Tuesday, October 19, 2010

yay. fall.

This time last year, I was taking my first rides on Miles. He was finally settling into his environment, behaving himself in the barn and lunging well in the arena. We were also working on Clinton Anderson exercises, mostly lots of desensitizing, the sending exercise, lunging for respect, backing up and yielding the fore and hindquarters. All that groundwork helped me take the leap of faith to get on his back, which of course was pretty much a non event, thankfully.

I found out how truly relaxed and lazy he could be in the spring and summer. Now that the weather is turning brisk, though, I'm finding I may own a spirited thoroughbred after all...he's not done anything naughty, but I feel like it's just there, below the surface. That "sitting on a powder keg" feeling is there more often then not these past couple weeks. Miles has also been tested by other things lately, besides the weather...giant farm machinery appearing at random times, dogs running amok (Ugh, this is getting old I've got to say. And I love dogs!), busier than usual arenas with horses cantering endless circles feet away from Miles and me. LOTS of new horses at the barn. In short, it's not just the weather. And deer season is right around the corner. Joy!

It's also not all bad. Of course I don't expect our environment to always be serene and perfect. Both of us must learn to relax and deal with distractions and new stimuli. So I guess that's good:)

Still, must it all happen while we are also riding in 50 degree temperatures with random ridiculously strong wind gusts? Tonight we faced almost everything I mentioned, plus it was cold. Miles was unfocused, but kept himself together, though at times I could feel he was just barely able to check himself. I gave him lots of praise and support throughout our ride for being so good (his self control under saddle has really been great), but we also didn't get much done. We worked on lots of direction changes and trot/walk transitions, but no cantering. He would probably have been fine, but I just didn't want to risk it. The final straw was when yet another horse came into the ring and did a small rear as we were halted 10 feet away. Miles is a good boy, not an angel.

It's a little frustrating to be limited by our environment right now, but that's OK...again, it's good for us in the long run. I just miss our big canters around the arena, that's all. Maybe we go to the indoor arena next ride...we will be getting very familiar with those fluorescent lights again soon enough anyway:)


  1. Talk about sensory overload for poor Miles. It sounds like he was such a good boy, though, considering the atmosphere. I sometimes feel like there's not a happy median when it comes to barns, atleast for me. When I'm riding alone, I'm sometimes wishing for company. When there's company, I'm usually wishing for space...sigh! ;)

  2. Your current situation with your environment and with Miles is pretty much what we are going through here. It's like Gem has woken up from a deep sleep. He was lazy in the summer and now he has energy, although I can't say he's like sitting on a powder keg. :-) It's nice to hear how well Miles has actually settled in over the last year. Congratulations on the anniversary of your first rides together!

  3. Ha..I know exactly what you are talking about, only Laz looooooses it. The dogs running wild, is very annoying!! I bring my dog to the barn and he sits and watches me ride like a good boy, NOT allowed in arena and he knows it. The other dogs bark and weave in and out..it's annoying but I guess good for the exposure, but after a good 5 minutes of it..COME GET YOUR DOGS OUTTA HERE!!!!
    You have an indoor?? Jealous!

  4. Oh I hear ya for sure! Thankfully my mares are older now and don't get too upset by the dogs and such (though they're still annoying along with the dog poop all over that I managed to step in last weekend), but the crowded arena is nuts at times. And some people are much easier to ride with than others. Some have more arena etiquette than others. Lady has back tracked so much on learning to canter relaxed and easy on the rail in the arena after that one crazy night we had that I'm not even going to bother to show her this weekend at the show. She's back in crack head barrel horse mode at the canter in the arena, so I have a lot of work to do again. I'm dreading this winter, because I'm afraid it's going to be nuts in the indoor. Ugh. And I hate the dogs that come racing into the indoor arena at top speed out of no where. Scares the hell out of my mares every time. Cody knocked me down and almost went over top of me last year when I was reaching for the stirrup with my foot to get on and a dog came barreling in the door and she spooked and jumped sideways. Anywho.....yeah, some people definitely have more respect and etiquette than others. But anywho, I'll shut up now! lol!

  5. LOL, so this obviously is not a unique situation I find myself in. Isn't boarding FUN?!? :)