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Selena Ride 11: Welcome to the Half Halt

August 15, 2009

Wizard

Thursday, 8/13/09

After a very nice ride on Wednesday night, I rode Selena in the indoor arena in the afternoon without the accompaniment of any other horses. She called to the horses in the barn a few times. The arena was in the middle of maintenance so it was watered but not yet groomed (ah, I have impeccable timing) so we had to keep the ride light and simple. I did my best to keep Selena’s focus and the best way I found was to work on my half halt signals. We trotted on a very large circle with very light contact and I gave a half halt every ten steps or so. Once she was more focused, I was able to take a little more contact of her mouth without resistance. To the right, it took about ten minutes of trotting. To the left, it was quicker since she was already relaxed in one direction. I rode for less than a half hour, since it was more mentally taxing for her than our usual rides. I’ll be interested to see how this behavior changes when she is no longer in heat. At no time did she feel unsafe, just unfocused. I was pleased that the half halts worked. Now I can refine my cues. Riding this mare is the perfect thing for improving my position.

I hand walked Wizard a little shorter than usual. I let him graze and he and his buddy JR got to stay outside overnight in the comfortable summer air.

The farrier came out and he was pleased with the progress of Selena’s feet. We are keeping her barefoot for at least one more shoeing cycle unless she shows signs of footsoreness. He said that the likely cause of Wizard’s abscess was a stone bruise, which makes sense since we have been doing a lot of hand walking on different surfaces. I’m going to be more cautious about surfaces; despite his healthy hoof walls, his low soles tend to cause problems for him. The indoor arena is soft and forgiving but I would imagine that he would have problems doing a lot of hard trails with his bare hind feet.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2009 10:51 pm

    What a beauty in the photo above.

  2. August 18, 2009 11:35 am

    I have to agree. What a gorgeous horse. Love the bangs as well 🙂

  3. September 2, 2009 11:38 am

    Like you, I have also found that half-halts are a great way to get and maintain a horse’s attention. I’m sure the fact that she was in season had a lot to do with her behavior, but your work on half halt signals was an excellent idea. Too often, I have seen riders get frustrated in those situations and taken it out on their horse. Your response was far more productive in both the short and long term. Kudos.

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