Hudson’s Retirement Career

This is what I need to keep in mind while I am riding Hudson:

In the roping world, he’s a steer-seeking missile, proud of his job, and a type AAA personality.  Self-directed but super responsive.  He wants him some steer.  That is one determined face.

In the dressage world, he would be considered to have…relaxation issues.

Right now, with Shaun’s recovery, the kids still out of school, and (bummer) me being sick, I’m not asking him for anything new.  I respect his previous training (it’s dressage based as well as roping based) and I’m not going to start asking him to throw away the things he’s proud of accomplishing: coming flat out of the box, for example.  See how low he is in the first pic?  He sinks down and pushes straight out into a canter.  Not the round and leaping UP movement you want in a dressage horse.  We’re going to take this slowly, and see where we go.

Until September, I’m focusing on cardio exclusively.  I don’t care how he goes as long as he gets his heart rate up and gets a workout.  Sometimes it’s a huge swinging walking out for an hour, sometimes it’s a steady canter around the arena on the buckle.

Sounds good, huh.  I wish all the parts of my brain would talk to each other before I ride.

Our last ride:

Walk Walk Walk Walk Yawn Walk Walk Walk Zombie Yawn Walk Walk Walk

Fine.  Time to trot.  Thought bubble over Hudson’s head “Ew.  I hate trotting.  You’re not really going to ask me, are you?”

How do you read my mind like that?!?

Hudson scoffs: “Puhlease. You practically hold up flash cards.”

Trot Trot Trot FINE ENGLISH TROT Trot Trot Trot Trot Glazed-Over Trot Trot Trot

Lord, he’s bored.

“You think?”  Hudson yawns while trotting.  Reaches down to scratch his chest without breaking the rhythm.

Okay, Canter.

Sarcastically, “Thought you’d never ask.”

Canter Canter Canter Canter Canter Nice Mare Over There Canter Canter Canter

This isn’t working.  He is SO bored. What does Katherine say?  Mix it up a little.  Keep it quiet, but throw in a few changes.  All righty then.  Walk/Canter transitions should wake him up.

“What?  What did you say?  I think I nodded off on you, sorry.” He’s serious.  He missed that thought.

We halt.  I back him to set him up for success.  His butt will be right underneath him. We take one walk stride and I ask him to canter.

Without a flicker hesitation, we blast off into a dead gallop at light speed.  Holy Crap!  I’m going to slide right off his butt!  What just happened??  Why are we scrambling 2 feet lower than normal? AHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh.

Hudson flicks an ear back.  ??????  “Didn’t you just ask for a speed drill?  You’re slipping.  What’s wrong with you?  Fine, I’ll ease up and catch you. Make up your mind.  Forward or not?”

The dressage trained part of my brain did not discuss the method of departure with the roping-educated part of my brain.  Roping horses are backed up, and asked to blast off with everything they have: dropping and crouching, and bolting flat forward.  He did exactly what I asked him to do.  Holy Mother of God, if I had stayed with him, that would have been A BLAST.  I WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN.

I caught him napping, and if THAT is his slow departure…

What’s a wanna-be dressage princess gonna do, when she is overtaken by the sheer joy of a killer blast off?  We may end up doing some very strange dressage work.

I’m thinking about investing in a parachute.  To cover my mistakes. You think?

13 thoughts on “Hudson’s Retirement Career

  1. Please, please, be aware of using its for possessive (correct) instead of using it’s for possessive (incorrect). Drives me crazy when someone should know!

  2. Hudson needs to be a retired roping horse. 🙂

    But showing dressage is not my goal…so I figure it’s fine if I make up a whole new genre of riding: Working Dressage.

    All the lower levels of dressage work are so good for a horse’s musculature and health, I am definitely going to keep that going. But I’m also going to take a page from Garotcha and make up a bunch of FUN exercises to go with it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    I wasn’t exaggerating by the way…if he hadn’t checked his stride, I would have slid right off the back of the saddle onto his butt, and who knows from there if he would have freaked and tossed me or I would have shot all the way off his bee-hind.

    I do appreciate the encouragement from y’all to go for what’s fun and what works, thanks!

  3. I think with that kind of a horse, you can pretty much be whatever you want to be. I bet Hudson isn’t as bored as you think. Although he may not want to admit it, I bet deep down he adores every minute.

  4. How about you get one of those extending nets like they use on aircraft carriers to catch the planes? I’m betting that if Hudson’s “go” pedal is that quick, his “whoa” pedal is pretty tight too!


    1. You are totally right about his stop button. There is no easing to a stop or what I think of as a dressage “halt”: downward transition into full stop. There isn’t a transition. 60 mph to a complete statue.

      This can be done with the reins on his neck. Bella has done remarkable training with him. His joy is intact for all of it!

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