I'm riding a good horse.

One thing I can honestly say, without a doubt in my mind is, I own a good horse. He has his moments, as does every horse, but he is a good horse and perfect for where I am at this moment and hopefully for the future. He lets kids climb all over him and never flinches, he lets mediocre riders kick him and try to make him go but he goes slowly because he knows they can't handle it, and when I climb on, he does what I ask and knows what I want with a single cluck of the tongue or word. He wants to go fast with me, surprisingly. He doesn't really like going fast for anyone else but when I'm on him he seems to have a desire to at least trot and race the other horses. Sometimes I get caught up in the negatives in him, there aren't many, but there are some.
  • His trot is rough and because of that, I haven't moved onto a canter as seriously as I'd like. His rough gait is making me accomplish things slower and while I had planned to start him on trot poles I haven't had the time yet.
  • He has no sense of space between horses. I pull him back and he is stubborn, shakes his head and gets closer. He's getting better at this, though.
  • Going down a certain hill is torture. It's the one next to the barn that we normally go through to get to the trails and he goes all llama on me and is barn sour, which he typically isn't anymore. For this reason alone do I try and bring a crop.
 I have my faults, as well, though.
  • I give in to easily. If he acts up, I say, "well, okay, we'll do it your way" after about five minutes of  trying. Me giving in is making him worse because he knows eventually I'll give up and so he can get his way.
  • My posture isn't good enough, therefor it makes the whole rough gait thing even worse.
  • I let myself chicken out when I feel confident enough to go into a canter.
  • I keep my reins too tight when asking him to canter, attempting to make my own body not, uh, fall off my horse, and that's causing him to, obviously, want to go slower. I need to work on having soft hands.

On another note, we do have our good sides. ;)

  • Just from being worked more, I do believe his gait is smoothing out, slowly.
  • He works marvelously with neck reining AND open reining, which helps me a lot while changing paces. I typically open rein when trotting/cantering/galloping and neck rein when walking.
  • He leads or follows in trail rides and doesn't mind being in the middle of a huge group of horses.
  • He trailers well, every now and then he just needs a tap  on the butt when getting on but loads well other than that.
  • He gets along with pretty much every creature in the world, bunnies, snakes and humans alike.
  • He works off of leg pressure really great, which will make learning how to "spin" eventually and etc a lot easier.
  • he's NOT spooky. At all. Seriously, the horse isn't afraid of anything and when he does spook, it's just a side step.
  • He has *great* feet, so no problems there.
As for me, I don't have as many, but..
  • I'm patient with him, amazingly, considering I'm the most impatient person ever.
  • My posture has improved drastically.
  • I'm slowly getting better at reining.
  • I'm not above asking for help or studying. A lot!
 All in all, this is where I want us to be.

And I feel like I can get there, as can Red. However, we need to work on a LOT of stuff.

Here's some info I found about RP while deciding what I needed to work on next:

"The judged class will have three to five suggested patterns, which will be scored based on a proposed score sheet. A judge may also design their own pattern made up of the required maneuvers and three of the optional maneuvers. Points earned in the class are eligible for the AQHA Incentive Fund payout for horses, and no horse may cross-enter (i.e. a junior/senior western pleasure horse shown at a show is not eligible to show in the ranch pleasure at the same show; youth western pleasure horse may not show in ranch pleasure; amateur/Select amateur western pleasure entry may not show in ranch pleasure).
The ranch horse pleasure horse should reflect the versatility, attitude and movement of a working horse. The horse’s performance should simulate a horse riding outside the confines of an arena and that of a working ranch horse. This class should show the horse’s ability to work at a forward, working speed while under the rider’s control. "

First thing. We MUST work on control while at a faster speed. I don't have enough control while trotting or cantering and while this seems like a tiny goal, it's something I desperately need to work on!

"Each horse will work individually, performing both the required and optional maneuvers and will be scored from 0 to 100, with 70 denoting an average performance. The primary considerations are the overall manners and responsiveness of the horse while performing the maneuver requirements and the horse’s quality of movement.
Required movements include the walk, jog and lope in both directions; the extended jog and lope in at least one direction; stops; and a turn to change directions.
Three of the following maneuvers must be included: sidepass; turns of 360 degrees or more; change of lead (simple or flying); walk, jog or lope over a pole(s); or any other reasonable combination of maneuvers that a ranch horse would perform. 
The maneuvers may be arranged in various combinations with the final approval by the judge. The overall cadence and performance of the gaits should be as those described in Rule 447 (a), with an emphasis on forward movement, free-flowing and ground covering for all gaits. "

As for required movements, we've got the walk down, we need to work a little on the jog and lope, though. Mostly the lope. I need to get Red's jog to somehow become a little more fluid and less bumpy, which is where the trot poles and extra work will come in.

As for lead changes...yeah, gonna need to work on that. A lot. I don't know a lot about lead changes, so if anyone can help out I'd be super grateful. :)) Gotta work on sidepasses as well but I don't think it'll be as difficult. I'll work on that soon, before the lead changes.

Need to work on poles, obviously, as I've stated before.

So much to work, on, but all in all, I feel like we can do it. I have a good horse. I have a lot of help. I'm at a good place to start. :)

Also, gonna work on getting some videos up soon since none of y'all have actually *seen* me ride or Red in action! :D


  1. Sounds to me like his back needs some work. Trotting will become smoother and lighter as soon as he can lift his back and get his butt under him. There are a bunch of things you can do to help, like walk-trot transitions, walking up hills and trotting down them, and trotting over cavaletti. Once his back is stronger, getting him to lift and use his butt while trotting will make the trot softer and smoother. Trust me, I've been working toward a smooth trot for over a year.

    1. I think you are right. I've been doing a lot of work on walking up hills/trotting down, especially since there are so many steeper hills at my barn that we can use and have to in order to get to the trails, lol. I've been working on it for almost a year, but not as hard as I'd like to...need to get cracking on it!! I've heard about some owners using massages as well, so I may watch some videos/study up on it and give it a shot.

  2. Learning to ride and getting better at it take lots of time in the saddle just doing it. You'll get there!

  3. Thanks for the vote of confidence. :) I always knew that riding was hard but I don't think I realized exactly how much work you have to put it in daily to get where you want to go. So worth it, though......

  4. Love the title of this post! :)

  5. You will make ie definitely. Practice makes perfect.