For it being a short work week I managed to bank a lot of hours…. It’s not fun having to work 14-15 hour days (plus an hour drive to and from work), not only does it wear me out but it cuts out any thought of spending time with James, the horses, or the cats and dog.
So most of my well earned Saturday off was spent sleeping. I woke up at 9:30, way past my normal 6 am. From there I managed to have Abbey run off while I took her off side ending up in an hour and a half long chase… I was none too happy. She has listened to me well so far but obviously my sleeping in gave her enough time to overcharge herself with energy. Guess we have some more obedience training to do!
I hadn’t even seen my horses since Monday so I was excited to spend time with them as horse withdrawal had hit its max in me. They were looking eagerly at me as I gathered my tack up and grabbed all three of them. I lunged Mara first and when she showed me complete signs of relaxation I tacked her up.
Mara has been working great in a thick twisted snaffle plus a draw rein; though I do see a german martingale in our near future aka- next paycheck. to keep her relaxed I ride her on a loose rein I have learned if I tighten her up at the walk and bring her head in, walking is out of the question she will just prance around. Yet I sometimes have to gather my reins quickly for control, so throughout our whole ride I am loosing and tightening my grip on the reins dramatically. Not always the most fun. At the start of my ride I wanted to go up front in the small part of my yard where there are lots of trees to bend around plus long straightaways…. But diagonal of my house there was a construction crew in their bobcats leveling the ground for a new house; and this was all too much for Mara she took one look at those scary white bobcats and went into one of her rearing fits refusing to go a step forward.
Pissed off and not going to start my ride with one of her fits I jumped off of her immediately, walked her straight up tot eh front of the yard to where we could see the bobcats clear as day. And then we lunged again, I asked her to break her poll and give to me plus a bunch of disengagement of her hindquaters. In fifteen minutes we were standing there, construction crew still going with no problems at all. Sometimes I have learned to do this instead of forcing her under saddle which is overwhelming and just ends up with her throwing a larger rearing fit and me being more pissed off. She is so sensitive to her surroundings it has me quite worried as at some point I would like to show Mara…. I have no idea how she will act in a completely new place.
So back on top of her; we walked all over the yard and the pasture, working on bending and walking straight which is a struggle for her. Mara’s front end and hind end never go straight forward one is always trying to swerve off in another direction- if she gets crooked she prances. Walking along the fence-line is the worse as she prances waiting to go to work. I start out by going around not near the fence or anything she can guide herself off of and make her listen to my hands and legs while staying calm the whole time. Once we can do that, we can go to the rail.
She did fine today considering I haven’t touched her for four days. Go a bit tense up but with some circles disengagement of the hing quarters and stops she listened to everything I asked of her. Our trot wasn’t at all pretty at first as we couldn’t pick a speed or keep our front end and rear end going the same way; but after bending around in a figure eight we got things worked out.
I have progressed with Mara in that I can get on her and keep her relaxed but once I move into another gait we become nervous. Today wasn’t that case, sure there was some prancing but we were able to come back to a relaxed walk quite quickly after the trot. It use to be the minute you were in the saddle she was nervous, and you could maybe get a walk out of her at the end of a long and tiring ride. Slowly but surely I hope at some point I can get her to stay relax throughout an entire workout.
I opted to leave things on a positive note and not touch the canter which I knew would be opening a giant can of worms. So Mara got put up and Dan got to go to work. James had ridden Dan last and said that he would not listen to him once he went to the back of the fields. I decided to lunge him in the rope as I call it most people call it the advance european training system, or pessoa training system… But calling it the rope is much easier. Dan struggles keeping his hind end underneath him; his trot as improved ten fold since I purchased him but he struggles to keep his leads; counter-clockwise is more painful than clockwise so that is where we focus. Working in the rope has helped him greatly. He started out lazy not wanting to extend his gaits, until I bent my knees acting like I was going to pick up my whip and then he realized it was a good idea to listen to me. I have gotten Dan pretty well voice trained on the lunge line, Mara as well though sometimes she needs to see me pick up the whip; rarely do I crack it normally me bending my knees or bringing it off the ground is enough to let these guys know to extend when my clucking isn’t enough.
But as we worked on our gaits and cantering correctly the dark gray clouds of rain rolled in and opened up in a downpour. This wasn’t going to stop me though, Dan kept on working for a few more laps and then we ran to the trailer to get tacked up. I released Mara and Taco so they could take shelter back in the pasture, Dan nickered to go with but that wasn’t happening. Him and I were both soaking wet but I tacked him up anyways. By now the ground was becoming soft so I knew trotting was out of the question since I didn’t want him sinking down into the lovely tacky mud we get here in Texas. But out in the back field where the tall grasses are they have a stronger root system than my front yard, so we bee lined for the field.
And Dan did quite well. He listened to my neck rein cues and didn’t get barn sour until I turned home then his pace quicken. Once he stopped listening to me it was back to work for him, we did plenty of circles all the way up and back down the field until Dan decided that the pace I set and where I wanted to go was the best idea anyways. I had to get after him but the lesson was learned and the rain had stopped now too. We then walked to the front and worked on some more bending.
Bitting Dan has been a challenge for me. Currently I have him in a sweet mouth short shank curb but I noticed as we worked he became more hollow in the his neck and less responsive. Today determined for me that I’m not happy with the current bit and some changes will need to be made. What though I’m not sure…. I will try my o-ring twisted wire and see from there; debating with the idea of a hackamore….
Sadly Sunday was clean house and prep for another busy work week so the horses didn’t worked today. Not such a bad thing as the temperature jumped up to remind us that the hot summer is coming ever closer. They drank almost half of their water trough in one go; I’ll be buying another large one before the summer hits. Tubby came out with me when I fed the horses and pestered me, then he got brushed as he is shedding horribly right now and I don’t want it all in my house.I’m hoping this upcoming week is a bit better than the last…. Hey I can hope right?
That’s all until next time 🙂