Monday, May 31, 2010

Backyard Bravery

Ok, I know that it sounds silly, but I have a little phobia of riding in my back yard (around the roundpen and hen house).

It started about 7 years ago when I first attempted to ride Smokey there. If I tried to push him beyond the center of the field, he would hump up his back and pretend to be hysterical. After a few times of this, I lost confidence and stopped trying. The funny thing was that I was fine taking him out on trail rides, since the worst thing that he would do was RBI balk! Looking back, I guess perhaps Smokey felt confident enough to exert himself to get back to his herd while on his home turf.

Now that I understand the source of my reluctance to ride back there, it is time to get over it! After all, I play with horses on the ground in that area all of the time, and I'm fine riding in the roundpen. It sure would be convenient to ride at home..

This evening, with the exciting events of yesterday under my belt, I decided to explore riding in my back pasture (paddock?). We started out by playing games at liberty in the roundpen, including circling 5 laps at a walk and changes of direction. Then we tacked up and played at liberty in the entire field, with the roundpen opened up. He eagerly demonstrated that he could get all 4 feet up on the tractor tire.

I mounted up using the stirrup and mounting block. (I have yet to mount him from the ground - I'd like to lose 20 lbs first.) No grouchy face. Yeah! He got a cookie for that.

I brought up my life and he made a bee-line for the nearest barrel. He remembered the "point to point" game, so we played that for motivation. I offered him a cookie each time that we arrived at the barrels in each corner of the pasture. Along the way, he offered to trot, weave small barrels, and to stand on the tractor tire pedestal with all four feet while mounted! We quit after that and walked back up to the barn together.

What a good boy. I sure wish that I could take him to Michelle's with me when I go to visit her next week. Anyway, I believe that my "phobia" about riding at home will soon be history. :-)

PS - Guinness has now been on 6 trail rides, and the only previous time that I've ridden him in the back pasture was on April 1st. I love having this blog to reference.


Parelli Central said...

Hi There!

Well done with starting to break through all those spooky back yard silhouettes! It is something that we all encounter as horses lovers every day.

Don't forget to check out the Savvy Club website under TV SHOWS > 2009. There are some great videos about thresholds, and riding the trail (even if it is just in your back yard)

There is also a great article about the 5 areas of confidence of the horse. It's called "Still Spooking After All These Years"

Keep it Natural,
Parelli Mastery Program

Naturally Gaited said...

Thanks for the input. The cool thing about this situation is that I'm the spooky one - my horse is totally (almost foolishly) brave! ;-)

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...


I remember having a lot of fun cantering around bareback on Wilbur at your place, in the back yard and up in the field. I think it is wonderful that you are reexploring your place, it is fun there! (Do you remember us playing in the group simulating horse and handler with the PPG?? Now that was scary---lol and fun! Great job.

Naturally yours and missing ya! Michelle/arabhorselover1