Sunday, February 15, 2009

April 11th 2008

"Post from the Past"

April 11th 2008

Today is Friday and I made it out here by 6:30 so it was still light enough to ride. I took Cody out for a trail ride. I put the easy boots on her for our trail ride. Originally I planned to ride down the road, but I wanted to see the creek, so we went down the trail into the canyon. That trail is pretty rocky in some places and the boots did a great job. She didn’t gimp over any of the rocks. I was also impressed with how well they stayed on. They didn’t move an inch, and we went through some really rough stuff…boot-sucking mud, some down trees with lots of branches down, and snow, and up a really steep hillside complete with mud and branches. They were a good purchase. Especially since I can take them off when I am not riding her. Todd's mom had shoes put on two of her horses and it’s so muddy outside right now that she has to keep them in barn so that they don't pull their shoes off in the mud.

On her ride, Cody was a bit barn sour, as usual, but once down the trail, she was better. She was really good about standing patiently beside me while I broke branches down so that we could go under and then over some downed trees. I was very pleased with that. We saw lots of moose poo and moose tracks, but no moose. The creek was very full and the crossing was all blown out. We just looked at it, and then turned around.

After I got back, I grained Chico and put scarlet oil on his cut, then I grained Catlow, saddled her up, and worked with her in the round pen. I pulled the tarp out, and the PVC pipe…I just laid it on the ground in the middle of the round pen. One of the horses reached through the panels and pulled out my stick with the plastic bag on it…they essentially ate the plastic bag off. So, I had her trot and canter around me off the line, then I put her back on the line to do more fine-tuned work. When working free, she is much more in an escaping me mindset, so I prefer to work with her on a line and she reacts better. On the line, we crossed the tarp and the PVC pipe. Then I worked for quite a while teaching her to side-pass over the pipe. At first she didn’t understand at all, and I think she also didn’t want to step over the pipe because it was flustering her brain. She kept trying to back up, then side pass behind it. Whenever she got it wrong (backing up and sidepassing), I kept asking her to move until I did at least get a sidepass out of her, then immediately walked her in a circle and tried again. When she got it close, I let her stop and made a big fuss over her. It didn’t take her very long to get it, and when she did, she started anticipating what I wanted her to do. She knew I was going to ask her to stop while standing over the pipe, then move…usually she wanted to move back first, but she really got it after she tried everything else first. Then I climbed in the saddle, and did some walking around the pen. We practiced steering…she’s getting really good…and walking over the tarp. Then I tried to ask her to sidepass over the PVC pipe and she was awesome! Since she’d already gotten it from the ground, she made the connection under saddle immediately and did it very well. I made a huge fuss over her and gave her treats for that one. I don’t think I could get Cody or Chico to side-pass like that. Each horse that I train gets better and better. I need to go back and retrain the other two now as well. I really can’t wait to take Catlow to Katie’s clinic. It’s going to be so good for her. I can already see that she is trusting me more and more. I do wish that she wouldn’t get high-headed and defensive when I ask her to do things undersaddle. She really only gets that way when she doesn’t understand what I’m asking, or when she thinks I’m being too rough (like when I ask her to trot, because she needs a bit of urging to do it). Perhaps tomorrow evening I’ll ride her out on the trail again.

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