Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Yes, you ARE going to longe. And that would be in the shape of a circle, thank-you very much!"

I'm very fortunate in that I have a large, secluded arena behind my house. The developer put that there for the local horse owners. Yesterday and today I took the recently acquired Wyatt to that arena, where he longed quite well.

Okay, I lied. He longed a lot better than he did at home in the turnout paddock, where the feed bucket kept luring him into the distant corner (dragging me behind him). In the arena, he longes fine. Or he did yesterday. Today, as I was leading Wyatt into the arena, who should come riding out of the arena but my neighbor and fellow equestrian author Audrey Pavia! Here's a link to a recent article about her on Horse Channel:

Audrey's Latest Gig

Anyway, so Audrey comes riding out and Wyatt is mesmerized by the fact that:
A) there's yet another horse in the world he has never met before


B) there's a gate in the arena railing (translation: Thanks to the invention of The Gate, once a horse is in the arena, a horse can also exit the arena)

I then begin longeing Wyatt. All is going well until he decided-- in the way that only a 3-year-old can decide-- that perhaps he'd longed enough and the gate was a far more attractive option than continuing on going in circles at the canter. He made a beeline to the gate, with me behind him.

Yet since he was bitted up, I had far more control of his body than he anticipated. Score one point for the human.

This game of, "Oh yes I can!" repeated itself a few more times until Wyatt got the message that, "Oh no you can't!" And then we finished our longeing session and he got a lot of pats. Then I climbed on and we worked on bending and circling at the walk and trot. Very mundane stuff but ultimately extremely important basics. Add a few halts and some backing up (with a baby you don't want to over-do going backwards before you've fully mastered GOING FORWARD) and we were done for the day. I know, not very exciting, but I knew that when I bought Wyatt this was a long-term project. As in don't expect much until June.

I wanted to add a note of thanks to everyone who commiserated with me on my horse shopping drama. I got some very insightful comments and emails. In fact, an email from one horsewoman explained how she was ready and willing-- cash in hand-- to buy a horse, yet she kept meeting up with sellers who weren't very accomodating to her requests for a video. How can you expect to market a horse out of the local area and yet not be prepared to provide buyers with a video?
If you'd like to leave a comment, just click on "comments" below!


Jessica said...


I LOVE three year olds. They're quite opinionated little horses, and are such the entertainers.

I tried riding my 3 year old bareback the other day for a "change," and he was so confused. He had no idea what I wanted since he obviously didn't have on a saddle. So he just decided he'd stand and do nothing but chew on his bit, and ignore the "fairy star" bat(the only wip I could grap in the moment)that I desperately tried to urge him on with.

Unfortunately, the situation was so comical, I kept bursting into laughter - not a help. Eventually we got some nice trotting circles though, and I called it a day.

All in all, good luck with Wyatt and HAVE FUN - I love knowing that I have a "commisserant" out there with me! :-)

Anonymous said...

I just bought my first YEARLING filly (after getting that "selling" video). The last horse I got was just under 2 and barely backed. I must be a fool for wanting to "start at the beginning" with this one, but I just love working with a clean slate. Who knows what diamond-in-the-rough I may have! By the way, the last 2yo filly turned out pretty good. Still....

Nancy said...

I agree w/jessica - what funny, opinionated devil children three year olds are.

Leo, my percheron/thoroughbred cross, is 3 years old - what a character. He'll be doing something he knows he's not supposed to (like nip me)and then he'll raise his head up as high as he can, and look down at me - i swear he's laughing, giving me the - who me, i didnt do anything - look.

And seeing as he's nearly 17 hands, when he gets that head up to laugh at me, its up by the ceiling!

Cindy, what fun adventures you'll have with Wyatt!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I've had horses deside that they were done and they were going to the stall, even if they had to drag me along too! got to love 'em though!
Congrats on the good training. oh... we're still waiting for video!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the training accomplishment. Back at my old boarding barn, they redid the old round pen. Problem was, the gate (which was a pipe one with a plywood board [sometimes] inside of it) wouldn't always keep the horses inside. One time, I stacked up empty supplement buckets I'd filled with rocks in front of the gate, pyramid-like, to keep Sas in while I longed her. Thankfully, she's well trained enough that she knows not to just duck through, but if I'd been working with a young horse I don't think it would've worked.


Cindy Hale said...

Yes indeed, sometimes we do have to laugh at our young horses, and at ourselves for taking on the challenge!