Hudson Sneaks into the Movies, and We Try The Six Foot Circle Exercise

There’s only one thing that could explain the following photo: Hudson snuck into the theater and saw Secretariat.

I bet he was the one kicking the back of my seat.

I can’t remember if this is before or after we broke into a canter. He’s asking me if we can hit the gas.  He’d like to GO NOW. Preferably braced against the bit, so he has more room to reach forward with his shoulder, like Secretariat.

I’m telling you, he saw the movie.

Shaun graciously asked if I wanted to stop by the barn on the way home, so I didn’t have to double back to feed Happy Meals.

What is it about being at the barn that convinces one that all of humanity would be overjoyed to have the same opportunity?

I stuff the camera into Shaun’s hands, whip out my emergency riding breeches, and beg ask her if she would document the circle exercise for the blog.  Of course she said yes.  A lunatic stripping in the parking lot just stuffed a camera into her hands.

I am married to a very patient woman.

I practically jog Hudson out of his paddock, and do my best not to try her patience: I forego the time it takes to put on a saddle. Bareback pad: 5 seconds.  Tacking up: 10 minutes.  (I always drop something.)

Now that I have communicated a sense of extreme urgency to Hudson, I expect him to relax and walk in little circles.

What’s your problem?  Hurry up and relax, dang it!

It’s likely you’ll all be scratching your heads because we can’t really tell what Jane is doing in the photos.  But they do show the relaxation level you want.  Eventually.  (The horse should be close to snoring.)

Clearly, Hudson is not even remotely close to snoring. He’s annoyed, as evidenced by trying to get the bit on his molars.  I picked a day he was loaded with rocket fuel and ambushed him with a relaxation exercise.  Then I told him to HURRY UP and relax already.  I finally got him to stop jigging, and am asking him to drop his head.  Note the lack of resistance.  (Not.)

He drops his head somewhat, and flexes a little more to the inside to follow the track of my (I know, I know: dropped) inside shoulder.  The good news is you can see the outside of his ribcage bulging and he’s stepping nicely under himself in this photo.  He’s stretching, albeit with resistance in his neck.

He got the idea quickly: I turned the back of my calf (softer) to the inside of his ribcage, and sort of massaged the spot where I wanted him to bend around.  This is Hudson.  If I had done it normally, we’d be zipping sideways across the arena.

Here we go, softer, lifting, and stretching.  The outside is his sore side.  He was adjusted two days earlier by the Chiro.  When given the choice between keeping him on a perfect 6′ circle or keeping him relaxed and soft, I went with soft.  Our circle became a little bigger. A tense horse is not going to stretch.

(I think I hit some common sense there.  Send out an APB!)

He’s bending a little too well on our 8 foot circle.  Haunches tracking to shoulder, nice stretch to the outside.  The exercise should allow the haunches to track a little farther out than the shoulders.

All done, walking out of it.  Good boy!

I hope this helped show we’re not talking some fancy move here, just a small circle asking the horse to bend a little through the ribcage to stretch out.  It should be easy and fun.



8 thoughts on “Hudson Sneaks into the Movies, and We Try The Six Foot Circle Exercise

  1. greyhorsematters

    Loved all the pictures and his expressions. Relaxing and softness is the key to the mine, now if they would just hurry up and do it our life would be so much easier. Off to the races picture was great, he’s a handsome guy.

  2. Donna

    It should be easy and fun! But it isn’t always, that’s when you need the patience and the time to get there. It’s taken me a couple of years but I can finally work my TB mare through her uppity start and get her to be the horse I’m wanting on that day. Usually. Some days…not so much. Thanks for documenting!

  3. Marissa

    Oh my gosh, your opening line just jogged loose a memory for me and cracked me up. (Warning: This comment is going to be a total nonsequitur in response to this post.) I went galloping on a makeshift grass track with a friend, at the racing stable behind her house where we’re permitted to trail ride. I had never galloped Tucker before and had no idea how fast he could go. He is not only super fast, but also super competitive. My friend picked up her canter first and I thought I’d make a big loop around the outside and give her mare some personal space. Tucker broke into a gallop and dragged me to the inside. We laughed all the way home that Tucker was saying, “Inside turn, inside turn! Stop holding me back! I know what I’m doing! I SAW SEABISCUIT!”

    Glad Hudson enjoyed his 6-foot circles. He looks much happier by the end — always a good thing!

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I think it’s perfectly in line. Tucker being very creative, I’m sure he managed to get his hands on theater tickets or a loaded DVD player. I love that he knew to go to the rail for speed. Also love that it made you remember and you shared it with us. 😉

      I wish I could say Hudson enjoyed the 6 foot circles; what he really enjoyed was finishing the 6′ circles. He’s such a good boy. I very loudly gave him a distinctly mixed message. I’m positive he thinks I’m psycho: Emergency! Emergency!…Ohmmmmm…Ohmmmmm…

      (bad, bad mom!)

      Horses may not understand the words, but I’m certain they understand intent. I apologized, told him it was entirely my fault, and he went with the new program. Gotta love a horse with that kind of generosity.

  4. Kate

    You are so right – you have to have relaxation before you can have softness before you can have anything else – nice set of photos – love the one where he’s off to the races!

  5. Jen

    I got a giggle (likely at your expense 🙂 over Hudson’s expression in the third photo. I have to say, though, that you still ended up with a nifty little circle and a nicely relaxed looking hoss in the end. Yay!

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      He’s very expressive, isn’t he? He’s very gentlemanly (mostly) but doesn’t leave you with one iota of doubt about what he’s thinking. Which in the third photo would be something like: “fracken schmufin rafetty mumble mumble…”


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