Monday, October 12, 2009

Trailriding before the sun goes down...

Tonight, I was determined to hit the trail! I used to trail ride all the time and these days I spend so much time training horses or developing my Parelli skills that I forget to just go cover some miles and enjoy the sounds of the trail. I wanted to take a couple horses with me and after thinking it over, I decided to take Gemini and Tina as my pony horses. So, I rode Rain and ponied Gem and Tina for about 5 miles. I'm sure we're quite a site as 2 of my dogs come along and they both like to follow right on the heels of the horses.

It was getting dark as we were coming back and cooold! But Tina and Gem had done really well as pony horses - especially Tina. She's learned how to lead up nicely and to not be afraid of being close to the lead horse (Rain). She seemed to really enjoy the trail, her ears were forward the whole time and she even got confident enough to try to pass Rain a few times! That's a big thing for her and her submissive nature. She's getting more and more comfortable with what I ask of her and her ability to handle it. She's also getting softer and softer with her responses - I was able to just gently ask that she lead closer up or slow down and she responded quickly and nicely. Good girl!

When we got back, I worked on hooves. I started with Rain and it was mainly just a balance trim with some frog management. She made my job easier and really cooperated. Then, I trimmed Gem. He started off wanting to give me some trouble, but I made a point of not giving him anything to brace against and he quickly let go of the idea to be obstinate and I had his feet done in no time. He's developing some nice concavity on the front hooves. It's taken a long time as he had pretty flat soles in the beginning. I wanted to get Nina done - she's very due for her trim. I'll get her trimmed first tomorrow. I'll also give Tina another trim to help bring her bars under control.

Z's leg looked less swollen after her cold hosing tonight. The wound on the outside is pretty rough looking, but the others on the inside of her leg will be healed up fast. Her front leg wound looks great, but the healing is slow. She looks a mess! She's locked in a run, which she hates, because I want her taking it easy on her leg and not straining it any more than she needs to. She's not happy about lockdown. Perhaps tomorrow, if the swelling is reduced, she can go back with the herd and I can just cold-hose it and treat the wounds every day.

Nice night.


Alice said...

Hi Tia,
I finally had a chance to catch up with your blog a bit and wanted to say again how much I enjoy reading it. Hope Z's leg heals quickly.

Something you mention a lot is "falling leaf"--would you be willing to briefly explain that? It's an intriguing phrase. :-)
Alice in FL

Tia Jones said...

Hi Alice! Falling leaf - such an effective tool for a excited or worried horse! Basically, you walk forward in a straight line. Your horse does half-circles in front of you. As your horse comes around the half circle, when they reach the side of you (just where they'd be leaving the circle in front of you and starting to circle behind you), you disengage the hind and bring the fore around so the horse has turned around is going back in front of you on the circle in the opposite direction.

Ha! Harder to explain than I thought it would be! It sort of looks like the pattern a leaf follows when falling. Basically, your horse is making a big half-circle arc and turning around every time they reach the end of the half-circle in front of you. I could draw it or show better.

The tough thing with this pattern is tool management! You want to switch the rope hand and stick hand before you turn the horse around to go back the way they came and that is tough for some people. The horse learns quickly to look for you to start to disengage, though. This pattern is great for an excitable or worried horse because they get to move their feet (works great at the canter!) and they have to "think" while they turn to go the other way.

Falling Leaf is one of my favorite patterns.

Thanks for reading my blog!