dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Refresher

After weeks of snow and freezing temperatures we are getting a January thaw. Starting yesterday the temps rose over freezing. The warmer temperatures combined with some torrential rain resulted in the snow disappearing.

I was excited that I would get a chance to play with my two horses. I let them out first and I could see that Irish was full of himself. So I decided to start with him. When I brought him in he was pretty much covered with mud. Fortunately a friend had given me a curry comb like this a few weeks ago:
It does an awesome job on removing dry mud. I cleaned Irish as best I could, tacked him up and headed up to the ring. To say he was 'up' would be an understatement. I knew that we would not be starting the session on a long rein. When Irish get like this, I have a routine I follow to get him relaxed and listening. Mostly it consists of lots of circles asking him to bend and step into the outside rein. When he tunes me out I do something to up the ante- like a throw in a small circle, ask him to leg yield on a circle or change direction. This keeps his attention on me and lessens the chance that he will spook and spin. And if he does, because I'm working on keeping him on the aids I am more prepared. We did this at a walk and then I asked him for trot. I'm sure that our work was not very exciting to anyone but us. It was good for me to work on sitting up- when Irish gets like this I have to fight a tendency to curl up and hang on to the reins. I was happy that I was able to resist this tendency and sit up in the saddle and use my seat to ride. He did not hang on his forehand for the ride and I did not hang on the reins.  By the end of the ride he was soft, forward and happy. I came to a halt and dismounted. Right after I dismounted, we heard some ATVs in the woods across the road. Irish went back into high alert. I was glad that I ended the ride then. It would have been annoying to have done all that work only to start over. Of course there's always the possibility that he wouldn't have reacted because he was too busy listening.

After Irish it was Steele's turn and he was more than ready. As soon as I let Irish out he came into the barn

Is it my turn? can we do something now? 

I brought him in and did my best to remove the mud but he had worked very hard to get it all in there. It's pretty bad when you have to make sure that your mouth is closed when you groom! Anyway, we were finally done and I hooked up the lead line and brought him up to the ring. Irish came trotting back and forth as we walked up the hill but Steele kept his eye on me and never even tried to go off with him. In the ring we walked around the perimeter and he walked beside me like a trained horse. I then hooked up the lunge line. I wanted to see how much he had forgotten having had 10 weeks off.

And the answer was....


He did not put a hoof wrong. He got a little excited at the canter and gave a few bucks. I pointed the lunge whip at his hip which made him move away and stopped the buck. I don't want to encourage bucking during work for any reason. This did not last long though. He was prompt for all the voice commmands so we worked at changing direction without me changing sides. He picked it up pretty quick. I then took him off the lunge and we did a bit of free work. Again he was tuned in and quite happy. I stopped the work then while it was all good. I let him wander and pick at some grass while I looked for rocks that had worked to the surface. I then headed to the gate and picked up the lead line. He came trotting right at me and stopped for me to hook it on. We then headed back home.

I love that the youngster was quieter and more settled than the coming 14 year old.

All in all it was a very satisfactory day. The weather is due to stay nice for the next week or so. I hope we get to enjoy it some more. But until real spring comes I will enjoy this pseudo spring.

How's the weather where you are?


  1. Sounds like some quality winter horse time! I too curl up and hang on the reins! Got a kick out of your closed mouth during grooming of the mud, I joked about that in my lasy post -the mud was caked that grooming was like chipping off cement and I needed safety goggles! Be sure to stop by my blog I'm having a sale/Trade yard sale! :)


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