Friday, May 14, 2010

Ricky Quinn Clinic~ Day 2

Good Morning Mercedes!!! Wake up and eat some hay!

"Oh! What's going on over there?!? Grain?!?!"

I walked over to the arena to sit down and wait for the colt starting to begin and the little guy was tied up in there getting some chill time.

First up was the grey arab. Ricky quickly reviewed yesterday's lessons about hind and front quarters and the jumped up into the saddle. Here Ricky is just asking the arab to move; it didn't matter where, he just needed to move out.

Then Ricky spent more than an hour trying to get the arab's attention off of the outside of the arena and on the inside. The arab wanted to stop next to the panel closest to the area entrance. Ricky made it difficult for him by asking him to move out every time he slowed down there or turned his head in that direction. He made it easy for the arab to slow down on the other side of the roundpen. Here is where Ricky would pet him and slow down his body movements. Once the arab slowed down and stopped in the 'quiet spot,' Ricky got off and called it a day.

Pony was next. He was saddled up right away and Ricky got to working him on his hind and front quarters. Here's the hind....

...And here's after getting the front!

Once Ricky added some speed to get him moving out and practicing transitions. There was a little crow hopping, but nothing serious and he figure it out rather quickly.

After checking the cinch one last time...

...It's time to step up into the saddle!

All aboard! Ricky checked out his hind/front again and then asked him to move out on a loose lead.
While working in the roundpen, Ricky's blue roan mare was poking around. Ricky was saying that she sometimes doesn't like things coming between her and a fence... so what a great opportunity to practice that! The pony felt the squeeze too, but both horses held it together.

Then, once she was out of the way, she found a flag along the roundpen rail. For any ordinary horse who has been flagged many times, this wouldn't be any issue, But she's different. She's been bitten by a rattle snake, on the nose. Because of this she is very nervous about things that move quickly, especially around her face. It could be another snake!

Well, she had a very brave moment. She reached out for the flag! And when it shook after she breathed on it, she didn't freak out. In fact, she went to investigate again!

After the pony put on a good ride he was let out and the paint came in. He was flagged again and as you can see, he was a little stiff. He didn't want to reach under himself very well.

Using the flag, Ricky is able to help the paint to drive deeper underneath himself...

...And bring his front around a little more freely.

Saddling this guy was easy. Wanting to she us something new, Ricky showed us how to get a horse to lead up to the fence for mounting. By bumping up on the lead until the horse swings his hips left, toward the panel, and releasing when he does, a horse learns to associate the bump with 'move over here for me.' The still kind of stiff paint took a while to get the idea, but in the end getting on was easy and he got the point.

When all was good at the fence, Ricky got on and started immediately bending his head around and asking for the hind. A nice first ride. He is so good that Ricky suggests his owner ride in the afternoon class instead of the colt starting class, starting that day!

After our lunch break and getting saddled up (we were promised some ridding time today!) everyone met in the arena. We started with ground work from the previous day right away. Once Ricky had worked with his horse for a while he gathered everyone into the center of the arena and asked if we had any questions. After questions time he asked me to bring my rope and Mercy into the middle of the circle, where he took over. He showed us how to rope a horse's front feet in order to prepare them for hobbling. We were to hold the rope tight around their pastures until they picked them up and allowed you to place them where you wanted without a struggle, then release the pressure of the rope by giving it some slack. If the horse objected, you held on until it tried. If your horse moved, you had your lead rope in your other hand and you simply broke them over their hindquarters, then start again. After demonstrating how to rope their front feet, he sent us out to practice. Mercy has been roped before, so she got it. I just quickly 'walked' her with the rope and waited for our next instructions.
I borrowed a friend's leather hobbles for the next part. Ricky showed us how to put them on and then instructed me to just hold the lead a distance away and let her figure it out, if she had too. After a minute of standing still we were to take off the hobbles and wander around or do something else. When they stand still and don't struggle, the get released sooner. Mercy and I stood there for our minute or so and I took them off, praising her. They went back on after a short break, like instructed. This time she tried to follow me as I backed away and the hobbles tightened around her pasterns. She shuffled her front feet in order to get away, but quickly and quietly figured it out and settled down. I took them off and praised her yet again once she was completely calm. One more time I slapped on the hobbles and this time Mercy remained quiet. What a good girl! Such a quick learner... when she wants to be... :)
Once everyone got a chance to try the rope and hobbles, we started right back into groundwork. We revisited the front and hind quarter work and then Ricky asked us to take it a step further. We were to 'drift' the hinds, without changing directions. Using our leading hand, we needed to bring the lead across our chests toward their hips. This would ask the horse to move the hind quarters faster than the front quarters, as well as drive deeper underneath themselves. Again, this is something that Mercy and I have done. She showed her displeasure some much (facially) that Ricky actually rode over asked about it. He agreed that she was just bored beyond all reason. I asked if there was something I could do to turn her angry faces around and his reply was to give her a job and it will straighten right out. I couldn't agree more. These 'drills' are great, but she's ready to move on, now. I continued to try other exercises with her as the other participants practiced the drift to try and get her entertained... it wasn't working.
Once everyone appeared to get it, Ricky showed us how to properly bridle a horse while haltered. After the horse is bridled, you can easily slip the halter through their mouths and behind the bit to get the halter off. Then it was time to ride!
We only had about a half an hour left until it was time to quit for the day, so we just worked on applying our new (or refreshed) skills from the ground to the saddle. First we started by bending our horses' neck back and forth at a standstill to check out how resistant they were in the snaffles. They should become lighter and lighter the more bends you do. Mercy was quite heavy to the left, but to the right I BARELY had to lift my hand and her head came flying to her side. I know what I need to work on the most now!
After we had checked our horses out at a standstill, it was time to move. Moving in a circle, we would reach down the rein, take hold, and bring the rein to our hip to bend the head and disengage the hind quarters. Eventually, once everyone got that part situated, we were to add a slight kick to the hip as we reached down the rein. This is the cue for the hinds to move over. After we had done quite a few of those, in both directions, we were done for the day.
Ricky told us that the next day would be half groundwork and half riding, so come ready! Yes!

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