Saturday, April 18, 2009

Horse-eating trailers

Friday April 17


Today none of my brilliant ideas consisted of performing Batman leaps onto the backs of green horses. Green horse, or more appropriately, little yellow horse, looked a little uptight again today with that wind blowing strong and so I - very wisely in my opinion - opted to walk the long way around to avoid the mud monster rather than vote for LYH carrying me and possibly dropping me directly into the mud. We entered the arena today to find another green horse at work, so needless to say, I was quite pleased when LYH stood quietly ground-tied despite distractions whilst I perhaps got a little too carried away with the grooming tools. Yes, Show Sheen was involved. I am ashamed. But my little horse was clean.

Our 7 games were great, including squeeze over a set of barrels (no walls involved). She sprang over nicely as the deer out in the fields had so taught her. Wish Sonny would pay the same attention to the deer's lessons as Chicka so obviously does. Swinging a rope off of her was pas de problème, her circling game - including changes in direction at the trot, was fantastic, and her figure-8 took all of six seconds to complete on the 22'. I'm not moving her up into Level 3 due to time constraints (she goes home Sunday) but rather lately have simply been maintaining and further improving details of what we have already accomplished on the ground. Under-saddle she was fantastic, soft and supple figure-8's around the barrels, nice weave (little stiff on her right side though), relaxed jog and canter. Today there was no cross-firing; she picked up the correct lead going counter-clockwise but not clockwise...that will come with more time. Sidepass was great too, a few steps in either direction. Her turn on the hind to the right was pretty brutal (esp when yesterday we got a good 180) but the turn on the hind to the left was great (I only asked for a 180 - yesterday she gave 360 though). Her turns on the fore are pretty good, she actually understands and does it well now.

My instructions to her owners when I send her home are definitely going to be to work on leg aids with her and to help her find her balance, particularly at the canter; this will eliminate the cross-firing and enable her to start picking up the correct leads automatically - circles circles circles!

Prior to saddling up we also took both horses out to the trailer to play and apply some of our games. My usual friend actually took over Chicka, who loaded quite well - being sent in on her own and backing out rather than turning around in the trailer, within no time at all. We started out though by playing some sideways, squeeze, and touch-it with the trailer.


I did not actually see some of Link's 7 games as my friend played them with him, but his yo-yo was definitely on track with where he's at (light Phase 3, wiggle forearm), his squeeze was most excellenté (he popped over the barrels quite nicely in either direction and with even a bit of eagerness haha), his sideways was good, and his circling was fantastic. I did the circling with him, on the 22' - trot, traveling circle at the trot, and changes in direction. He was actually very calm and left-brained and trotted a number of circles no problemo! His changes in direction were snappier than a piranha yet were not reactive at all. His figure-8 was a little tough for him and my friend, but only because buddy is still learning too. I worked on some switchback (changes in direction back and forth in front of me as I calmly walk a straight line forwards) with him and figure-8 at the walk before getting him on the figure-8 at the trot successfully. My buddy finished off with the figure-8 at the walk - awesome for those two as Link is a challenge and my friend is still learning how to "talk" to him effectively as a partner.

At that point my friend and I traded horses outside for the trailer loading exercise, as I wasn't sure how challenging Link would be. Turns out...challenging. Haha. The minute he stepped foot outside, he came ALIVE!! LOL. Everything was interesting and we were hyper as a cat on catnip...essentially, gerbil-on-crack Link took over. The trailer was interesting but nothing special. That blade of grass over there was very interesting! Not in the "it's-gonna-eat-me" sort of way, but in the "oh my, what's that - a blade of grass?? I can't believe it!!" sort of way. The way only Link can come up with. One word: wait...ADHD. We squeezed, sidepassed, touched - everything but sneezed on the trailer before trying some actual loading. When the loading came about, Link earned some raised brows and some good laughs out of me. He was so hyper he just couldn't stand still, so everything was fast forward. I'd ask him to walk up to the trailer, he'd walk up, touch it, check it out with his nose, back out, then already start walking back towards the step - he'd touch it some more, back up quickly, walk forwards into it quickly...and so on. It was a bit of a challenge to manage all that energy, as everything he did was in fast forward mode - not because he was reactive or right-brained, but because he just had all this energy waiting to go somewhere. Lol. Long story short though he did walk right in without too much time or effort on my part. He wasn't entirely comfortable standing in there, but mostly I think because he just wanted to keep moving - he was so excited to check everything out. Even standing in the trailer, he'd stand peaking out of the top slats watching everything (aka nothing) happening outside. He backed out nicely and easily too once he realised that's what I wanted, then he'd dash about outside, playing with his fronts and cantering a few steps before spinning around to face me again. What a kid *roll eyes*.

The trailer rests empty tonight. I swear I can hear it's horse-eating belly growling from my resting spot on the couch tonight as I write this blog.

No under-saddle for the Linkage today, it was getting late and well, I was tired. Plus he seemed pretty excited and I was content with our session as is. I'll catch my boy under-saddle next time, perhaps tomorrow.

I thought I'd get the chance for a week's break from working with outside horses, but of course Murphy's Law has clashed with my original plans to ensure no rest for the wicked... Sunday we drop Chickadee off home and pick up another horse owned by Chicka's owners' daughter, a 3yo TB x Perch, Venus. The 27th two mares come in from Red Deer to be started, then approx the first of May I take on a couple more. Busy!! Like I said, no rest for the wicked.

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