Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watership Down

I think Boomer may have lived a past life in Watership Down. Or perhaps, he was born with his head down a rabbit hole. Whatever the reason he is just not afraid of rabbits. He has surprised me time and again by NOT spooking at bolting bunnies. Today was no different. There was one right under us and he just looked at it but didn't spook. By 'right under us' I mean it was so close that Boomer actually had to tuck in his chin to look down at it as we trotted over it. The second rabbit today was cantered over. We were cantering the length of the pasture and the bun bolted ahead of us and stayed about 10 feet straight in front of us for a few strides before it veered left and disappeared. Boomer just kept cantering straight ahead and watched the little bun.

This is not to say that he doesn't spook. He does. At deer 300 yards away. At ducks taking off from the pond across the pasture. At a soda bottle. At a butterfly. He has this nice 'shoulder drop and roll' routine that has unseated me a number of times and unhorsed me once. If he drops his left shoulder he will spin right, but this information doesn't seem to correlate with the direction of the spooky object. So, just hold on tight!

Today it took him about 15-20 minutes to settle down and start listening. After that he was very good. We did only a little cantering but he was good for that and picked up his leads. We also worked on neck reining towards the end and he is still improving. Our only issue was that I couldn't get him to walk down the road that crosses the creek for the life of me. Unless I got off and led, then he was fine. I tried everything I know and eventually we just regressed from crossing the road to just trying to get him to walk forward rather than back uphill. Needless to say, I was not happy. It makes me worry that I won't be able to get him to cross obstacles in trails without a person or horse leading us. Next time we haul out I want to try leading the whole way on the trail and see if he does as well as when he is following.

After our ride I hosed him off and let him graze on the good grass while I mucked poo and made his dinner. He got 4 pounds beet pulp soaked in 4 gallons water, 4 cups Ultium, 4 cups Horseman's Edge, 1 cup veg oil, 1 oz elyte, 1 oz hoof supp. That is his standard post ride meal. On off days he gets 4 cups Ultium, 4 cups Horseman's Edge, 1/2 cup veg oil, and 1oz hoof supp.

I was happy with his fitness today and I feel that we are probably up to increasing his conditioning rides to 1.5 hours. So, more to come tomorrow!

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