Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Ollie Routine

Lately I've been able to work Ollie on a regular basis.  He's turning into a total rock star for me and meeting my goals with flying colors.  Of course my goals are very attainable goals.  Primarily, I want him to be able to be ridden in the ring without being stressed and tense.  I'm happy to report that he has met that goal and we are ready to move forward!  I dragged my husband along to photograph our routine for all of you.  Routine and consistency has been the key for Ollie.

We begin by coming in for breakfast with his BFF Toby

Toby and Ollie hang out in the pasture in the background on the right.
BTW - Toby's doing great too!  We've been on a couple very nice trail rides around the area.  He's the BEST trail riding horse!

After he eats his itty bitty bit of grain and supplements (he's only getting 1 qt these days!) then it's time to get cleaned up and tacked up.

Then it's down to the round pen to see what kind of mood we are in today - almost always it's been a happy gray pony...

Then we head on up to the riding ring for a spin and work on being relaxed and knowing "whoa"...

He stand at the mounting block like he owns it! But we practice standing most chances we can...

He looks so relaxed with his floppy ears!

But then it's time to do some work.  I'm trying to get him to move away from my leg (such as leg yields) and he's great at it going to right but we fail miserably going to the left.  Any ideas for exercises we can try to improve on this would be appreciated.  Right now we do lots of spiral circles in both directions.  He's getting better but we still need to work on it.  I suppose we all have a bad side...  LOL!

He's been a very good listener.
and we can relax at the walk
He was being so good today that I decided to try canter.  This is a big deal for us.  He's been so high strung in the past but now I feel confident that we can try canter and he won't put his mind into a tizzy over it!  So away we went and he gave me a LOVELY carousel horse canter.  It was so cute and fun to ride!  He's well balanced going to the right but left is another story.  I'm just happy that we can canter and not spin his mind out of control with it!!

And we are relaxed AFTER we canter!

But he did have a little more get up and go and showed outwards signs of it with is mouth.

Overall he was WONDERFUL!   Now I feel like I have a horse that I can take to a riding lesson and he'll listen and we can improve!  Woo hoo!!

After our rides, I've been making an effort to walk him out by cruising around the property.  I'm hoping one day I can take him for a real trail ride with others.  I think we may be getting there sooner than later...

Afterwards we undress and take him to his favorite time of all - bath time!

As you can see, we're doing very well!  I'm so proud of him.  Proud of me too!  I've been so patient and going slowly has been paying dividend for me.  I'll list these couple of things that seemed to be the key to keeping him happy (and healthy): 24 hour pasture time, a buddy (Toby), being on good pasture (no more ulcers), and Uckele's Focus Calm.  I think the combo of these has made Ollie happy and focused in the right way.

Let's hope we keep heading in the right direction!!


  1. Just a wonderful blog. Thank your husband for the great pictures. I'm so very impressed by the time you take to understand what this gorgeous guy needs- you let him talk to you, and you listen. Your patient understanding is blessed!

  2. That's such good news. Ollie is so stinking cute! Glad to hear Toby is doing good as well.

  3. Lovely photos, gorgeous horse!

    A great exercise to teach the horse to move away from your leg is on the ground. Stand beside them and use a fist to touch lightly to move over. If no reaction then press harder, release as soon as they move and praise. Keep trying that type of exercise.

    I also learnt a great schooling method for hot or high strung horses. If you find them rushing prior to or after the canter, or even being anxious out on the hack work your horse on a small circle until they have come back to a way of going you are happy with then let them go out of circle and work regularly. Try it sometime!

  4. Hey FBF - thanks for posting! I will have to try the ground work you suggest with Ollie on his right side. I already do the circle thing when he starts getting quick, and quicker and quicker... LOL! Lately I haven't had to do that hardly at all but I do limit how often we go down a long straight line in the arena. We are all about serpentines and circles. Now I want to incorporate leg yields since he's become a good listener and much better focused. I'll keep you posted as to how we are doing with our leg yields!

  5. He is too cute! He has a lovely genuine expression, too.

  6. Stretchy trot and canter circles are great for relaxing tense and rushy TB's - I just went to a clinic with my horse and she was so good with just stretching and working the bit a little to get her to soften! Use an exaggerated inside bend at first and ask them to reach down into contact and stretch over their back.

    Love the pictures! It's neat to see you ride and I'm glad Ollie's progressing so well!