Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More like golf than rodeo: Riley, day two under saddle

In terms of excitement, this more professional golf than pro rodeo. Despite rain, cold, wind, and the fact that his buddies all went out to pasture while he stayed inside, Riley was a good boy last night. He's a little brighter, a little more looky, but his video bores even me, and I'm his mom. Only the die-hard Riley fans will want to watch the whole thing. I suggest you start watching at about 5 minutes, 30 seconds to see some of the trot work and the Whoa/Go practice.

The little emerging issue with Riley is that his mouthiness is starting to interfere his learning under saddle -- a way to combat boredom, resist rein action, whatever. We talked about using a flash, which makes sense, just so he doesn't chew through the reins! But I can easily see him being the kind of horse to stick out his tongue or grind his teeth. We'll have to take precautions to make him comfortable.


  1. Just a thought - it's possible that if you ignore the mouthiness rather than trying to surpress it (with a flash) or correct it, that it will go away on its own. He's just trying to get used to things and there's a lot to think about, so he's using his mouth, in a way, to help him think. There's sure a lot of positive to focus on with him. A flash might surpress the mouthiness, but might lead to other problems or make him anxious.

    You obviously have done all the prep work right - he's certainly coming along beautifully. One of my rules is that if there's fireworks, there isn't usually much training/learning going on. Your boy is a good learner, and has had some excellent teachers.

  2. Looks like he's coming along nicely! Is that you riding him? If so you do an excellent job before mounting - I liked when you waved your arms up and down, hehe!!!

  3. I'm inclined to ignore, at least at first. He is a mouthy boy and I fear that he'll find a way to get around the flash -- grinding or tongue sticking out for example. He tends to "internalize" things rather than out and out misbehave (rearing, bolting). My trainer is more of the school that you teach them early so they never know any other way.

    Cathryn, no that's not me. She IS doing a great job though.

  4. I can hear Riley snoring from here! Hehe. Glad things are progressing uneventfully.

    Mani was mouthy with the bit when we started - chomp, chomp. Eventually it went away on its own. Not sure how or why.

  5. All of your hard work is definitely paying off - that's some calm boring video for sure! He looks great :)

    I'm with Kate, I'd just ignore the mouthiness. When he's off the longe he'll have more things to think about and you can distract him better.

  6. Something that I saw on the last video, as well as this one, is the "lead person" snapping the leadrope periodically. I'm assuming that it is hooked to the bit by the way your horse reacts. As calm as he is it seems like a over-reaction to a little fidgeting.

    I have the mouthy problem with William all the time. Part of it reminds me of stallion behavior (Will was gelded about 6 months ago)I have taught him to keep his mouth off of me by voice reprimand and slapping his shoulder (I never swing for a horses face). When he is being groomed/tacked up I give him his big cotton leadrope to hold in his mouth. He still has his baby teeth so it pacifies him without destroying a lead.

    I think the flash might be a bad idea. He obviously likes to fiddle around. By restraining that while he is being introduced to so much might backfire on you.

  7. Hi Helen,

    The handler is shaking the lead rope which attaches to halter over the bridle. Riley is a little unaware of personal space, and he has whacked more than a few folks in the face with his head. It really hurts! I think she is just trying to establish a zone of safety. His reaction might be b/c i actually DO make contact with his face -- nothing else seems to work...

    I've never worked Harv in a flash, and would prefer to leave one off. We'll see how he responds over time. It's hard for me to imagine a tight flash helping the jaw to relax...

  8. Riley is beautiful! What a nice trot. I have a 7 year old Dutch Warmblood that I broke slowly as a 2 year old and he was really mouthy at first, but by the time he was 3 or 4 that went away. Now if he's concentrating rrrreally hard you can see the pink edge of his tongue between his lips, but mostly he just gets really foamy, which I think is a good thing. I think you might have the right instinct to just ignore it for now. He's otherwise such a good boy!


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