Friday, June 11, 2010

Riley: "Where's my fenceline, dammit!"

On Thursday I watched another session with Riley and the trainer. There were some new challenges. The barn management removed the dressage ring in preparation for Sunday's dressage show (did I mention Riley is doing T1 and T2?). So no ring, no fenceline, no enclosure at all. To add to the mix it was cool, breezy, and due to rain there was no turnout the night prior.

Riley was Mr. Wiggly in the open ring, and the barn had a distinct allure. Toward the end of the session, he started veering toward the barn.  There were two mini-tantrums (worst one pictured left) -- love my trainer's secure seat! I was afraid he'd exit the ring, so ultimately I put the camera down and stood at the ready. The session ended on a lovely, compliant note but I didn't capture it. Turn the volume down so you don't have to hear my inane chatter :-)...

It's also on Youtube (click here or search sek4278 riley june 11).


  1. I really like how he moves, you have a very nice boy there! I also really like how your trainer is riding him. I see slack in the reins, very nice. So often people want to rush and crank up on the mouth to get a head set, instead of teaching them to carry themselves on a light rein. Kudo's all around!

  2. Riley has quite a left hook! He's beautiful though.

  3. What a great shot! You captured the moment, and your trainer looks like quite the rider. I'm enjoying reading about Riley and Harvey.

  4. Well, your boy certainly is athletic! Not quite sure what that move would score, but it was decidedly impressive. *lol* I too love your trainer's secure seat, and I can see why she is riding him instead of you.

    But in between the tantrums, he looks super! Off and on he does get a little behind the vertical, so you will have to watch that, but when he's correct, he looks great! So happy to see him going so well. The show should really be fun!

  5. Wow, that *is* a nice seat.

  6. Riley reminds me soo much of my current mare. Cantering is HARD! Haha that is what she thinks anyway. She has a dymamite trot, but canter work doesn't come as natural to her. She was a second level horse trained by a professional rider and then had 4 years off. Her and I have been getting back into shape together. The canter has been the most challenging, but good news, it will get better! She could barley canter 2-3 strides without breaking. She has tried running away with me (sometimes that happens as they try to avoid the work) and all kinds of tricks to psyche me out. I held steady, consistent, and big rewards when she did as asked. As he builds the muscles to carry himself he will get much better. The hard part is convincing them they need to build the muscles.

    Good Luck at your show!

  7. Holy Moly! The FIRST thing I noticed with the pic of Riley's tantrum was that rider's seat. A definite sense of yearning immediately followed. BAD ASS! And do please tell your trainer that if I was back in PA (I'm from Philly area!) he'd be SO on my list for some work with Jackson!
    Instead, I work on my own seat, and am learning from a master (80 years old, from England and very Zettl-like) so I do believe I am coming along. Classical all the way. But I want to look like that in a pic! :) And the odd change was good for Riley, especially since he had someone who could handle him!!!

  8. Gosh you have such a pretty pony! *grabby hands* How old is he again? (Why can I never remember??)

    In the beginning of the session he's working really well over his back but it looks a bit like he doesn't know what to do with the energy when it reaches the front end and therefore looks a bit heavy on the forehand. Is this true or am I seeing things? (Note: it is ENTIRELY possible that I'm seeing things, I'm working on my eyes.) To my eye he looks much lighter in the middle of the video (near where he's being a turd!).

  9. He looks beautiful!

    His antics remind me of a comment by Dr. Thomas Ritter during one of clinics that I audited. This is the horse's way of telling you "this is really hard", but when you get that response you have probably accessed the part of his body that he has been trying to hide from you and now he can start to get a little bit better. I like that philosophy, because it does not label the horse.

  10. Does Riley ever just go hacking- a long walk on a loose rein? From your posts, it appears he lives in a stable, he's turned out in a paddock and he works in an arena. What does he do to unwind? I live on a farm and I am used to horses having lots of turnout, grazing and relatively natural living when they are not working.

  11. I'm still learning, but I love his eagerness and the down transitions. :) He is beautiful. And your trainer's seat is wonderful - her britches are, too.

  12. Hi Anon,

    Geez, I thought I shared absolutely everything about this horse -- but judging from the assumptions your making I must be leaving a lot to the reader's imagination.

    -- 12 hour turnout with a buddy in a grassy pasture.
    -- 25 minute workouts 3x week
    -- handwalking/grazing around the property 2-3 times/week
    -- hacks where footing is good (I'm fussy about what footing he is ridden on)

    He's no hothouse flower, but having seem him suffer through months of stall rest, and knowing he's lost part of his pedal bone, I manage him more tightly than I do Harv. Long hacks on unfamiliar terrain are not in his immediate future.

  13. I love how Riley's face looks completely calm and from the saddle forward, he looks like he's just trotting along -- meanwhile the back end is exploding. Now that's talent! It was a beautiful ride otherwise, and I can't really fault a youngster for protesting once in a while. All part of their charm.

  14. He's such a pretty horse with a very pretty trot! Lovely moments here and there!

    I have to agree with Anonymous a bit... he looks like a very wound up horse who could do with exploring some wide open spaces and not being put under pressure for every ride. But, it's easy to talk when I come from Australia and my horses live in a paddock with zero stabling. Even though its winter here, my horses have rugs off during the day and are enjoying the sunshine as I type.

    I'm always fascinated by the differences between Australia and America in the way you keep and train horses. Maybe that's a topic for a blog post!

    Can I ask, what is going on in the canter when the rider needs to use the whip? Is he ignoring her leg?

    *sigh* He's so pretty! (Had to say that again.)

  15. He loses steam at the canter, and you can see/feel him starting to trot in back when he's wanting to quit -- hence the whip action. He's tired here.

    This is not a horse under stress of confinement or isolation -- he's learning what a work ethic is, and I LOVE the way my trainer is approaching it, asking for short bursts of concentrated effort and a yes ma'am! attitude, then calling it quits -- much better than niggling, nagging, stopping, walking, talking 45 minute rides. His resistances are nothing out of the ordinary, and if he escalates we'll drop back and re-evaluate I suppose.


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