dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

She's Back

The last post ended on a dramatic cliff hanger- our heroine was in serious danger.


Well not really.

But if you recall Carmen had become a spooky, reactive mess and I was less than impressed.

I had added alfalfa to the night feed and wondered if that was part of the problem. That night I stopped feeding it to her. I didn't ride Tuesday- the weather was awful and I was tired from work.

Today (Weds) was sunny and warm. I love daylight savings time- I much prefer it to be light later than earlier (if I was supreme ruler we would leave it at DST) because it allows me to ride in the evening without rushing after work.

There was no one home when I got her ready and, to be honest, I was a little concerned. I figured I would take it one step at a time. However, I could tell as soon as we got in the ring that she was a different horse. She was a bit 'looky' in the spots that were terrifying on Monday but not the mess she was.  I was careful in my ground work to make sure that I had her attention and that she was listening. In fact she was a bit sluggish.
Me: You know Carmen there is a happy medium between bolting and moseying. 
Carmen: You are far too fussy. 

I mounted and I made sure that from the beginning I had her attention. I didn't take the approach of 'force' to get her into spots but rather let the work carry us there. When she hesitated to look I brought her back to work. I didn't get harsh but I didn't accept that any wandering of attention. Irish dozed in the sun while we worked. When I asked her to trot she was a bit sluggish so I gave her a light tap with the crop. She kicked out but I kept asking until she moved out.

She was a bit fussy in the contact but that was my fault- I was being cautious and ready for her to spin and bolt. If I was a professional who rode tons of horses I could probably relax right away. But I'm an AA and depend on my job to pay the bills. So I was being defensive. I was able to finally relax my elbows and her acceptance of contact improved.

 We were able to walk, trot and canter in all areas of the ring. When I dismounted she stood quietly, totally relaxed. I allowed us to mosey down to the barn and she hung out with me while I did my chores. The hard look was gone from her eye.

I know that it wasn't a clean experiment- but I've decided that Carmen does not respond well to Alfalfa and doesn't need it in her diet.


11 comments:

  1. If you ever find the secret to the middle ground between slug and bolt of lightening, let me know. Lucy seems to be at one extreme or the other -- and the funny thing is that she is most sluggish when she is in heat. Go figure. Mares. Those rides in the sweet spot of energy, though, are totally worth it.

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    1. I will keep searching for that holy grail of impulsion!

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  2. I'm always impressed with your work ethic when I read your posts. When I get home from work, it's all I can do to get out there and feed all the animals, especially when it's cold.

    We feed free-choice grass to the mares and they do great. Our older geldings, however, need the flaky, fine-stemmed alfalfa, because they have less teeth to chew on it, and need that extra protein.

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    1. I don't know about work ethic- but thank you!

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  3. Well if its the alfalfa that's a pretty easy cure, now you know not worth feeding it to her.

    And I'm with you, I would totally leave daylight saving time on all year if I could

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    1. I hope it is that easy. we'll see!

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  4. I'll second what Linda said about your work ethic. The breeder I bought Bombay and Lostine from had them on straight alfalfa, and they were a hot mess. I switched to mix, but couldn't find mix once I moved to AZ. So, I put them on straight Bermuda grass, but they got too thin, even with free choice. So, now I have them on grass/alfalfa mix pellets and give them just enough to fatten them up, but not so much as to make them nutty.

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    1. thanks for sharing that with me. It seems that there are some horses who don't react well to it!

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  5. Ugh, I feel your pain. Boca is a spooky reactive mess on alfalfa. We got a batch of hay last year that had a high alfalfa content. It was not a fun few weeks. The horse I rode in a PARADE suddenly could not handle the neighbor's goats.

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    1. Thank you, It's good to know math I'm not alone

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  6. No alfalfa is an easy fix! I totally feel you on the self-preservation bit... I can't afford to get hurt.

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