Lesson and Cross Country Schooling

The new trio!

I think Robbye and I may have gotten past our crappy misbehaving phase. Maybe she’s really just not a hot-weather horse?

Friday we had a lesson. I had hoped to work on my position, leg yields, the normal stuff, but…it turned into a lesson on how to deal with Robbye’s shit. Which sorta feels like a waste of a lesson, but at the same time is one of the most useful things I could learn. It also resulted in a huge epiphany:

Every time I slow down and try to relax Robbye after one of her freak-outs, I’m rewarding her for her misbehavior.

DUH!

It seems so obvious now:

Every time Rob flips out or even just misbehaves, I need to MAKE HER WORK. 

 

So that was pretty much the entirety of our lesson. Every time she bucked, bolted, stuck her head in the air, ignored a cue, anything – she got to either work harder/faster or use her brain more. This solution is actually two-fold – it punishes her and gets her mind back to work, and it also gets my mind back to work.
Saturday Robbye got the day off while I entertained house guests.
Sunday Robbye, Julie, Yogi and I headed out to Twin Towers to cross country school. Rob was being a total dick, so I encountered my first real test of whether I could enforce our new rule. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job – at one point, we turned for a fence and she bucked and bolted. Julie told us to pull up, but I collected her back and took the fence. Take that, you big fartfaced horse!
We really worked on galloping on this trip, and didn’t do a whole lot of jumping. Since she was being such a turd (even running around fences!), we made sure to work really hard for each fence – gallop before, gallop to the fence, gallop away.
Overall it wasn’t a hugely fun trip, and there wasn’t a whole lot of tangible progress, but I think this lesson is going to make a big difference.
What an incredibly unflattering photo of Robbye…wow.

Monday I kicked Rob’s butt again. Her lack of submission/obedience on the longe has been driving me nuts, so we practice longeing with lots of transitions. I was sure that Robbye knew vocal commands for walk, trot, and whoa, but…apparently she doesn’t. Either that or she just really wasn’t listening last night. It took about half an hour to get one good walk->whoa transition from her. Obviously, this is something we’re going to have to work on more, if I ever want to drive her.

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