First informal "CC schooling"...Newbie advice needed & musings.
Well, its not a cross country course per se, it may be nicer... Thousands of manicured acres, with jumps and great footing...long & persistent inclines, steep ones available too. A real jem of a place. Anyways, we had a great time! A few hairy moments (lovess water! Dirt-bikes not so much!), but no spooking, bolting, or taking hold o/f. But he will not walk or halt! He will spin, leap, or get light up front. I had wonderful t/c work, good transitions b/w gaits, but he wanted to go forward or, most likely up. I did get off and school him in hand for 15min or so, which did help as I could eventually get him to stand for mounting. We trotted and cantered many miles, mostly hills, and there was no tiring him out mentally, the ride was ~2.5hrs. He's a 17h big TB, FWIW...so antics are not appreciated
Again, I can't overstate how much fun we both had! Even 2 days post his trot and canter feel great. I feel like I unlocked something in his hind-end & he's using himself better than ever. I did have the best canter I've had while owning him out there, doing a brisk canter up a long hill...I think it was a wonderful change of pace. I'm just curious if they ever grow out of the unable to halt, prancing non-sense phase (he can be very naughty in general). Or, if I should just get used to quick dismounts
I took him out in a happy-mouth, in anticipation of needing to take a solid feel of his mouth (very sensitive mouth!), and not wanting him to meltdown on me. I think a hackmore combo or 3-ring will be used in the future...
I'm a h/j person making the switch, so I had to test the waters & see if we could handle it before pursuing it seriously The big solid fallen-log was worrisome, being solid & all!; but my horse ate it up so that was great! I don't think I've 'cowgirled' it up since my pony days... Still not enough courage to gallop (and I don't think he's quite that fit, not having left a ring in years, didn't want to push him & have a sore horse)!
PS. I'm also curious what you all do post ride. I cold hosed, packed feet w/Magic Cushion, wrapped legs (BOT wraps), and linimented (Sore no More) his back thoroughly. Wouldn't have wrapped if he was going back out...treated it like a horse show day with bad footing. Seemed about right? He was also hand-walked later that night.
Last edited by goodmorning; Oct. 14, 2010 at 02:49 PM.
Paragraph breaks and punctuation might really help.
Not sure what your question was, but it sounds like you had fun! But if you're planning more XC opportunities and are worried about him behaving, I'd say mileage is what he needs, not hardware. Go out with a buddy horse that is unflappable if you can, and let them set an example. They can also be good at leading the way through scarier stuff.
Nothing wrong with letting a horse canter on and have a good time, but he really ought to be obedient when you ask him to halt and stand. Just don't expect him to do so for very long, at first.
As to after care, it depends on the horse, his fitness, the footing, and your normal routine. XC schooling tends to be a pretty easy day for mine, since we do very little actual galloping and more than the usual amount of standing around if it's a group session. I'm not much for wraps or poultices or liniments, but it's your horse, your call.
I personally wouldn't tolerate the not walking/halting; at the very least he should walk. My mare gets extremely excited about it (prance, piaffe type stuff) and she's learn to deal.
Maybe I went about it the wrong way, but I figure if they won't listen, they're getting WORKED. I would canter until they can't canter anymore (well more or less, they'd prefer to slow down, you should be able to tell when they're 'done'), and I'm not nasty about it, I'm not going to have my arms yanked out of my sockets or torture her mouth, so it's done with contact, but I'm not worrying about her frame. Once they figure that out, and it could take a few times (took my mare about 5 times), now she'll gladly walk on a loose rein. But believe me, my legs were tired from cantering (we probably cantered for 4-5 miles before she was like ugh, maybe this isn't fun anymore, I'll take mom's advice and chill out).
I ride dressage (and occasionally jump) in a double jointed lozenge loose ring with a flash, and ride XC in the Happy Mouth Double Jointed Roller 2 Ring Pessoa Gag Bit. I feel like it's not a harsh bit, but is there when I need it.
After XC I just spray her down to cool her off and put her out in the pasture, I think being able to walk around is the best thing after hard work. If it's late and the barn is in for the night I'll leave standing wraps on with some bigeloil, remove in the AM.
Have fun! Sounds like you have a really nice place to ride!
As for not stopping. The advice from several trainers has been to use circling. Stopping sometimes creates a fight, with circling you let them continue to move, but they have to slow to turn. Especially use it when they start speeding up -- if you have space. By using lots and lots of circling you will break the forward movement and, hopefully, can get their brain back.
Some other posts mention not tolerating not halting. They make a great point. If its a fine line between control and out-of-control, the latter can be so dangerous so fast! But you know that or wouldn't have posted. Sorry.
It might be just the first-time effect -- there is a lot going on. And you and your horse seemed to really enjoy yourselves! The exhilaration builds on itself. Add all the new surroundings at a canter...well! We have several OLD school horses that sometimes do this when they are out and about. You know, the 20-year-old colts!
I bet you had an enormous grin! Sounds like an incredible place, hope you get to go regularly!