dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, January 27, 2017

Yo Yo Weather and Irish Tries to Kill Me

Just when I think that winter has settled into stay it warms up again. The down side is that the freeze/thaw is turning my winter paddock into a churned mass of mud. The upside is that my ring is doing well and I can continue to ride- albeit sporadically. 

Today was mild enough that I had no excuse to NOT ride. As I was doing chores outside I could see that Irish had a glint in his eye. I decided that I would ride him first so he wouldn't run around like a fool and either tear off a shoe or get a sole bruise (or both). 

When I went to get him both horses were in the small paddock by the barn eating from the hay net. As I went around Carmen Irish starts to head for the larger paddock. I tried to cut him off but he bolted like a racehorse and took off, Carmen going with him. 

At the far end of the field they stopped to wait for me to trudge up through the mud. I gave Carmen a piece of carrot but not Irish- You instigated all this I muttered as we made our way back to the barn. 

After grooming and tacking him up I led him up to the ring and over to the mounting block. He starts to spin like a fool so I spend a bit of time on the ground getting him to tune in. 

In his younger days Irish was a real handful. He's going to be 17 this year and he has arthritis but he every now and then his brain decides that he's 3 again. 

Today was one of those days.  


He spooked numerous times and almost got me off twice. He decided that the far end of the ring is the scariest location in the universe. 

Me: What the hell, Irish? You've been ridden up her for the last FIVE YEARS. Knock it off. 
Irish: There's trolls! Carmen told me. How come you never told me? 
Me: There are no trolls. And, for the recored, you are supposed to teach Carmen that there are no trolls not buy into the whole TROLL CONSPIRACY thing. 
Irish: I'm sure that trolls are an 'alternate fact'
Me: No. There are facts. There are no alternates unless you are living in an alternate universe.
Irish: hmmm
Me: Never mind. Forget I said that! 

Irish actually considered rearing- but he can't do that with his hind end. Thank god. Once I got him moving forward and got his mind in gear we had a pretty good ride. The nice thing about him being 17 is that he really can't sustain shenanigans. 

I should mention that during all this Carmen started by galloping around (which didn't help Irish) and then finally settled back to the haynet to eat. 

Then it was Carmen's turn. The wind had picked up and I decided that I would do ground work with her instead of riding. It has been a while since I had done this so it seemed like a good day. 

Before I tell you about the session let me show you what Ed made for me: 

 
I want to introduce Carmen (and Irish) so some trail obstacles. My plan is to set up a little course outside the ring and incorporate it into the training. The bridge is not ready yet to be stepped on- it needs some more screws and needs to be levelled so it doesn't rock on the ground. However, I think it's good for Carmen to get used to seeing it. She walked right up to it and gave it a sniff and then didn't care.

She started off quite tight and worried about things- looking for danger. So my focus was on being calm and helping her find the calm as well. And it took less then 5 minutes. She's learned to look for the relaxation rather than the escape hatch. It's hard to lunge and take photos but I got one:

not worried about anything

I practiced the falling and having her stop. She had not forgotten that lesson at all.

Sure, you lay on the ground and I will stand here. I'm glad that there's no one to see this! 
I finished with taking her off the lunge and working with her with no 'string'. she walked beside me and stopped when I did and even backed up. 

So, to sum up: Irish was a wild ditzy redheaded tornado and Carmen was the quiet and gentle horse. 

Glad that I plan to show just one of them....

24 comments:

  1. Yay for nice days! And I love that bridge. Jealous!

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    1. It really is nice, isn't it? I have to finish putting the screws in to make it secure and then the playing can happen!

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  2. We've been having a really nice break in our cold weather too! Yay for a break from the cold :)

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    1. I know. This is the longest I've been able to keep working!

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  3. Funny when the young horse all the sudden is the calm quiet one!

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    1. I think they cook this up to mess with me!

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  4. Omg lol @ TROLL CONSPIRACIES. Poor horses!!! Sounds like Carmen was a real gem tho - and exciting about the new bridge, now I want one too!! We had a little platform at Izzy's barn that I would stand her up on for shits and giggles... Maybe Charlie needs one now too haha

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    1. Charlie totally needs one. I have this dream of one day doing working equitation....

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  5. Great bridge! Love the idea of incorporating obstacles. Some days the older ones just get silly and the younger ones surprise you.

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    1. Thanks. I think it will work very well- even if she jumps off it's not that far down.

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  6. Your footing looks wonderful. What type is it?

    It has been so warm here that I have daffodils coming up in the yard. The poor plants are going to die off this weekend though as it plummets back down in the 20s overnight.

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    1. It's a mix of sand and rubber. The rubber helps to thaw it sooner.

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  7. "alternative facts" snort, cough, laugh, more snorting

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    1. I thought that you might like that....

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    2. Super jealous of your bridge! I want to dabble in working equitation when mine are a little further along 😍

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  8. Love that bridge. Hoping Hubs takes to the driving and builds us some obstacles too. Threat bridge would be perfect! Gotta love bratty horses, though not while in the saddle for sure!

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    1. Irish is good at being adorable. Saved his life on a few occasions.

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  9. This weather is nuts :( My whole farm is a sloppy, mucky mess. It's enough mud to keep me from riding my guys at all right now. (We don't have a ring.) I had a pretty good laugh at your discussion with Irish. HORSES!

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    1. It is very strange for sure. Obviously you need a ring.... :)

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  10. I love the troll commentary! Sounds like you're doing a good job of keeping the horses' brains engaged through the winter.

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  11. Irish you wild man! Glad Carmen was a cool cucumber at least. Your bridge looks awesome :)

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  12. I, too, and am SO tired of yo-yo weather! It's hard on horses.

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    1. It is. This is why I blanket- I can't stand the wet and then freeze and what it does to their coat.

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