Posting gone wrong, but feedback loop gone right

I found out that I can’t post Cole at all in the arena.  I tried and tried.  I felt like I never did it in my life.  I would go a couple strides and fall into the saddle with a boom.  Poor Cole would immediately halt in confusion.  I had to give up because I felt I was torturing him.


So, then I tried it with Cruiser.  He simply didn’t give me enough oompf to get off the saddle.  I gave up with him, too.


I post both horses all the time on the trail quite easily, so I guess I will practice my new techniques out there.


In the beginning of Cole’s ride, he didn’t want to hold his good trot.  We would go a short distance, and he would pop up.  It was very warm last night, and I have had trouble with him in the past when he thinks it is to hot to work.  My horses have full winter coats.


Anyway, I worked on some circles and transitions and such.  Then, I remembered reading in Mary Wanless about the feedback loop.  She said we should pay attention and figure out when we are going to lose our horse’s back, adjust ourselves and hopefully keep it.  I started to pay attention.  When it felt like he was going to pop up, I just did more of what I was supposed to be doing.  I would lose him partially for about a second and then I had him again.  We trotted for two and a half laps in the big trot.  I never totally lost him.  I clicked and gave him a peppermint.  That was a bonus treat—I usually give him carrot slivers.  I don’t know if I have ever trotted him that long without him coming above the bit.  He deserved a bonus treat.


Now, I wasn’t sure if Cole would take the reward as a “good job” on the way he was trotting at the moment or a “good job” for trotting for the duration.  I asked him to do it again, and we did—and we even had a direction change involved.  I didn’t have any more peppermints, so I gave him a handful of carrots.  He was more consistent than the first time.  This time, I don’t know if it was me riding with more awareness or the clicks—maybe both.  I gave him a long walk and when I asked him to trot, he gave me a big, bold and beautiful.  I had to click that one right away—it was so nice.  I asked for another trot, and he did it again!  I clicked and we quit for the night.


Cruiser did well for his ride.  He was rounding up and reaching for the bit—but wasn’t leaning on it like the last ride.  He was very steady, even when the pretty mare came in to ride with us.  I didn’t want to work him too hard, because he gets very hot on the warm days.  So we ended up doing a lot of walking while I chatted.


I have a 4-day weekend for riding!  The weather looks like we will manage some trail riding, though the river is high from all the rain the last couple days.  It will be nice just to get the guys out of the arena for a break.

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