Weather Too Nasty to Ride? Make Stuff! Or, What to give your horse girl for Christmas!
One of the "cardinal rules" (yep, look it up) of horse training is that you don't ever want to tell a horse to attempt a move that ends up with them having less confidence rather than more.
So, when I'm introducing a horse to going over poles, the last thing I want to have happen, is for the horse to misjudge a step, land on a round pole and then slip and stumble. Yes, eventually that's bound to happen, but when I'm introducing a horse to trying something new for me, I try to set them up for a positive experience! I actually prefer square poles but this summer, Mike's crew pulled down a bunch of old fence and they were going to "toss" the lovely big round fence poles. Of course, I immediately "rescued" them from the trash pile to use for my trail training. First, we had to pull out any sharp bits of hardware that had been left behind. And then, they were just what I wanted.
They were nice and heavy but definitely round enough to roll (BAD), so I did what I've always done to "anchor them". I scrounged up some cinder blocks! I've been known to either run the ends of the poles through the blocks, or (if the pole is too big for that) I wedge the pole between 2 blocks to keep them in place. That means (potentially) heaving around 4 heavy cinder blocks for every pole! But you gotta do, what you gotta do!
Jack stepping over an "un-anchored pole"...but it's SQUARE!
But, thanks to my friend Barb, I have found a much better solution...easier to move around and still cheap and gets the job done! Barb made these herself! Mike won't let me play with his power tools (which I'm fine with because it's always kept me from the "hoof sanding detail").
If only Mikey had some spare time to make some for me! I'm hoping that by posting this blog (which I do intend to send to him in an email!) he'll get the hint and I'll get some for Christmas!
A great picture of Jack ...definitely demonstrating several of the components that would nudge him towards "maximum credit" as defined by the Arabian trail rules by demonstrating curiousity, expression and style and eye appealing! See below.
From the USEF rules (ArabianTrail Section), AR-27 AR218.2
Maximum credit should be given to the trail horse that negotiates its way through an entire course efficiently, in a timely manner, without excessive hesitation, with curiosity, expression, smoothness and style; in a manner that raises the degree of difficulty without sacrificing carefulness, control, and/ or attitude. Ultimately, the trail horse is skillful, eye appealing, confident, and leaves one with the impression of being sure, safe and a pleasure to ride over a course of obstacles.