Stacy (who is an accomplished horse person) bought Crusoe last week. While she was here she made up an instruction sheet to help me solve a problem I’d been having in training Titan. Titan gets too excited when we canter. He will attempt to speed up to a full out sprint. I don’t feel particularly in danger. He is not totally out of control, but almost. He is not jiggy any other time, only at his canter. The problem is that I lose the more subtle control. I want my horses to ‘rate’ their speed, that is, stay at the speed that I set. This rating is impossible for me at present because Titan is struggling with me for top speed.
This problem requires a very different kind of training method then the training I do with green horses. This training is an attempt to correct a fault that is somewhat established or may be hardwired into his nature. I had another horse with a problem just like Titan’s, but I sold him before I had a chance to solve it.
Stacy’s recipe for the problem I am encountering with Titan is entitled “Balance Titan”. She writes “Transitions Goal – he picks up canter “thinking” he needs to be ready to back up.” Then she writes a series of transitions: walk/halt/backup/trot/walk/halt/backup/trot… This is the first session in a series of seven. They gradually include some and then more cantering. She also says, “Stay on circle of medium to large size. Put stuff (example – logs/poles, part of the circle is on a hill, etc.) in the way. Canter until he feels like he’s relaxed. Take a break and go again.”
I am going to put Stacy’s recommendations into action over the next few weeks and keep you posted on this blog. I started a couple of days ago and already made a mistake by doing all seven series of transitions in one lesson, thinking of doing that over and over again over a period of weeks. Titan got very excited. I went back and read Stacy’s recommendations again. She says on the side, “PROGRESSION OVER WEEKS!” On the page she has written an axiom, “Adrenaline On = Brain Off”. In my case, I think both the adrenaline and the brain were OFF! I will resume these recommendations tomorrow and try to do better.
Of course any horseman knows or should know the obvious truth of this axiom “Adrenaline On = Brain Off”, but it’s great to have it written straight out like this. Like Samwise in Lord of the Rings, it is a “warning for numbskulls” like me!