Friday, May 22, 2009

More new stuff!

I rode Boomer again today (three days in a row! Hooray sunshine!) and he was great!  He seems to be less spooky since the feed change.  He did spook a few times today, but almost instantly came back to me.  He seems much more focused.  Our 'new thing' today was introducing spins and rollbacks.  I know, I know... I don't even own a western saddle.  I just want him to know as many things as possible.  I figure the more things he learns, the easier it will become to teach him new things.  So, we warmed up at the walk and trot and then I started him by walking in a smallish circle with contact on the outside rein (the rein that will eventually plant his inside hind for the pivot) and I kept my outside leg on him to keep him moving.  As soon as I felt a little slide or pivot from the back, I let him walk out of the circle.  Surprisingly, he was much better on his stiff right side!  For the rollbacks, I just walked him along the fence line, cued for the halt, then reined him towards the rail and took off in the other direction.  He enjoyed this so we moved it up to the trot.  We also worked on cantering a lot.  He is getting much better at turning, so I felt better about cantering in the smaller fenced area above the paddocks.  The ground was all dry also, which helped.  He did very well after a few starts.  At first he was a little fussy and tried to buck, but after a few tries, he went very well and we went 4 laps in each direction.  I let him stand and relax after each session.  We worked on it a few times and he just got better as we worked.  I ended by cantering into a figure 8, trotting through the middle, then picking up the other lead.  Anybody know what that is building up to?  Flying lead changes!!!  I have no expectation for lead changes in the next few months, but we may as well begin setting up the foundation!  After our ride I hosed him off, which he is an angel about now!  I just hold the rope over my shoulder and he holds still the whole time, even if I switch sides!  The only thing he doesn't like is when I spray under his tail, but show me a horse who enjoys that...  It is a huge improvement from last summer when I was lucky if I could get him to go within 20 feet of the faucet and even then, bathing was a 2 person job.  

Another thing we have been working on is hobbling.  I had tried it a long time ago and it just freaked me out a little.  Boomer was still so reactive that I was afraid he would take the round pen down!  So, I hobbled him yesterday in the round pen and he was pretty much fine.  Today, I hobbled him in an empty paddock that is very grassy.  He was fine as he grazed along, but when he stepped forward, he pulled to the end of the hobble, slammed his hoof down, then picked his other foot up right away- responding to the pull from his first foot.  This creates  a vicious cycle until he hops up with both legs and slams them down next to each other.  He also figured out how to canter with them on.  He was mildly freaked out, but as long as he was close to grass, he was fine.  I left him in them for about 30 minutes today.  I like that he moves around, I want him to learn to move and respect his boundaries with hobbles on.  I also like that he stayed still and just shifted his back legs around to get new grass.  I like that he was calm and knew to stay still and that he could still graze.  So, overall, I think hobbling is going well.  

I have cleaned out my tack shed and am working on figuring out what to keep at home and what to take with me to the new barn's shared tack room.  I hate not having a locker.  I want my saddle locked up, but I really hate having to pack it around in my car.  I guess I'll just get over it.  I'm thinking I'll take my saddle stand, saddle, first aid kit, groom box, bridle, halter, and feeding items.  Anything else can stay in the trailer or at home.  I ordered a hood on sale from Schneider's for the zero degree winters.  I also ordered a name plate for his halter and bridle.  I am going to have his blanket, hood, and cooler all embroidered with his name before we leave.  I know it is unlikely, but I would really like to prevent any of my stuff from being 'borrowed'.  

Countdown: 19 days (really, less than three weeks already?)

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