Monday, April 18, 2011

Riding without a bit and pictures from the trail

Today I decided it was time to start introducing Lily to the concept of work. The Paddock Princess, I decided, simply was exploring her options. I didn't want to go through a bunch of bit drama, didn't really have time, but after considering the options I thought I'd just ride her in the halter.

Basically have a positive ride, let her get out and realize that bit or no bit, work goes on.

I had ridden Smokey earlier in the day and got a rare second trip back to the barn. We saddled up - Lily is very cinchy and oddly, kept running into my elbow. After the second one of those, I petted her like mad, as if I was completely misinterpreting her intention. She got disgusted and stopped pinning and giving me the look.

I put the reins over her saddle and led her to the round pen to see how we were doing. Minor issues while leading - too close, not stopping crisply. We worked through it. In the round pen it was all but one inside turn. Good. I didn't canter her, because it was ridiculously hot. I wanted to keep the energy low and she didn't seem to have any nonsense she needed to work out.

Then I clipped the reins on the halter and got on. I wish I had a picture of the look on her face. She looked so surprised.

She was ultra sensitive to leg pressure and neck reined like a champ. It was like driving a car with new brakes and power steering. We practiced stopping, since the halter is not the best with her brakes, but it was all good. So, cautiously optimistic, we hit the trail with Sierra. Other than one brief "I think I'll go back to the barn now" she did very well. She settled in after 10 minutes. The tenseness in her muzzle was gone.

I still sensed attitude, but it was back down to a 5 or 4 level. When I rinsed her off and fed her, she was compliant. And when I tossed on some fly spray she didn't act as if I was possessed or something (she's been quite the drama queen lately).

So the good news is I think we are getting the old Lily back. Of course I didn't bit her, but my goal today was to show her that wasn't a way to get out of riding. I also didn't have the time to do it right, so there was little point to doing it at all. Instead, I wanted us to have a good ride, end on a positive note.

And we did. Good enough.


On another note, here are some cool pictures from the trail ride - my favorite one of me and Smokey is here, the one with his brother is here. Here's a great one of Cloud, aka "the horse that will not load in that tiny trailer."

There are so many good ones, Debbie does a great job - she took all of these from horseback! I'll be ordering at least two...


Shirley said...

There are some nice photos in the links. Lily sounds like a real character; it's nice that you had a good ride on her; maybe bitless is a good thing for her. Especially if it improves her attitude and her comfort.

Dan and Betty said...

Good work and nice pictures.

Thanks for sharing.


Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like it was a good plan. Got her thinking some.

Anonymous said...

Good try out of bitless with her - it might be something with the bit after all. Glad you had a great session, and thanks for the photos!

Jeni said...

Loved the photo's from the ride.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great work with Lily. Loved the pictures of the trail ride. Pretty country. You and Smokey look great together.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like a very pleasant ride on Lily. Nice pictures, too.