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Maverick's History

 

Maverick was purchased to be an endurance horse. He has thin hair, thin skin, flat muscles, good feel, straight legs, is an efficient mover and is not overly wide bodied. Today he is 15-2 hands tall and he was 15-1 hands tall when I started him. To top off his qualities, he has a great mind. Watch him closely and if you get a chance, look into his eye; he is quite a guy.

He was foaled in mid-July 2001. We started him in mid-March when he was 2 ½ years old. His owner/breeder, Paula, had done an excellent job preparing him. She had done everything except swing a leg over his back.

I started him differently than any colt I have started before. I walked him until I could control each step of each foot. If he broke gait I executed the SRS.

We trotted on about the 7th or 8th ride. He showed me his comfort speed and didn't accelerate. Whenever he did accelerate in any gait, I would feel him in the face. If he heard me, he would drop down in gait until I released and he stayed at that gait. If he did not hear me I used the SRS. Keep it simple.

The slack rein and feel contact can be confusing. I ride pitched away any time he rates himself. I never ride him framed up for any extended period of time during a ride. "Why?" Simple. The horse in the wild does not travel framed up. Why should he on a ride?

If he is trotting or cantering I ride with feel contact. That means I am sending the message, "can you feel me?" He will send the message, "I feel you, I am okay." It is a subtle communication between Maverick and I . Should he grab the bit as though he is the leader, I execute the SRS immediately.

If he is fresh and a little full of himself, I go with him and let the trot or canter do the work. He will shake his head or kick up behind but not with malice. I believe in leaving the brightness on the horse.

If I am at an arena I will cut the diameter of the circle down in size which puts more work into his effort. Usually 2-3 circles will send the message to him and he will relax. This may not occur until I have changed to the other direction. The moment he relaxes, I pitch him away, leave him alone and become the passenger (feel and timing).

He was asked to canter about the 13th or 14th ride. I asked on an uphill from a relaxed trot and he was allowed to choose either lead. He chose the right hand lead which was a surprise because his is naturally left leaded. We cantered relaxed on a slack rein for about 200-300 feet. I felt him in the face, quit riding and kept the front door closed until I could feel he was going to walk. I released before he actually walked. He was settled the whole time so we walked a minute or two.

I thought, "Let's try again." I squeezed my calves, we trotted and I released immediately. This time I asked for the left lead. If he caught it great, if not, no big deal, just keep him relaxed. From the trot I cued him with my right leg and with the direct rein for the left lead. He took it! Wow, was I surprised. He understood to get away from my leg because he could execute the SRS confidently. He rated well because he was relaxed.

We walked about a mile back home. It was a win, win for him because he was always relaxed, self-contained which built his self confidence and increased the size of his comfort zone. He didn't know what he did, he was just following the leader. There were no bad habits to correct just good habits to keep and new ones to build. He gave the wrong answer sometimes but as the leader I waited for him to find the correct answer and we moved onward.

Maverick can walk relaxed about 4-5 miles per hour and trot relaxed about 10-11 miles per hour. He is comfortable at the trot with no push and it is easy for him. My job is to stay out of his way, keep him successful, happy and continue to build that "tiger."

Keep It Simple

 

Maverick's Year of 2005- Just What We Do

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