Follow The Fence

In my last post I mentioned I did a exercise called 'Follow the Fence'. I'm teaching the horse to literally follow along the fence in a straight line at any gait. The first time I really experienced this was when I was getting riding lessons years ago on a horse named Trigger, a palomino who used to be a cattle horse. That was to help me ride more than it helped the horse. Trigger did it fine enough, it was me who was practicing riding the horse at a walk and trot. My teacher was getting me used to going from a walk to trot and back down again. I was learning how to post. 

I had tried following the fence with Raleigh and he did okay. He was an older horse and a bossy boy but not enough to get wild and actually hurt me. He was more on the lazy side so everything was more slow with him unless it involved standing around or eating.

Last Saturday I did Follow the Fence for the first time with Ruby. 

In the DVD, Clinton was showing how to teach the horse to stay along the fence line and not sway off. It was my first time teaching it to Ruby and at the end of the lesson (which wasn't very long) she did so well! I didn't do it at a walk but trotted her around the arena along the fence. She of course started turning her own way away from the fence. 

Clinton said to imagine or even draw a line in the sand about 15 feet away from the fence for starters. Than start at a trot (It could be done at a walk but it's not really necessary) and trot along the fence. Every time the horse starts to go away from the fence let him until he crosses the line of 15 feet. As soon as he does steer him right back to the fence and don't let go until he's along the fence again. The more this is practiced you can make the line closer and closer to the fence. Start farther away at the beginning, like 15 feet, 10 feet, 5 feet until you don't have to anymore because the horse no longer strays off. 

Here is something I drew to show you:

I did this with Ruby and at first she did stray a lot and wanted to follow Sugar as well. But soon I got her to stay along the fence and rarely did she want to go off again. This doesn't have to be done at a trot, it could be done at any other gait as well. Trotting is the best for me since walking is too slow and cantering I'm still getting used to, but I bet the next time I ride I can do cantering as well. Sadly it started raining again and there goes the problem of only outdoor arenas.