I was excited to get on Laredo again after everything we saw and learned at the Martin Black clinic. There was one young, green horse in the group of riders that often bucked when asked to lope, and a couple of other horses that were kicking up for various reasons. It was great that Laredo has just recently started to develop this habit and at the clinic we got to see Martin guide several people through dealing with it.
One of the interesting things about Martin Black is he consistently points out that the problem is not what you think it is. So in the instance of a horse that is cutting off part of a circle, the problem isn’t that the horse is cutting the circle. The problem is the horse wants to go over to his buddies or barn or wherever he’s trying to get to by cutting the circle.
With horses bucking or kicking out while being ridden, Martin said the problem is either a horse that doesn’t know his job, or a horse that knows his job but doesn’t want to do it. So you need to work on making the job clear to the horse, and motivating the horse to do the job.
Our biggest challenge with Laredo is definitely motivation, and it was interesting to watch Martin Black help the one rider on the super green horse work with getting the horse more comfortable with things. Martin was careful to never push the horse too far, but when the horse did act out a little, Martin ignored the behavior.
There was one major thing we took away that I think is going to be key to our work with Laredo. The number one way to motivate a lazy horse is to let that horse rest. Rest is the key to getting a horse that doesn’t want to go happy to move out. Rest is the key to helping a horse absorb what it just learned. Rest, and not demanding too much too fast.
We’ve made so much good progress with Laredo, I think the last few weeks we’ve been getting ahead of ourselves. We came back from the clinic reminded that he is only three. He is still new to all this, and both physically and mentally immature.
Today we rode out in the big pasture. It was the first time we’ve ever ridden Laredo out there, and the first time we’re ridden out there at all since last fall. We kept things very simple, going up and down hills and stopping to rest a few times. I worked mostly on steering with my seat and weight and was amazed how much I could get done. I hardly used my reins the whole ride.
Laredo was good. He walked out at a good pace, though he got stuck on a couple of the downhills. Instead of getting impatient with him when this happened, I stuck with him and tried to be encouraging. Towards the end of the ride he went down two steep inclines without hesitation.
It was great fun to ride out in that space again, though the reason we went out there ended up being rather sad. We had noticed we hadn’t seen Mo around for a few days, and got worried about her, so we decided to ride out and look in all the nooks and crannies to make sure she wasn’t down somewhere. Our search didn’t turn her up, and later we learned she was put down while we were out of town. Sad news. Although she was old and lame, she was really good friends with both Bear and Steen. They will certainly miss her.
At the end of the day, we put Steen back out in the pasture. There’s a big storm rolling in and although he’s not fully healed, we think he’ll be more comfortable with his herd.
Ride Time: 0:40
Horseback hours YTD: 134:05