dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, March 24, 2014

Back to work sessions #2 & #3

Despite some snow Saturday night, Sunday dawned clear and warm. The skim of snow was melted by mid morning so I went out to do some more work with the horses. I had planned to grab Steele first this time but they were having so much fun running around the field. As I headed out to get them I spied Irish's shoe in the mud. I swear I had walked over that spot 3 times yesterday. My excuse is that it must have been crusted in mud which the snow washed away. I then noticed that Irish had managed to pull of his boot with his running around. That settled it- I needed to get Irish before he bruised his sole on a rock. And since I had him in the cross-ties I needed to get the crusted mud off. And since I went to all that work I might as well tack him up and go for a ride. He was not as forward this time in our ride but he had been tearing around and this getting back into shape is hard. But it was still a good work out.

However, this weekend was not just about riding Irish. Steele also got to work as well.

Session #2 2014: Saturday
He was so crusted in mud that I had to bring him out of the barn to clean it off. After that I put on his boots, grabbed the lunge line and headed up to the ring. My goal for the session was to have him walk, trot, canter and halt both ways in the ring while staying calm (both of us) and to maintan a steady rhtyhm. As expected he was quite willing to go forward and no so keen on the downward transitions. All I do is ask and if he doesn't respond I bring him in closer on the lunge until he drops down. So if he's trotting and I ask for a walk and he doesn't respond I bring him in closer until he has to walk. I let him walk about 4 strides and then send him up into trot again. The next time I ask if he's prompt I let him walk for a longer time. This way he realizes that the break comes with obendience, not when he chooses. It didn't take long for him to figure it out. The other thing I worked on was not letting him come in close on the lunge. After about 15 mins he was doing perfect so I stopped and unhooked the line to do some free work. That was pretty simple too. He will stay at my shoulder while we walk, halt, turn and back up. It really is quite fun- I should get a book and try some more stuff. After this we headed back to the barn. I took off his boots and we headed out to walk down the driveway. He spooked at the green compost bin as we went by so I stopped to let him look and he stuck his nose out cautiously. I walked him around with me closer to the bin and then the other way with him closer. He really didn't care by that point: yes I get it, it's nothing. Can I have grass now? Elapsed time: 15 seconds. We carried on down the driveway to inspect the mailbox and then out onto the road to walk up and down a little bit. Definitely a whole new perspective from the bottom of the driveway. After that it was carrots and back to the field.

Session #3 2014 Sunday
I left Irish inside in his stall and brought Steele in for his turn. I decided to leave Irish in as part of the seperation work. I don't want horses that freak out if they can't see each other. Besides at some point this summer I will be loading Steele into the trailer and taking him away. I want Irish used to being inside so he doesn't disrupt the loading process with a hissy fit. I decided to put on his pad and surcingle this time. I toyed with the idea of also putting on his bridle. He's been so easy so far that it's tempting to push. But I really believe that it's shorter in the long run to do things one step at a time. This way there's no big reaction and I can be sure that I'm not leaving any holes in the training. I figured the addition of the surcingle and the separation from Irish might be enough. He was a bit slower walking up to the ring because he could hear Irish calling. I also heard a few 'clunks' as Irish kicked. Silly bugger. Steele was a bit unsettled as I closed the gate to the ring but stood when I asked. When we went to work he didn't call out or become too upset.  The lunging was perfect. He did get a bit excited at the canter but settled down when asked. I introduced the idea of him halting on the lunge and changing direction just using body language and moving my whip to the other side. It didn't take long for him to figure it out. Again another short session. I let him mosey about the ring while I picked up some rocks. He didn't care about the surcingle around his middle at all. So we headed back to the stable so that Irish wouldn't pine for much longer. I intend to bring them in periodically while the other is out so that they get used to it.

What was really cute was both Saturday and Sunday when I came back to the barn after working Steele he nickered at me. It was like he was saying "hi there. that was fun. Want to do more"

The answer to that , of couse, is yes. However, today it's back to being -10 with a windchill making it worse and Wednesday we're due for a major Nor'easter:
we're in the area due for 30-45+ cm snow (just a bit left of Halifax)
I tried denial in hopes that this would go away but the weather people are sticking to their guns on this one. sigh. Time to batten down the hatches. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't live up to predictions.


  1. NIcely done on the training sessions!

    Glad you were able to get out before the weather goes to hell again. We're just getting freeing temps and big big winds as the system speeds it's way up to you. Maybe this will be winter's last gasp... :(

    1. thank you. I am enjoying the process so far. We survived the storm but there's now about 3 feet of drifts everywhere. sigh.

  2. Good grief!!! Will winter never end?? I'm so sorry it's still so crappy up there for you.

    It sounds like Steele is doing awesome. He's right on track. :D I sometimes miss those days with Chrome... am I weird? I really enjoy ground work lol.


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