Sunday, February 21, 2010

Playing in the cold snow... Brrrrr!

February has been a tough month for horse time. We've had cold temps and snowy weekends. I promise myself to have this situation fixed for winter 2010-2011. Today, it was cold (about 18 degrees) and snowing all day. Dang it, I wasn't going to miss a whole weekend of horse time. Yesterday was bitter cold and also snowy. Today, I bundled up and headed out.

I started with Nina, Miss LBE. We did lots of sideways and back. Looking for obedience. Figure 8 is nice! She started off trying tricks to get away. She likes to try antics such as front feet up or flying through the air like a Lippizanner. She has amazing athletic ability. It never worked and it took her some time to abandon that idea. At the end I was starting to see a horse I'd mount. She was so sweaty, so it obviously took some good energy to get her on the bandwagon.

To be fair, I haven't spent a lot of time with Nina this winter. I have an arrangement with her owner where we trade training time. The short days have put a wrinkle in our arrangement, but I'm sure we'll be picking back up soon.

I found a time at the end where she circled calmly and with obedience. I quit there. I asked her to back straight along the fence to the gate. Her hind end would come off the fence and I'd ask her to put it back. Once she got with the program, she backed nicely and straight. Good girl, great place to quit. I tucked her into a stall with a wool cooler over her and a pile of hay so she could get warm and dry.

Tina - what a great session! She was very calm and offered energy to match mine. She never once got overly excited. Her friendly game responses were fantastic with some nice extreme friendly. I decided to saddle her in case she seemed good for some mounted time. I'm taking it very easy because of my arm. I also want to be sure that her mounted time starts back up on the right track because of our accident. We did figure 8 and boy, she really understands that pattern. The thing is, she wants to please so badly and she's so sensitive that as long as I'm clear with my body she's all over it. If she gets confused, she gets afraid.

I played with the circle and her maintaining her gait. She wants to stop behind me, a typical response. I will help her get past that. We played with squeeze and sideways and she did very well! She surprised me, truth be told. She was clam and smart today.

I took her into the round pen, played with COD, then decided to mount. She was responsive to me getting in that position. Hmmm... She moved away, very clearly telling me not to mount. I decided instead to build her confidence here. I made a lot of commotion with the stirrup, the saddle, flaps, etc on both sides. When she had a calm response, I mounted and just laid over her. I haven't been on her in a while, so I didn't want to do much more than mount. She was ok with me being on her back and I rubbed her a lot before getting off.

I ended with her head down, calm, quiet. We then left the round pen on that note.

I also trimmed Cowboy's hinds, Tina's fronts (what nice looking feet she has now), Ninas hinds. Nina has beautifully shaped hooves. Cowboy has the worlds thickest hoof wall and I'm getting the job done faster with nippers on him. He was extremely well-behaved for this trim and the last couple trims. Makes it much easier and faster to get my work done.

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