Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rio, Nina and Z's recovery

I took a new horse in for a short training period. He's a smaller quarter horse that hasn't been ridden in a year and not much at all in the past 4 years. His owner has developed some fear of his reactions to things and she's looking to get him evaluated and determine if she should keep him or sell him. I was expecting a "crazy" horse to show up, but he's actually a very nice boy with a great personality. And for some reason, my mares LOVE him. He bonded to Nina immediately and now he calls if she leaves his sight. That was a 36 hour courtship, folks. My oh my.

He's got some nice responses built in - he yields to pressure, he's great with the friendly game, he leads up nicely. He understands some basics, so we're moving quickly through groundwork and straight to tacking up and riding. I was told he has a lot of anxiety about the saddling process, so I tacked him up slowly with my treeless saddle. I wanted to see his responses to the pad, the saddle, the girth... He was ok with all of it. Perhaps his owner is doing something in the saddling process that triggers his anxiety. We'll figure that out.

I started teaching him to lower his head on cue. This will be a great thing to develop with him and that Kris can use when he gets worried. I think I'll make this one of his new things to leave my barn with and teach Kris how to keep it functional.

He tends to get a wide-eyed look about him and as I get to know him, I'll try to figure out how much of that is emotion versus how much is just the amount of white that shows in his eye. I saw him be very relaxed, but his head comes up high and his eyes get pretty dang wide. He also has a crazy swayed back just a 10-yr old. His middle back is sore and he is constantly in "bad banana" position. We'll start with hill therapy and transitions to get his back in better order, as well as teach him the fluid rein so he can stretch his back and move with his nose low and near the ground. I think some good riding and some back building/stretching techniques will go a long way with Rio. I'll take a "before" picture tomorrow.

I practiced the bow with Rain. It's time to bridge the cue for "foot" so that she bows on a more subtle cue. Then, I can teach her to lay down once I teach her to hold her bow from a different cue. She loves the bow and she loves treats! I'm moving to the 50/50 reward system (a treat every OTHER time) while I teach a bridge to the bow. She's the coolest horse. I just love her.

Then, I got Z out and doctored her hind leg. The swelling is nearly gone and I expect to be back on her by Saturday. I'll put her back on the track tomorrow. Thank goodness it wasn't more serious. She's definitely a cut-up looking horse right now, though.

Finally, Miss Nina needed more trimming done. She's also developed scratches on her hind pastern that has the sock. It seems that scratches affects a while pastern/fetlock much more often that a non-white one. I treated her with white lightening and I'll do so for a few days to get the scratches under control. I have lots of white pasterns in my herd - why did only Nina get scratches? Low immune system, perhaps? Maybe she had a cut there? I got another one of her hooves done, too. The second hoof this week. Like I posted earlier this week, I'm focused now on teaching her to partner up during trimming and not look at trimming as a time to play games with me. We got into a bad pattern of trimming time becoming a fight and now I'm trying to fix that. I'll do a hoof at a time until she's more willing to relax during trimming and doesn't want to take her hoof back so often. It's working - I got that one hoof done in a very relaxed way and was even able to sit on my stool while I trimmed her. Oh happy days! It's always great when you can see where you've gone wrong and get it fixed up. Hopefully, her scratches will look considerably better tomorrow, too.

Our weather has been great and the weekend looks fantastic - 60's and 70's with abundant sunshine! Time to get back on Miss Tina and start teaching her some things! Playday at my place on Sunday, too. Should be a great time.

Note to self: Need to hang a list in the barn of all the things every one of the horses under my training should be able to do. And then I need to make sure they can all do it! This would be a great reminder to me to build a solid foundation with no holes for every horse that passes through my barn. Also, need to build Z back up in the trailer.


Alice said...

Hill therapy . . . ah. I could use some of that myself. :-) Florida is WAY too flat!!

Tia Jones said...

Amazing what it can do to increase fitness levels in our horses! The hills really engage the hind end - especially down hill. When you walk your horse down a hill, ask them to stop and back up just a few stops before continuing on. A great muscle strengthener for them!