Sunday, April 22, 2012

foiled again. . .

The question being, who was foiled? I think Shyloh was foiled, then in retaliation she foiled us, but eventually we got the upper hand and foiled her! Finally, I hope. So today's score is Shy - 1, us - 2.

For today's lesson, Beth had a plan. Well, Beth always has a plan, but Shy works very hard on upsetting the plan, so the plan is constantly changing. The plan is to address Shyloh's scooting. She scoots into transitions, she scoots when too much leg is used, she scoots when she doesn't want to do something she is asked to do. I should have named her Scooter. 

Beth has concluded that Shy is scooting to get out of using her rear end properly. She is not used to using those muscles and is fighting it every step of the way. So we started off with some round pen work. With side reins. The purpose of the side reins was so Shy was not able to raise her head and scoot into her transitions. This was to encourage her to use her rear end. It was also teaching her to accept the contact of the bit so she would not evade it. The hope was that this would translate to the saddle. Another plus of the side reins was that Shy couldn't dive for grass. Woot!

Beth set them on a loose setting to get started. Shy was not pleased. I swear she was glaring and thinking hateful thoughts at us. Then the side reins were tightened a bit. Shy was even more upset. When asked for a canter, she almost bucked out. She thought about, almost did it, then for whatever reason, decided against it. 
Shy is so unbalanced at the canter, she will often pick up the correct front lead, but the wrong back lead. After she was able to do it correctly, Shy was done in the round pen and I saddled her up.

Our hopes of round pen to saddle translation were dashed. Shy started scooting all over the arena as soon as Beth put some leg pressure on her. To Shy, leg pressure means go forward NOW! We are trying to teach her that leg pressure can mean other things. After our initial disappointment, Beth had a idea. She went searching through her plethora of equine related gear and pulled out a German martingale. 

Beth explained how it was used. Similar to the side reins (which are dangerous to ride in), the German martingale encouraged Shy to use her rear end by not letting her head pop up for the scoot. When Shy held her head in a rear-engaging position, it released pressure. Beth said that she would not be riding long in this; since it was forcing Shy to use muscles she has been avoiding it and did not want to over do it. Beth also stated that the German martingale was not something we want to rely on, but just to get Shy to understand how she needs to move. 
Shy actually did very well in the German martingale. Only one small scoot. And Beth discovered that Shy is able to do lateral moves. So lateral moves will now be part of the training regimen. I am going to have the fanciest trail horse out there! 


  1. I'm not quite clear on what 'scooting' means. Does she bob her head during transition? I saw that one video of Shy using her front end to move into the trot, perhaps that's the scoot?

    Whatever the scoot may be, I am so glad that both you and I learned how to fix it! :)

    1. She does use her front end to transition, but the scooting is tucking her butt under and moving forward real fast. I don't have any good video of her doing it. I guess it is a Haflinger thing, as they tend to be real heavy on the front end.

  2. I like Beth's comment about the leg not always meaning 'go'. I've been working at that! When I first began riding Pippin he was so reactive that I'd catch myself sticking my legs out to the side. He's getting better.
    Shy looked very sweet going around. She has a sweet little butt that seems very relaxed as it moves side to side!

  3. I love the German Martingale! Loveeeee! I often beg Donny to get me barrow his for a few days. They help so much.

  4. I could be wrong because I don't know Shy, but it seems like the round pen really gets her hyped up and anxious. That may be why the work didn't transfer over to the under saddle work. If she's anxious and just flying around the round pen then she's not learning and absorbing. Like I said, I could be wrong though. It's just a guess. :)


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