too lazy to tack Shy up every time. But I am going to attempt it now, especially when I want specific things done with her. 

So today, I put the saddle and bridle on Shy and took her to the arena to lunge. We have lunged a few times before, with moderate success. Today, the only other person at the barn was Beth and she was mucking stalls. The funny thing about Shy is that she knows a lot more about lunging than I do.  She knows all about body language and cues, and I am still discovering those and trying to be conscious about where my body parts are and how I am positioned in relation to Shy.

I was completely on my own. It took a minute to get Shy moving, but I was being firm with her and she knew I meant business. Every time I got ahead of her, she automatically stopped. So I had to reposition myself and start over. I was seriously sweating by the time we walked out of the arena!We were able to walk, trot, stop, and do transitions from all of those in both directions. Shy still refuses to canter on the lunge line! She trots mighty fast, though! I had to run in circles to keep up with her. Eventually, I added a pole for her to walk and trot over. She was great! I really love doing work with poles and obstacles. I was seriously sweating by the time we walked out of the arena!


  1. I read the Equestrian Ink post too, and love the idea of my focusing on what job I think my horse should be doing... like, as she mentions, checking the fence line. I was thinking about that a lot today, and realize that if I have a job in mind that my horse is supposed to do, then I am focusing on the positive, not the 'what if's'!
    The video of the SweetTart is really cute. I can' almost see her eyes crinkle at the sourness!
    You are smart in seeing how Shy reacts to your body language. My guys will tell me, in a hurry, when I am sending the wrong message!

  2. Yes, I really believe that the horse knows more than we do!


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