Henry gets WORKED

Monday Coolie got to relax after his busy weekend and massage, so I pulled Henry out of the paddock for a serious ride.

My lesson on Friday was a bit of a wake up call that while I have to be aware he is still just a baby horse, he is a baby horse who can work. So keeping that in mind, I thought I'd try lunging him in side reins before riding.
Henry was in denial about being worked

I have lunged Hen only a handful of times, and never properly with the cavesson and side reins. I am extremely thankful that the person I bought him off taught him to lunge, because lunging without a round yard with a horse who doesn't know what it's doing is not a recipe for success.

I warmed him up without side reins and he was his usual chill self, and really started to stretch down and out. Stretching is pretty much his favourite. Second to food. I added the side reins and had them very loose, not knowing how he would react to them. He just kept stretching with them and into them, so I was happy with that!

After about 15 minutes I hopped on. I was surprised at how different he felt after being lunged. He was forward and willing, and his walk and trot felt much looser, which is saying something because he's a very loose horse unless we are somewhere new. We worked on what we had done in our lesson. His rhythm was better because we were at home, and I was more aware of what I was doing with my hands thanks to my lesson on Coolie.

Henry was more accepting of the contact when I asked for it, and I felt he was a bit straighter. I rode him in the arena for 40 minutes (as opposed to the 20 we often do! See above about baby horse being capable of doing more work), I decided to cool him down by taking him for a walk out in the creek reserve.

I have been wary of doing this because he gets a bit nervous on his own but I figured he had worked well, and while he wasn't tired, he wasn't feeling as fresh either.

It was such a good decision! He stood to open the gate, which includes a combination lock that is a bit fiddly, then walked calmly down the fence line in a direction he's only been once before. He was a bit wary of something in the neighbours paddock, but I let him have a look and then he walked past with no problems.

I decided to cross the creek at a point where the banks aren't steep. There was no water in the creek either, it just looks like a grassy ditch. We approached it with a forward walk, and he stopped dead. He tried to spin to the left to avoid going forward, so I opened my right rein and turned him to face the creek. He was rewarded for forward and standing, but he was not allowed to turn or step back.

After he had stood quietly for a short time, I asked for forward which was again met with trying to spin left. I repeated the right turn and standing and he eventually put his head down and sniffed the grass.

After a few minutes of unsuccessfully trying to get him to walk forward past a point that in his mind was not cool, I walked him along the creek, and back again to where I wanted to cross. I made sure I had a big forward walk, almost trotting. I looked up, closed my leg and lo and behold, he walked through the creek. I turned him around and we went back and forth a few times before we continued our walk.

We went for a stroll up to the road where he has never been. He stayed forward and quiet, and even when a horse came galloping up to a fence, he didn't freak out,. I could feel his heart hammering though! Before we finished up, I made sure to revisit the creek. He thought it was no big deal the second time around.


  1. aw what a good baby horse! i love that feeling when you can step up the pressure a little bit, and the horse rises right up to the occasion like they've been waiting all along for it haha


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