I set goals every time I get on any of my horses. If I don't set a goal, even if we had a good ride, I don't feel like we accomplished much. I even set goals for out on the trail ride. I never really say them out loud but having them in my head helps drive the ride forward to a productive place where the horse and/or myself are learning something. If I get on and the horse isn't where we left of for whatever reason the the goals change but generally it works out really well.
Today I only worked from 5:45-10 and it was BEAUTIFUL outside so I got everyone worked and was able to spend time fussing over everyone.
Margo and Mace were first. I lunged her (and of course Mace too since he is part of the Margo package). My goal for Mace was to teach him not to run up at the lunge line. The other day when I lunged her he kept charging the line and even tried to jump it once. Luckily Margo's whoa is fabulous so I just dropped the line and said whoa and a possibly major accident was avoided. I didn't want to stop working her because he was there but more important was him not getting hurt. So today I decided to use a different line. It is a fat round purple one rather than the flat navy one that I normally use. I thought it would be more visible to him and it is much heavier so if he did try something stupid again it would drop to the ground if I let go. The navy one fell to the ground but when it landed it had loops sticking up that could get a leg. Every time he would try and charge it I would very firmly tell him no and wiggle the line. That seemed to get his attention and he very quickly got the picture. Mace goal: accomplished.
With Margo I wanted to get her responding to my voice better for gaits and also learn to walk on the lunge. She likes to go straight out at a trot and then trot and canter the whole time. Her whoa, like I said before, is great so I decided to work on transitions both up and down. She was getting much better at the end and even managed to walk long enough to cool herself out. Margo goal: accomplished.
Tiki and I desperately needed to work on her reaction to my legs. So my goal for her was to become more responsive to my cues rather than just reacting. To me reacting is an automatic response to my cues where as if she is truly responding then she has to think about what I want her to do. So today we worked on leg cues. She is very sensitive to my legs but every time my leg is on her side she thinks it is go faster unless I have pressure on the bit. Today we worked at the walk on lessening the pressure on the bit and increasing me asking her to move her body around. She was getting it but I think it is definitely something that we need to work on over more time. Tiki goal: in progress but better.
Titan and I had a ground lesson today. I have noticed in the pasture lately that he is much more pushy and I wanted to remind him who is boss. So my goal for him today was to get back to we were last fall with him reading my body language and listening to my voice commands. He did get in trouble a few times for trying to just walk over me but in the end we are almost back to where we were last fall. I am sure he will need many more refreshers in his life but for today he accomplished my goal for him.
With Love I worked on moving forward consistently. She prefers to stand still when I am sitting on her back. So we worked on walking with my voice and a little leg pressure rather than having to bump her sides with my legs. She did well but it took a while to warm up and since she is only 2 I only ride her for about 15 minutes at a time. By the time the little light was turning on in her head it was time to get off.
How about you guys? Are you like me with goals for every ride? Or do you just go by the seat of your pants so to speak and let the horse tell you what they need to work on that day?