Skip to content

Day 5 at LS Ranch

February 19, 2014

So much to learn today. I started to ride in the hackamore first thing. Dave showed me the various types and sizes and talked about how to tie it. He rides in a bosalito with a full bridle and a rommel. I’ve not ever ridden in that type of tack, so the bosal is where I start.

I was very interested to see how anxious little Keeper would do in it. She was way nice today. She seemed to like the bosal and the ranch manager said it’s the nicest ride she’s ever seen with this mare. I’ve got a lot of experience riding a hot horse like Keeper thanks to my beautiful Zarah (miss that horse!).

Dave helped me to understand how to use the bosal properly. There is “tugging” to help the horse respond to your body, then “bumping” if they need more info.  Your hands are held knuckles up. You’re riding in your body and using the bosal to help the horse find a reason to care what you’re body is doing. This made perfect sense to me.


Joaquin in the 1″ bosal

If the horse runs through the bosal when a down transition is requested, you “double” the horse. Doubling means taking their feet away in the same location, then trying again. Keeper needed me to do that once or twice, but then she had the idea. We were playing with walk trot transitions and eventually played with the canter. We were able to canter pretty nicely, which I wasn’t expecting. I expected her to run off in the canter and throw her nose in the air, but she stayed pretty connected. Cool!

I wanted to keep riding her but Dave wanted to see me ride my next horse, Joaquin. This is an Azteca gelding, gorgeous gray, about 5 yrs old. I really liked the look of this horse so I was excited to ride him. He wasn’t quite as responsive as Keeper, but still quite nice.

I was getting better with the bosal and started playing with”hinging” the horse. This means the horse is traveling one way, but the head is facing left or right. Joaquin was willing, has a lovely canter, and was just a nice experience for me. He definitely was looking for input with the bosal, so I kept reminding him I was there and that he should maintain direction when he got off course.

We rode up a very steep hill to check the water tank after a while. He seemed happy to do that. The hill was so steep, we needed to switch back coming down. He was a champ, sure footed and confident. I really enjoyed riding Ricky the first 3 days, but I think Joaquin might be the one I’d take home if that were an option. (So glad it’s not, I have enough horses!)

As an apprentice, I earn my teaching time by helping on the ranch after riding. We rode until 1 or 2pm, then we got to work. Today, part of our chores included manure clean up riding paths and in arenas, feeding the cows and horses, then we changed out a broken fence post. I actually enjoyed the fence post work!  I learned a few things and the ranch manager and the other apprentice are fun to be around.


Ilena, Martina and Ruthie the cattle dog pose with our completed fence post repair

So, a full day beginning at 730 and ending at 515. Huge learning day for me. I’ll be in the bosal the rest of the week. Dave explained that the better you ride in the bosal the better you ride in the snaffle.

Looking forward to another day!  Missing my Pilates with Amy Stone.


Patterns to remember

1.  Question box with 2 cones as gates entering from each side.  Make straight line through the gates and through the middle.

2.  Add cones between the gates to make a circle.  Ask the horse to weave into the middle and out again, leading by the hip at the trot.  Help the horse get better and lighter swinging the hind on request.

3.  “Declare” in the question box which direction you’ll be going after the gate and help the horse start to learn to get himself prepared.

4.  Play with declaring your direction until the horse starts to prepare himself with less and less assistance from the rider.  Then, as the preparation gets better, do the pattern at the canter and declare your position closer and closer to the exit gate.  Voila!  Flying changes!

Dave talks a lot about flying changes and how to get them by just setting your horse up to find them himself.  He never jams a horse into a lead change.  I always have a lot to consider when Dave talks about how he sets up flying changes.  He explains that the horse will find more comfort in the correct lead and we are best to use the “set it up and wait” mentality to get seamless and easy changes.  He says he will always prefer a smooth and flowing simple change over a forced and jammed flying change.  The more you do simple changes, where the horse is changing gaits, the more your horse will start to ask if he can just change the lead and skip the gait change.  The gait change is more work for the horse!

From → Uncategorized

  1. Amy permalink

    Miss you at Pilates too! This week was “Tower” with a focus on a lateral rib lift, side-lying, with using the inner thighs. It was “crazy” hard! I love your se f the word “Declare” in the question box. My question is ….. Is “declare” an “ask?”

    • Good question! So, the declare is more like a preparatory maneuver. Think about what you might do to prepare your horse to change from right lead to left. In those moments before you ask for the lead change, you would set up your body and prepare yourself and subsequently your horse, for the change that’s coming. That’s the declaration. “We are going right at the canter currently, but I declare that soon we’ll need to go left.” Hope that makes sense!

  2. Amy permalink

    Got it -very cool.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: