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Catastrophe Control

Kathy Mayeda
Steph/John - Again, posting as a GUEST: which is amusing because I get my
digest at this e-address.

Jim, I love it when you jump to conclusions and think you're a far
superior and wiser rider than I.  Maybe you are, but I'm not particularly
buying it. :)  Other people may think I'm full of hot air, too!   (And
actually tonight I'm in work avoidance mode, so I probably AM full of hot

You are assuming that I have fear and am unprepared for the challenge of
riding a fast horse.  My biggest fear is being on foot on the desert
without a rock or tree stump for a mounting block.  Yes, I don't like
racing a whole lot because I don't feel like I can let him race in control
yet and that's why I slow him down.  It's not fear. It is just a safety
precaution because he has run away with me a couple of times when I first
started riding him. He doesn't usually run from fear (he does 180's when
he's scared) but from mostly wanting to race.

I was actually able to slow this horse, but not without soring the corners
of his mouth with a pulley rein with the snaffle. I want to avoid that and
that's why most of my endurance mentors recommended using a kimberwicke
because of the mild curb action (putting pressure on the poll, eh?). And
we are talking about mentors with mileage at least quadruple your mileage
EACH. And of course, we are talking in the West, where we have REAL
rides... (just kidding - want to poke at Truman now). (Yeah, I'm so
bad.... go ahead and slap me.  You got me in a fighting mood.)  I am
thankful that instructors had taught me the pulley rein.

We are not talking running away with fear, we are talking about a horse
that wants to win the race and to hell with that person on his back.  This
is what I want to nip in the bud before it becomes an ingrained habit.  If
we win, it's because we are both ready for it, not because Beau wants to
kill himself (or me) racing.  Because I want to increase my mileage per
ride, now, and racing is not in that equation, either.

Heck, I'm not even afraid of Tom Ivers.  (Now I'm really, really being

One PNH technique that we did in a clinic was the "controlled
catastrophe" - now that's a total rush.  Talk about getting your
adrenaline up....  That prepares you for not letting the fear get the
better to of you....

Now as for chirping or verbal cues:  you can get into real trouble here.
I was a volunteer at a handicapped riding school where the horses would
listen at the instructor's verbal cues and not the students.  Then the
instructor would start spelling T-R-O-T.  Funny thing, the horses learned
to spell too. Nobody thought that this was such a swift thing because the
riders didnt' have time to cue the horse themselves and was often taken
off balance because of this.

I grew up riding Western, but never "chirped" as a kid taking lessons at
Cook's Ranch.  I thought it was kinda wierd watching weekend cowboys
chirping and kissing all day...and they were riders in the John Lyons
program that never left the ranch for the trail, and were told to not ride
with that "crazy endurance rider" even before I rode my first LD. (Now I'm
even crazier.) I gave up that abdomen spearing horn for a flat English
saddle as an adult... and I don't think that I'd ever heard a dressage or
hunter/jumper rider "chirp" their horses!  I think that I heard someplace
that in a proper dressage test, verbal cues to the horse is frowned upon.
But I'm no DQ either.

Both my horses do upward gait changes with extremely subtle leg cues
(after all they are Ayyyyraabs).  I don't see where rein or body English
accomplishes all that much with an upwards change in gait without the
accompanying leg squeeze.

The only time I engage in verbal talk other than sweet talk with my horse,
is "goddamit, slowwww dowwwnnn" (of course with other various cues, seat,
legs, arms, anything).


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