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Lexy Nuesch Horsemanship | Nebraska Horse Trainer | LNH Logo

Cactus: May 21

Cactus | May 19

Woohoo! This week finally saw Cactus begin to figure things out!

Cactus is SO obedient that any lift of the rein he thinks needs to follow it with his feet. It's taken quite a while for him to understand that not everything I ask him to do requires him to move his feet. Now I don't think Cactus was abused in any way, but it's likely the way he was started & ridden contributes to the tension he carries & his reactiveness at faster gaits & outside of the arena.

Think of it like a kid that knows he'll face consequences if he doesn't get off the couch & take the trash out immediately after a parent tells them because he knows the repercussions that come if he doesn't do it immediately. Well, pretty soon, that kid might get nervous every time someone walks into the room as he's expecting to be asked/told to do something. Cactus is kind of the same way, hence the tension when being worked with.

When I ask him to flex laterally while keeping his feet still, he thinks his feet need to move & walk a small circle. That causes him to be in a more 'reactive/reacting' state versus a 'slow down & think through things' state. Just yesterday (Friday), it finally clicked that he could consistently stand still & flex from the start instead of moving his feet for minutes until he decided to just stop. We've also been working on Vertical Flexion at the Standstill. When I'm asking him to soften to the bit vertical at the standstill, he thinks he needs to move his feet & back up. It's great that he's so responsive, but that responsiveness carries that mental reactiveness. It's likely that he's not necessarily been taught these things, but you'll typically find most horses figure out not having to move their feet pretty quick (saves them energy). I want Cactus to slow down & think, "Okay, she's applied pressure to the reins. Is she also creating energy with her body that's telling me that I also need to move my feet or is it just rein pressure where I can respond without moving my feet?"

I use the word 'slow.' It's not that Cactus is going physically fast in most things that we're working on right now, but I'm referring more toward those milliseconds/seconds that happen mentally.

We trotted & loped some circles yesterday as well & I'd like to see those get softer & less rushed. However, we're not quite ready for exercises like Bending at the Walk, Bending Transitions, etc. until turn the mental reactivity down.


Wednesday, Cactus got his first rinse off followed by his first bath on Thursday. Those both went quite well. He got a bit antsy during the bath as it is a bit longer process with shampooing, conditioning, etc. But I was quite pleased overall. Once he was dry, we got his tail rewrapped & his main braided up again.


Next week, we'll continue to work on Lateral Flexion, One Rein Stops, & Vertical Flexion at the Standstill. Once we can get those really consistent, I'll see where we go from there.


Next week's update will be posted Thursday night.

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