You may have read about my new “outdoor arena” over here at Proof It. Today, I got to use it for the first time. I tacked Sully and rode down, then did 45 minutes of work on the longe line, some over the poles and some not.
Things that went wrong:
1( Sully was a handful to begin with, and spent the first 15 minutes jumping over the poles. He can clear all four of them when he wants to!
2( One side of my circle is marshy, which was undetectable to me, but quite evident once Sully ran over it. He sank to his shins, and slipped around alot. We had to cut that side off our circle to keep him from falling.
3( I parked him in the center to adjust the distance between the poles… that is a trial and error deal, and I had them too far apart. Sully decided to go home and started walking off. I almost didn’t reach the end of the longe line he was dragging behind him in time. This led to another 10 minutes of high-headed charging around, as he knew he wasn’t supposed to move.
Things that went right:
1( There is lots of room for Sully to stretch out, find his balance, and really cut loose. The ground is pretty even and not too sloped.
2( I did find the perfect distance for the poles. And I did get a number of perfect passes over them from the ground and in the saddle before we ended. He knows what is expected, he just isn’t convinced that I can make him do it. Give me a week.
3( He did not buck on the line today. He always does, and I’m just realizing now that he never did once. This has me wondering if, on a smaller cramped circle, he felt more inclined to expend energy more up and down by bucking and hopping around. With more room, he was able to expend that same energy in forward movement.
So, with a little tweaking, it will be perfect. And as we go forward, Sully will learn what it is I am expecting of him. He has the desire to please me, he always has, so I have no doubt we’ll get there.
We did 45 minutes on the circle, then I rode him up the hill, through the big field and back down through the woods to the barn. I will probably do an abbreviated session with him in the morning, if the weather holds.