Thursday, July 10, 2014

De-scaring the Terrifying Dressage Whip

Ashe has a problem with dressage whips (and lunge whips, crops, chains jingling, anything near his face, clippers (they don't have to be touching him), hoses (we're at 60/40 for freak outs), cloth measuring tapes...)...

Unfortunately he just isn't quite making the connection with some lateral movements, where a whip would be in handy to add pressure in what I want him to move. Also in aiding him becoming much more immediate off my leg at the canter cue.

So I pulled out my trusty dressage whip, wiped the dust off, and... proceeded to walk to my horse for half the ring because he was backing up because he KNEW I was holding it. When we were finally progressing forward again, we mounted and he shot off like a rocket. I didn't even touch him, just wiggled it as I was adjusting a stirrup and it was within his view.

Now I can be on the ground and rub it all over him. He flinches a little around his torso but relaxes his back leg and chews so I know he isn't THAT scared of it.

Finally we manage a decent walk and trot without explosions of forward movement from me just wiggling the thing. We attempt to canter, he just trots faster. I tap, and I mean just brush it backwards... and we're off at Mach 5 running laps around the arena. I let him work it out since I do want it to mean forward and we finally come back under control and I walk him out until he stops breathing like a dragon and we try again.

Less explosion but still running full forward with little steering and all half halts, seated or bit, are out the window.

I quit for the day as we're both sweaty and tired.

Let him rest for  a day and come back out.

Well what do you know but we actually managed to walk up to, mount, w/t/AND canter like a normal sane horse with dressage whip in hand. We even had nice couple of turns on the forehand, and I was able to use it in his leg yields. Huzzah!

However, as always with Ashe... 50/50 he'll explode the next time I ride.

Bonus is that he did not have to be sedated for the dentist and had only two minor escape attempts. YAY!

And the next lesson my trainer is helping me groom him and we start working on the... Dreaded Clippers!!

Bonus: Video of us jumping 2'9!!

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