We have still been working on ‘ditches’ or water trays this week. I needed to be able to ride over them but as I am still only able to ride a couple of times a week at the moment our practise opportunities have been few!
I took full advantage of them though – every time I rode I got out the ditches too. We have had so much rain in the past week that the fields are now rather slippery so I resorted to schooling ditches in the lane.
First I led him over the ditch again. Of course, this time he caught the edge of the tray with his foot so the other side lifted and spooked him. I was worried it would send us right back where we started but luckily he got over it.
Once I was mounted I started off as I did in hand by riding between the two trays. That gave us no problem at all so I pushed them together and tried again. He walked straight over them.
We repeated the exercise successfully next time I rode and hopefully we have cracked it. Of course, it is one thing to do it at home and something entirely different when we are out at a competition!
After our ‘ditch’ troubles last Sunday I decided I really ought to practise those trec obstacles I can recreate at home so I went out and bought a couple of small trays we could school over. The first day I just put the trays across the doorway of Galahad’s stable. If he wanted his dinner he needed to walk over them. I just left him to it and although he thought about it he actually went in without too much trouble. Taking the pressure off sometimes works well for him.
I moved on to leading Galahad through a gap between the two trays. He did hesitate slightly but then walked through easily. I gradually moved the trays closer together and he didn’t object at all. I didn’t want to push it so left it at that.
In our next session I started lunging him through the gap – mainly because he is often braver when being led than he is when ridden. I wanted to make sure that he would go through without having me to follow. Obviously I was still asking him to go forward but then I would be when riding him as well.
Again he went through with no problems but when I closed the gap he was having none of it. I put in a couple of guide poles and suddenly it all clicked.
I realise he isn’t actually stepping in the trays but the point of the ditch in trec is for the horse to get over calmly – stepping all the way over is absolutely fine!
I am so pleased with the progress Galahad has made in just a couple of days. Now I just need to get on and ride him over!
We recently had some work done on our lane – the ditch was re-excavated and the mud and grass was scraped off the middle. It is looking a lot nicer and the puddles have pretty much gone which is excellent.
It is a bit muddy at the moment but that is just because the digger was driving up and down all morning. It will dry!
Galahad – who can be a bit spooky walking on an unusual surface – didn’t bat an eyelid at it. However, he did have a massive spook both going out and coming in through the gate. I couldn’t decide whether he was objecting to the concrete slab which got left in the hedge when the digger had gone:
Or whether he didn’t like the Christmas wreath on the gate.
Either way, he wasn’t happy!