Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of molding horses

Partially because I was lazy and didn't feel like changing reins on headstalls carrying different bits, partially because I wanted to see how he would be, I actually rode Sunny in a curb bit today. Not typical, but, I was interested to see if there was any difference in his work. I was pretty sure he had been ridden in a curb before, and the curb I was using (the same as what I use on Silver) is very similar to the snaffle I have been using - so I figured no harm no foul. He actually worked pretty much the same in the curb, which was interesting. More work needed in a snaffle before he moves up into a curb for refinement! Lots of circles and patterns at the trot today before calling it a day - he did well!. Not much suppling, but he was responsive and fairly relaxed. I should be able to get one more work in tomorrow before he goes on the trip with his owners this weekend.

Gypsy was a little fearful when I first came in to work with her, but quickly settled down. We picked up all four feet, rubbed her all over, and played 6 of the 7 games - the usual. She was very good though and stood still much of the time - no fleeing about ;)

Thanks to her (minor, but still existent) injury, Missy earned another day off. I expect her to be back in commission by the time I return from my first bout in Tomahawk though :) Pretty minor, but Link was a great customer today, standing nice and still throughout his grooming session - quite the effort for a high-energy toddler, lol. I was tempted to ride him, but saved the last remnants of my energy for Cody and Silver. Link will get his fair share of work in Tomahawk ;)

Silver was fantastic, as usual - super responsive to my leg aids, ultra light on the bit (worked off a heavily looped rein), and awesome flying leads to boot. Spins weren't the greatest though, but we're working on it. So much of it is also me asking properly and my setting him up right - I am no professional reiner and so am doing my best to teach him what I barely know myself in that sense. I'd love to take some actual reining lessons. Of course that would be in between the dressage lessons with Link (maybe Koolaid too) and eventually the jumping lessons with Link as well...oh and I'd still love to do some team penning with Silver. Not enough time to do everything when you want! I guess I'll just have to settle for doing it all over an entire lifespan, haha. It's so nice working with such a light and responsive horse though, you just lightly pick up the reins and touch his sides with one leg and vloom he bends himself around it, touch him with a forward outside leg and boop, he switches direction on a dime. I don't even recall the exact details of how I ask him everything, we just sort of flow into it. It's like molding a clay pot or something - so light, so pliable. I love it! Sometimes I feel like such a student on him, like he already knows it all and is just waiting for me to catch up and ask it of him properly!

While Silver sweated it up nervously by himself tied outside the indoor ring but still within the barn (boy needs to cool those quick heels of his and learn a little more patience, lol), Cody and I played around a bit (with him saddled). He was much quieter today, tossing the savvy string over him by way of the carrot stick and even allowed me to keep him a couple feet away whilst tossing away. He was a little leery of the stick being waved around his head though, so we worked on that a bit as well until he was comfortable just ignoring the stick (just waving it rhythmically towards his head and upper neck until he forgot its existence) - which was pretty quick. This horse has got quite the head on his shoulders despite all his past history and trepidation as a result, which is refreshing to work with. The rest of his games were great, including some circling at the trot even. He let me up into the saddle today without any hesitation, and we just did some basic walk/trot/back-up/figure-8's. He's very responsive and light (wearing the rope hackamore) to minute directional requests, but dragging smaller figure-8's out of him was much harder. Not much suppleness and relaxation there yet. His back-up got lighter and better just over a few requests though. Not sure if he was ever taught leg aids or not, as he seems to somewhat respond to them, but if he does know them, he certainly is not all that light with them! He's sort of got a mind of his own at times but he is quite willing overall - I think once we've got him light and supple he'll be working like a pro. He definitely seems to want to please and do as you wish, he's just working on figuring things out! Another thing I am keeping in mind is that as the fear dissipates, we will have to make sure we keep a good level of respect up, else he'll be fearlessly trodding all over us ;) So far he seems to understand to stay out of my space and such, but obviously we have to always keep that in balance and carry it up into the saddle ;)

So, as it stands tonight, we are leaving for Tomahawk tomorrow evening, so we'll see what comes about. I'm anxious to get on the road! On the other hand though, the more I work with the horses here, the less days I have to return for later. If I put in another good session tomorrow with 'em all, I can already return for three days rather than four, which is what I had originally wanted.

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