Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Always the riders fault :)

We have been working cantering lately and it has been slow going and riddled with issues. Ahm. One issue. My death grip on the reins to be exact. Turns out, if i force myself to keep the reins loose (read: nearly floppy) the canter is much, much better. No bucking, no rushing, no panicking. I asked, he cantered-no fussing or fighting. He still needs help around the corners, but he always has- even on the longe. He was slower and calmer than ever before. Because I let go of his face. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we are working on a lot of long and low work with his neck. I want him to find his most comfortable head position and choose to have contact with my hands through the reins. So far, at the walk and trot, he has been doing lots of that. He streches low and remains in good contact with my hands. He only streches out when he is relaxed and having a long rein (not loose, with contact) and doing circles and figure eights seems to relax him. So, my goal for him is to continue riding the walk and trot on a long rein with soft contact and to start adding the canter. I feel confident that he will eventually have the same reaction at the canter as he has at the walk and trot. If I keep the reins the same length as at the trot, right now he has a high head, but I think he will come down and look for contact. Having a loose rein already slowed him down and kept him relaxed so I thinkonly good things can come of this.

We would have worked more today but I noticed that his poops (he had three durin our ride) were getting progressivly softer. Having lots of poops while we ride is normal, but they were pretty soft (more on that later). So, we finished up by working on neck reining and walking shapes. Riding for OU is what made me discover how wonderful neck reining is, even on english horses. In Polo, you ride with regular reins and a set of draw reins. You hold them all in your left hand and hold the mallet in the right hand. The horses must all neck rein and turn off of body position/weight. One of the best horses OU had was an old mare named Amanda who was dontated by Sunny Hale (top female player in the world). Amanda was who we put all beginners on because she could play the game by herself. But, we always had to warn people to make sure they are ready if they turn their head, because she would cut in whatever direction you looked, especially if you were following the ball! Anyway, neck reining is invaluable on all horses, especially those who will be used for trail riding or those who may ever be expected to open a gate. That being said, Boomer and I are working on neck reining at the end of every ride.

About the soft poop, I think it was a reaction to the dewormer yesterday. I am not worried about it, but I did add some salt to his food today. If he is still poopy tomorrow, I will call Dr. Hawkins and see what he thinks.

Before we rode, I put shipping boots on all four of his legs and it was pretty funny. He lifted his back legs slooooowwwlllyyy up all of the way and set them down just as carefully. I let him graze in the round pen for a while and get used to them. He was pretty happy with that deal!

Overall, I am very happy with our progress so far. The trailer should be ready in about...31 days, not that I am counting. Right now, I want to continue working on relaxing the canter and then our next big goal will be working on getting into the trailer.

I have a few ideas so far for trailer training. Of course, everything is as flexable as the horse needs it to be. I think I will spend the first week feeding him in it and working on being around it. I will let him go in and out as he pleases to eat. The next week, I will feed him in it and shut the back gate for progressivly longer periods of time. The third week, I will start over and shut the middle gate for progressivly longer periods of time. The fourth week, I will start the truck and leave it running while he is locked inside and eating. After that, we will just work on going in and out on command and being calm while we drive around the property. Beyond that, I start dreaming too much about trail riding and lakes and summer days...

Spring fever, here I come!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Long and Low

I have had some interesting thoughts lately about Boomer and collection and impulsion. Fortunately, I have just come across a couple of blogs that really hit home. Glenshee Equestrian Centre and Dressage In Jeans really hit it home for me. I have noticed lately that Boomer has been really reaching down and forward at the walk. I have really been focusing on riding him on a loose rein at the walk. Well, let me rephrase that, light contack, not loose rein. For those of you familiar with english laced reins, I keep my thumbs at the last lace. So, they are pretty long, but not loose. I have contack with his mouth, but he is able to relax and stretch out. I have noticed lately that he is doing a kind of peanut pusher head position. He is looking for contact with my hands and is lowering his head while kind of arching and stretching his neck. I like that. I think it keeps him relaxed. I'm not really sure how to tell if it is helping him engage his back. At the trot, I tighten the reins up about 2-3 laces (probably 2-3 inches?) and I have noticed him stretching down and out for a few strides at a time. I think that I need to continue to encourage this and really learn to feel him and allow him to keep contact while he streches. It is strange, because we have contact already, but he pulls forward yet doesn't pull on my hands. He has never 'rooted' or pulled the reins out of my hands. Coming from a background of high headed saddle seat horses, it is somewhat of a new idea for me to allow him to drop so low. I have also noticed that if he gets excited, it really helps for me to do lots of small circles with him which encourages him to drop his head. I am thinking that it may help his cantering if I allow him to have a looser rein, which is hard for me to reconcile because of his predictable 'canter depart buck'. These are all interesting things to think about and I would love to hear any feedback or ideas from readers!

Not sure if I gave an update after yesterday's ride, but it went well. I rode in the paddock/arena and worked on cantering. The canter takes quite the set up. We have to do lots of small trotting circles and figure eights until he is very relaxed and not rushing around the corners in anticipation. Once he gets it, I must ride it carefully, keeping him in the gait and balancing around the turns towards the outside. His good lead is the left and yesterday we got 4 and a half laps around the arena!!! To the right we got 2 laps! He bucked once the first time I asked but never after that. I think it is just excitement for him. I dismounted him as slowly as possible and slid down so slowly until my toes touched the ground. Narry a pinned ear the whole time! I think it really was a fast movement/surprise thing for him, because I lean pretty heavily as I slide down slowly and it doesn't seem to bother him.

I worked Pete today and he is still progressing. We did a little round pen work before I rode and then we mostly worked on walking with a little trotting thrown in to make sure he remembered how to trot around a turn. We worked on introducing lateral aids, backing, and neck reining. He is doing well.

I dewormed Boomer today and he was really pretty good about it. Of course, I don't expect him to like it but I sure appreciate it when he doesn't rear up or otherwise act like a fool. After I finished with Pete and did my chores, I spent some bonding time with Boomer. He really likes to be scratched under his lip and I was grooming him all over and playing with his mane and he was about to fall asleep. He really enjoys our bonding time, I think. I have been trying to work on messing with his tail lately to get him ready for temperature taking. He is getting to where he doesn't mind if I lift his tail and rub his rump, but he doesn't always like it and I am probably a little overly cautious. I don't want to get kicked, that is for sure! I'm not sure the best way to go about 'temp training' but it seems like this is taking me a really long time to get it done. Any ideas?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Herding Cattle!

John and I spent the weekend in Tulsa with his sister and mom. I came home from Tulsa after class to ride and feed Boomer and then John, Charley, and I drove back down to Tulsa. My ride Friday went really well. We worked on lots of walking and trotting. We did a few canter departs but the ground was really bad and I don't have quite the steering control I need yet at the canter to navigate mud holes, ruts, and flood spots. He did buck once. Every time he does it seems to be the first time I ask him and sometimes happens on both leads the first time. I'm hoping that will work itself out with experience and confidence on his part. When he does it I shut him down immediately and make him take a tight circle, then try again. Other than that, we worked on leg yields which are still getting better and better. Again, the ground is not ideal. It is a good sized area, but there are no 'walls. One side has a fence with a trash can strapped near the corner, the other corner has Boomer's gate. One long side has a junk pile (grrr), and the other long side has a flood spot followed by low hanging branches. The top short side has a tree and the round pen. So, no visual cues as to where to go. Plus the footing is just packed dirt and there are ruts, muddy sink holes, and the occasional debris. All of this put together makes leg yields a little difficult. He really ignores my aids and picks his way through the ruts and I don't blame him. We also worked on the turn on the haunches, or walk pirouette. That is really difficult for him but he does try. Turning to the left is better for him. After I dismounted, we went to the round pen and I got on and off a few times from the rail. He was really good about it. I got on him and very slowly went through each stage of dismounting. He didn't pin his ears at all as long as I went very slowly. Unfortunately, I can't slowly drop to the ground, so we were kind of stuck there. I didn't reconcile that until Sunday when I had John's help. Overall, I was really happy with his progress. I have been feeding him on the platform again and he is doing great. He stomps his feet and it doesn't bother him at all. That tells me he is used to hearing and feeling the hollow wood under him. He gets off of it by either backing up or by slowly turning around and walking off. Either way, he stays so calm and steady. I love letting a horse teach himself!

Saturday evening, we got home just in time to feed before dark. I did get a great ride on Sunday though! We took a trail ride and ran into some cows right away! There were 5 of them, a few bigger ones (maybe yearlings) and a few itty bitty babies! They were so cute! Boomer approached them with his head up and ears pricked. They were so forward they were almost touching! We approached them, circled around them and Boomer chased them up the fencline to their pasture through the open gate. The smallest baby didn't know what he was supposed to do because his momma was on the other side of the fence next to him but his 'herd' was running from the horse! Finially momma starting balwling and walking the fencline and baby ran to catch his 'herd'. Adorable! Boomer thought it was great fun and kept breaking into a trot! I think about 70% of him loves cows and the other 30% is still convinced that they may turn on him at any moment and eat him! After the cow incident we found a great spot to ride! There is a corner of the pasture that has been mowed down and is the size of a large arena! I used it to work on cantering. Boomer gave a few BIG bucks which I shut down, then I made him work on a nice slow trot for a while to calm himself. Then I asked again and got the best, most beautiful canter yet! I took him aorund a time or two and then let him woah and stretch his neck out and relax. I priased him like crazy and I think he knew he was good! We walked a bit more then returned to the mowed area and worked a little more on cantering. It wasn't as good, but it was also his right lead. So, I am confidant that will all come with time. Once we walked back to the paddocks, I had John hold Boomer as I worked on dismounting. I slowly got to the point that I was laying across his back and started to slowly slide before he pinned his ears. John held him still and kept him under control. I took a few steps to the side and because John was in control, I could stay on and worry about maintaining my position. If John hadn't been there, I would have had to jump down to control the horse, thus enforcing his thought that pinned ears gets rid of the rider. Once he calmed down, I had John put an arm around my waist and help me to the ground slowly. Boomer stayed calm and kept his ears up and head down the whole time. That went off perfectly. I am so glad that I had John there to help me! He handled Boomer's attitude calmly and controlled the horse exactly as I would have wanted! I think that dismounting must have bothered him because it happened so fast. He doesn't like quick movements so we need to get him used to me dismounting slowly before I can get back to mounting and dismounting normally again. I think that having John around will be a perfect help, but when I ride and he isn't there, I will just try to use the fence.

I went to ride Pete after all of this but he led me around the pasture not wanting to be caught. I got pretty tired of chasing him and gave up. There is no way I was going to wander around 17 acres trying to catch another person's horse! I am a little frustrated with that whole situation because I feel like no matter how well I train him, he will always be too much horse for a beginner. The only way he would be a good steady horse for his owner is if she took lessons for a few years until Pete was a few years and had a bunch more experience. Pete's owner is having shoulder surgery sometime soon and will be out for a few months after that. As it is now, she doesn't want to work with him because she is so sore from he fall last week. So, I am not sure what their goals are, but I think they just want me to put miles on him until she can ride. Even then, I am afraid he will be too young and too much horse for a beginner. I guess I will work on riding him twice a week and just kind of see how it goes from there. I may also ask her to put him up in his stall on Monday and Wednesday so I don't have to chase him.

I'm off to study Biology until the weather warms up to 60, then I'll be out to ride!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm getting a trailer!!!

Boomer is doing really well. His leg is looking great, just a big scab. I rode him yesterday and mostly walked with a little trotting for fun. I really tried to focus on him having a good time. We also worked on his stretching long and low. He really likes to ride like a QH at the walk. He wants his head down and is very willing to accept contact with the reins. I just want him to be relaxed and enjoy his job. The biggest issue we have right now is that he pins his ears and get MAD when I dismount. He was doing that when I mounted as well, but I started getting on from the fence. That fixed it, which to me means that it was a comfort issue he was communicating. Now, What do I do about the dismounting? I kick both feet out of the stirrups, lean forward, and slide off. Not much extra weight on the near side. I have noticed that he HATES it when I jump up and down near him. We are working on that. I wonder if it is a movement issue rather than a pain/discomfort issue. Maybe it surprises him when I get off. If anybody has any ideas, I would love to give them a try! It is so frustrating to have a great ride and have it end on a bad note, no matter what. I don't like that at all. It really puts a damper on things when you know it will end badly because he is going to toss up his head, pin his ears, snake back at you, and offer to kick. Maybe I will spend a day in the round pen mounting and dismounting from the fence and see what that does.

I also worked Pete in the round pen yesterday and he did well, eventually. At first, he was really racey and was rushing through my cues, especially to stop and reverse. So, we worked on reverse back and forth over and over in the same spot until he slowed down and walked out of the reverse. The I let him relax before we started over and worked on using the reverse to get a better stop. Wouldn't you know, by the end of 30 minutes, he was stopping perfectly with me 15 feet away!

Today I worked with Boomer in the round pen and put his shipping boots on him. It was his second time wearing them. He lifted his legs up a little, but not much. He was fine walking, turning, and backing even when the boots rubbed and made noise! The first time he wore them he trotted around lifting up all of his legs even though he was only wearing fronts! I had to sew on extra Velcro because his legs are a little smaller than the boots and they were sliding down. They fit perfectly now and he seemed alright with them on. After that I gave him some maple syrup from his dewormer syringe. He was pretty indifferent and raised his head a little, but didn't resist. He also didn't really seem to mind the syrup, but he didn't really seem like he wanted more. Weird horse. I'm going to keep working on that for a few days until I have to deworm him next weekend. I also trimmed his hooves. He was great about it. I had him in the round pen and I tied up a hay bag for him, which he didn't even touch. I just stood there with his head down the whole time. His hooves looked great, no flares. His front right had a small chip/crack that only just started yesterday on the inner hoof wall at the bottom. It probably would have flared if I had waited another week or two to trim. I cleaned his hooves out, put his hoof between my knees (he didn't pull back once!), and rasped the wall down at about a 45* angle until the live, clean hoof was showing and even all around. I also rasped his heel buttresses down (level with sole, not 45*). I like for the heel buttresses to be even with each other and a bit higher than the frog. I lay the rasp on top of them to check. I have found that having the buttresses slightly higher than the frog solves all gravel soreness. I then turned the hoof over and used the fine side of the rasp to round the toe and smooth it out. I try to get a nice beveled edge, but mostly my focus is on making it smooth, even, and round all the way around the hoof. Question for those who trim their own horses, it appears that Boomer wears the left side more on all of his hooves. Left front and back are more worn on the outside, right front an dback are more worn on the inside. It is like he is leaning to the left. Is this a trimming problem or an alignment problem? Maybe because I am right handed I do a better job on the right side and he ends up bearing weight unevenly? Any ideas?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thankful for dedication!

This week has been a bit hectic. Dad came in to town, which was awesome. We also had John's sister, her husband, and their baby and dog up to visit. It was a blast. I put their daughter Kami on my saddle and taught her the word 'stirrup'. She is about 1.5 years old and is so cute! I am really trying to bring out the 'horse gene' in her! I know every little girl has one, it just has to be discovered and the younger the better!

Did I mentionthat John made me a strawberry-raspberry pie for my birthday???

On another note, Pete's owner rode him Saturday and got bucked off. I was there and went to see if she was OK and I got on him and made sure he was OK (mentally). Everyone checked out and we made an appointment for a lesson today. I was really frustrated at first because he is only about 3 or 4 and has only 10 good rides on him. He is so green and inexperienced it isn't even funny. As well as he is doing in training, doesn't mean he is really for a beginner to ride him.

So, today we tacked him up and I taught her how to work him in the round pen from the ground. He tested her over and over and really wanted to take advantage. She was very willing to learn and once she started to understand how to get after him, she was very firm. I was impressed with how dedicated she was to working with him. I taught her how to get him to walk, trot, woah, and reverse. We tried the canter, but he was really resistant about that, so it will need more work on my part. I think she realized today that I am training the horse first thing, then I am training her to communicate with the horse. So, I am very confidant that they will do really well if we can work together. I think we are going to aim for me to work him 2 times a week and for me to work with her 1-2 times a week. This way he will still progress with his riding and reliabilty and she will progress in her knowledge and confidence and will be able to control him effectivly.

Also, I think I will be getting a trailer soon!!! I have decided exactly what I want. I want a Calico brand gooseneck trailer. I want it to be 15' long, 6' wide, and 6'6" tall. It will be divided into three sections. The front will be a 3'x6' tack room/dressing room, the next two sections will be 6'x6' box stalls seperated by a full swing gate divider. I think that allowing the horse to travel free is the best option. That way the horse can balance himself, can lower his head to clear debris from his airway, and can turn around and travel backwards which is what most horses prefer when loose in a stock trailer. This will also be nice because Boomer is a bit claustrophobic at times and has been known to pull back when tied. I don't see why he would be any different when tied inside of a trailer. So, this way he will be free to turn around and move without feeling confined! It will have a spare tire and dome lights in the tack room and inside the back gate of the horse area. I will order floor mats seperately because they are the same price from Vally Vet and are textured instead of smooth rubber. I anticipate ordering it within a week or two and it will take about a month for it to be built! I will also need a gooseneck hitch installed, which they can do when I pick it up. I had been considering the B&W Turnoverball, but the Calico dealer installs and prefers the Cody Hitch because the B&W is installed in front of the axel and the Cody hitch is installed right over the axel. They said that the B&W can cause issues with the nose of the trailer damaging the truck in the case of a fishtail. Both are rated for the same weight, can be easily removed (flipped over) for bed use, and both cost about the same so I have no preference of one over the other.

I know I promised videos of us dog sitting, here is the first one with more to come!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Office space moment!

I woke up this morning around 7:45 and quickly realized that it wasn't raining and the birds were chirping. I was quickly off to the barn to change the horses bandage. Halfway there it started raining, then pouring. I got there and got my stuff together and decided to feed the horse and wait for the rain to stop before I changed the bandage. While he was eating I unwrapped his bandage. Then I started putting the ointment on it and gauze wrapping it. All of a sudden, I realized that it probably isn't a good idea to be wrapping his leg while he is unhaltered and eating. What if he finished and walked off? So, I quickly assembled my cotton roll, vet wrap, elastikon, and scissors. I checked his food level, and got to it. I did one of the best wrap jobs I've ever done all before he even finished eating. As I was finishing up, I couldn't help but sing this song to myself :

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It is storming like crazy around here!

My mom lives in Edmond and three houses in her neighborhood were damaged by the tornado today! She is safe and staying with a friend as the power lines are down in her 'hood.

Now the storm has reached us and it is raining and thundering and lightening like crazy! I feel bad for the horse in weather like this... Especially since he has to stay bandaged to keep his wound clean. My aim is to not let him go for more than 10-12 hours with a wet bandage overnight. Today I fed him and spent time just scratching him. I think he was getting sick of being doctored and it took him a bit to realize that we were still buds.

Here is Pete's log for today:
2/10/09 30 minutes
I rode Pete around the open area above the barns and he did really well. He seems to be catching on to neck reining already, which I was really surprised by! We worked on cantering and leads some and he did pretty well. He will pick up the left lead on the straightaway but has to go in a pretty tight circle for the right lead. We also worked on slowing the trot. He is doing well and my goals right now are to focus on slowing his trot and canter, work on leads, and neck reining.

I got a package from Schneider's today with a few fun things! I used some of my B-day money to get horsey things! I got shipping boots, a horsey tard hat, a trailer tie, and waterproofing blanket wash! Now I just need a trailer... Maybe someday soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lucky weather

It was supposed to rain today and last night but hasn't yet. I took advantage of the weather and rode Pete and changed Boomer's bandage. Boomer's leg is still looking really good. The granulation tissue is smooth and even over the whole wound. I am a little wary about his bandage getting wet tomorrow, especially since John and I will be going to Norman for the whole day for his work. Pete was good today. I cantered him a little while we were riding out in the big pasture. He is very dominant on the left lead and we had a bit of a time getting the right lead. He is a bit speedy and unbalanced, but that will work its self out with time. He is also still having trouble with the woah-walk transition. He throws his head up and starts to back up, but will move forward readily when I squeeze. I haven't figured that one out yet. Here is his log for today:

2/8/09 1 hour
I rode Pete out in the pasture again. We worked on cantering and he did really well. He prefers the left lead but did pick up the right lead on a small circle to the right.
We are still working on the woah/walk transition. He tends to think 'back' when I say walk.
His turns and steering are coming along very well.

Get ready for some aweome video of Charley and his cousin Brutus from our dogsitting adventure this weekend!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I am so grateful that on a nice day like today, I still have a horse to ride even though mine is injured. Boomer's injury is doing well. It is healing quickly. His hematoma is doing much better. It is now just a hard knot over the jugular.

Pete is also doing well. I have been riding him in the western saddle and breaking that in as well! I rode him out in the big pasture and was really impressed with him. He was a little nervous going through the gate, going down the road into a ditch, and he spooked at some ducks. Other than that, he was great. His owners stopped by to talk for a while and said that John could ride him anytime as well once he was broke in. So, that may be something to do next weekend. His owners also told me that they had told the owner of a local feed store that I was breaking in Pete and she asked him to have me stop by because she was interested in hiring me to break/ride a few of her horses! Pretty cool! I guess it is validating when your training is getting spread by word of mouth. Here is what I wrote in Pete's log today:

2/7/09 1 hour

We rode out in the pasture today and Pete did very well. He was curious about everything and only spooked once at ducks taking off from the pond. He is doing really well with turns and trotting.
He is still really hesitant about crossing the ditch by the gravel road.
After the weather clears up this week I will start working on cantering.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Windy day!

Have you ever tried to change a bandage by yourself, on the back leg of an Arabian who might kick and doesn't tie well, in wind gusting up to 36 mph? I don't recommend it. The job got done, and done well, but it took nearly all of 30 minutes.

For Project Pete, I rode him in his western saddle again, which I will admit is kind of growing on me! We worked on lots of turns today at the walk and trot. He finally understood the concept of turning while trotting, which was great. He is pretty calm and acts like your run of the mill Quarter Horse. Very laid back, though he is pretty insistent that he wont be crossing any bar ditches any time soon. I thought he did really well today, though I think his saddle fits poorly and pinches his shoulders, so tomorrow I am going to try moving it back and see if that helps. Here is what I wrote in his log:

2/6/09 30 minutes

I rode Pete in his saddle today. He seems to be doing really well! His turns are coming along great. I am holding the reins bridged in both hands and moving them both in the direction we are turning. I tried neck reining him and that didn't register with him. That will come with time and practice with turning him as I described above.
We did lots of trotting circles and serpentines today. He did really well and caught on quickly.

So far I have 7 hours on him. I really hope to put a minimum of 30 hours on him just to see how far we can get in a 'month'. To me, '30 days training' will take a minimum of 2 months because I only count the days I am actually working the horse. I know hours and days don't really equate because I have put some really great 30 minute rides on Pete. So, I guess I should be aiming more for 30 'days' rather than hours. So far I think we have 9 or 10 days. I am feeling really good about his training so far and I really hope he can be a good horse for his owner. Tomorrow I would like to take him out to the big pasture for a nice long trail ride. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are supposed to be rainy days which means no training for Pete and extra bandage changing for Boomer. Boo!

Until next time...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Progress report on Pete and Boomer

Today was Pete's owners (also the barn owner) birthday. Her husband got him all tacked up and had me ride him around for about 15 minutes to make sure he was calm. Then I left the family to do their birthday surprise. The owner and her daughter both rode Pete around at a walk. He did really well for them. He was responsive to their turns and was patient while they figured out how to handle the reins correctly. I gave the owner some tips on holding the reins in both hands and moving both hands in the direction she wanted to turn to help him learn to neck rein. She was so thankful to me for how far he had come along. I really wish I could have seen him ridden before. He has progressed and I look forward to working on more with him. Tomorrow, I plan on working on trotting circles as he doesn't know how to trot and turn at the same time. Saturday, I might take him out in the big pasture for a trail ride and next week I would like to work on cantering if he seems ready.

I rebandaged Boomer's leg and he was really good about it. I rinsed it out and he stood there holding his leg in the air for the whole 10 minutes! He held it up in the air while I was bandaging it also, which made it difficult to get it low enough below the fetlock, but it will do until tomorrow or Saturday. I was really happy with how patient he was. He didn't try to kick my head off once! He did have a swelling on his neck near the injection site for his xylazine sedative. I called the vet and he said it was a hematoma from the injection. Boomer tossed his head turing the injection and made it difficult to set the needle right and some blood leaked. I am supposed to put DMSO on it twice a day and it should clear up in three days.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Horses are funny like that

Boomer's leg is fine so far. His bandage is still intact and he isn't limping. He rests it while he is standing but he is able to bear weight on it.

Pete's owner showed up today and wanted to try a new saddle on him. The new saddle is for his wife's b-day tomorrow. So, I got to ride Pete in a western saddle. It had been years and that thing was stiff! I sure can understand why die hard western people are so against English saddles, especially if they have ever ridden in one! My legs were so set in place it wasn't funny! Though, Pete was a bit weary of all of the creaking leather, he did well. Pete wasn't quite as good today as he has been in the past. He didn't get 'stuck' too much but he acted like he didn't know how to turn. It was the first time we had ridden out in the open and I think that he had been relying on the walls to tell him when to turn. So, more work in the open on turns is in order! I also realized that he couldn't trot and turn at the same time. So, trotting circles are in order also! Those, of course, are good things to know. Though, I would have liked to be able to figure that out without the owner there. Though, he seemed to think that Pete was hugely improved. Tomorrow should be interesting. I can be really shy and I hate being the center of attention. The owner wants me to come out so that he can surprise his wife with the horse all tacked up in his western gear. Then he wants me to get on and show her what Pete has learned. So, I guess I will just get on and walk around in circles. I think I will also have her get on him and start showing her how to turn him effectively. For him, it is a wide inside rein, outside rein across neck to teach neck rein, outside leg slightly behind girth, and inside hip sunk down into the stirrup. Eventually, it will take less to turn him but that is what it takes right now. We have a lot more to work on that I thought, but that is good. I want him to be a good safe horse for her.

As for me, back to studying!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another injury

I worked Pete today and then went to groom Boomer, only to find that he had scraped up his back right fetlock. At first glance it didn't look bad, but once I got down and poked around, I realized that something inside was torn or punctured. So, I had the vet out and sure enough, he had a slight tear in the tendon sheath. He is lucky it wasn't any deeper, says the vet. The area is only about the size of a quarter. The vet cut off the skin flap and cleaned it out really well. Boomer remembered the vet and made sure he did not feel welcome. He was sedated and I held up his front leg and he still tried to kick once or twice. After it was cleaned the vet applied silver sulfadiazine and then bandaged it really well. I was given instruction to rinse it with iodine, hose it for 15 minutes, then re medicate and bandage it every other day for 10 days. He is also on Tucaprim for those 10 days. Unfortunately, the weather is supposed to be killer the next few days. At least I'll have nice weather for hosing and bandaging. We figured out the the culprit for the scrape was the side of the shed. The tin siding isn't buried and I found a deep hoof print and hair on the bottom of the siding. John bought two 4x4x10's and we laid them next to the sides of the shed. I feel like it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and pad the whole place, just in case.

On to Pete... He was great today. He is really strange in that he doesn't seem to understand or get anything when you work on it, but turn him out over night and he will think about it and have it down perfectly the next day. Today I rode him out in a paddock and he was great. He didn't get 'stuck' once. He was a little hard to turn, but so was Boomer at first. He stopped well and trotted well. Here is his training log:
2/3/09 1 hour I rode Pete in the paddock today and he did great. He still does 'young horse' stuff like head tossing. He didn't get 'stuck' at all today abd was willing to move out and trot. He is not great at turns but that comes with time.

I just thought you should know that I have the CUTEST riding gloves ever. I think my aunt gave them to me when I was a kid. Yes, they still fit.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cantering and riding Pete

I worked Pete first today and he did really well. It really seems like he needs a day to 'think things over' before he really 'gets' something. I got on him and he got a little stuck, but having John walk around in front of him helped. Which I'm sure was kind of funny to see John trotting around with Pete and I following him! We worked on walk/halt transitions and we did a little trotting. After we felt confident, John just stood in the middle of the pen and Pete was very good, doing whatever I asked. Next time I ride him I think we will go into the paddock and see how he does in a bigger space.

Here is what I wrote in his log for today:

2/1/09 1 hour I warmed Pete up in the round pen and he did well with his cues, as usual. I tacked him up and got on and he was a little stubborn at first and would get stuck, but he was 100% better if he was able to follow John around. He was just as good once John left the pen. I worked on trotting him a little and he was good. He has a very smooth trot.

I also worked Boomer today and he was great too. We warmed up and he was very calm and relaxed. After a few minutes of walking, trotting, and leg yields we went into the paddock to work on cantering. He was very good but kind of racey. He wouldn't bolt or anything, but he got really quick, especially around the corners. He would lean in to the corners really hard which I fixed by sitting heavy on my outside seat bone. He would come under me and really balance himself around the corners, but he didn't slow down much. I think we just need more frequent cantering sessions for him to get a little calmer about it.

After that we took a nice trail ride out in the big pasture. Boomer was really needing that, I think. He was calm and alert and I let him lead the way on a loose rein the whole time. He stopped at the pond and looked across it at a cow for a while. Then he lead us across to the other fence and finially turned back and wandered back to the gate. It was really a relaxing ride and I think we all enjoyed it!