Stacy’s Recipe for Training Titan

jrl cantering

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!


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