October 15, 2014

Training - What exactly are we doing?

I haven't posted much about where Gentry's training is at or what I am doing with him. Mostly that is for two reasons:

  1. I have been spending a lot of time working on fencing, leaving little time for riding. 
  2. I am purposefully taking things slowly with him and just getting to know him.

With Rose, I was in a rush. A rush to get in the show ring and prove to myself that I could do this whole horse starting thing. Part of me felt that I had to do that to justify the cost of boarding a showhorse. I am not in a rush this time around, nor do I have a board payment anymore. In hindsight, I realize that I had put too much pressure on myself and Rose. All I am expecting of Gentry at this stage is steering, stopping, and all around good behavior in the saddle and on the ground.

That doesn't mean we aren't working on things though. What I am focusing on in terms of his training at the moment is balance and rhythm. Like most babies, he speeds up and slows down because he doesn't quite know what to do with his body while a rider is on his back. There is only one way to get past that; time in the saddle, a balanced seat, and a soft steady hand.

It is working!

A few minutes into each of our rides Gentry softens and relaxes. He becomes quiet with the bit (stops the nervous baby munching) and he lets out several relaxing exhales. Each ride, we seem to reach this stage a little sooner and the bit munching has subsided tremendously. No flash needed!

So that is what we are working on at all three gates. Balance, rhythm and relaxation. This is my current training focus/goal for now and probably the rest of the winter. Given upcoming weather conditions, and lack of an indoor arena, I probably won't worry about progressing to the next step or getting him over a jump until spring.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. I've followed your Posts since Rose and am really enjoying your new adventures. I have boarded in the past and like you also have the resources to keep my horses at home.
    I have decided to winter my horses at home this year partially, to be truthful, because of the cost ($600+ per horse) - but more importantly because I've discovered how much I enjoy the low key world of having them here at home vs stressing out getting to the barn and validating the cost of boarding by almost forcing not only my rides.
    To look out my window and see my horses grazing together, to be able to walk outside and place my hands on them at a moment's notice and having the time to get to know them deeply is of much more value to me.
    I'll haul in to the barn and join my friends for rides but even as I look out the window today at the wind and rain (and at an empty pasture because my horses are safe and dry in their huge loafing shed), I feel very confident in the decision I've made.

  2. Ah the work and the luxury of home boarding. I think 50+ said it right, when they're at home, it feels OK to just enjoy them, not always push at a big goal, but work on the little stuff. Eventually I want that view, pony in the yard, it was always the best thing about !my aunts house. Glad your place is coming along!

  3. I agree with the other two and I love that you're going this route with Gentry. It may seem slow, but it's really the best way to go with baby horses. :D



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