Thursday, April 20, 2017

Continuing Ring Work and First Bath

Subnote: Wow - that's the last time I publish a post I don't proof read! Yikes. Thanks for looking past that, guys!

Easter Sunday, N asked me to join her for a ride and although I don't have any media from the actual ride, I do have media from Annie's first bath!

I decided to bring Spud again, mostly because pony needs fitness in his life, despite the fact that N met us at the BO's for our ride so we wouldn't have been alone regardless. I'm pretty confident in taking Annie out solo around the neighborhood - she has shown she is pretty solid for that stuff but it's just the whole trail riding thing that gives me some uncertainty. Not necessarily that she would kill us, but just that trails have a lot of questions in them that can even spook or bring about behavioral issues in the most seasoned of horses. The trail to the Grounds isn't necessarily littered with many difficult "questions", but having a friend along for the first few times certainly would amp up the confidence!

After I saddled up and mounted, we were ready to head out and it started out like it normally does. Annie likes to walk quite briskly at first, and despite the fact that it left AJ and N in the dust, I was OK with it. I have mentioned to N a few times that I just let her do her thing because as long as she's walking, I don't really care if she's walking faster than the other horse. It was a bit annoying for the first 1/4 of the ride, mostly because AJ started to get a bit riled up with Annie going full steam ahead. I do feel like Annie has a large walk stride to begin with, so when she goes Mach 10 and all legs are a'flying, it's hard for any horse to keep up!

At the right angle, there is a gap in the trees and you can
see out onto the street. She saw people riding horses a few
days ago and will stare at that spot for hours.
Sidenote: pls don't comment on the BO's uh... stuff
laying around.
Ironically enough, when AJ was most wound up Annie would settle down, and vice versa. A few times Annie tried to trot off but was easily contained, so I didn't worry too much. I expected her to be a bit brisk simply because she hasn't been out hacking with another horse in a while and also due to the obvious fact - baby.

We practiced a bit on alternating who led through the trail to the Grounds - AJ was content to be in the front but walked SO SLOW so Annie tried to pass him a few times. But she relented and shuffled behind him awkwardly, which he seemed to enjoy and Baby Mare DID NOT.

The ride in the ring was good - I actually remembered to bring my dressage whip (which hit Spud in the head a few times during the ride lol, sorry bro). At first, Annie would "suck" towards AJ and gave me a very half-hearted kick out when I gave her a stern tap on the bottom to pay attention.

One major thing I did note was that she feels less schooled now - her steering has really gone to shit which I guess is expected since the last time I schooled her was well over a month ago. It should come back with relative ease and I'm actually not too concerned about it. In addition being directionally challenged, she just feels quite weak all over and I was unsuccessful in getting her to pick up her right lead, which is something she was sticky about when I first rode her back in January. It'll all come with time tho, and I didn't push it because I want to address it on the lunge first before turning it into a fight.

Taken a different day, but can you spot the
scary rock that spooked her last time? LOL
Her transitions are obv pretty sloppy, but we had some really nice trot-walk moments and a few of her halts were really lovely. She did start to resort to tucking behind the vertical like she normally does, so we worked on pushing her into the bridle and praising her for bringing her head up. The entire school lasted about 15min and Annie was soaked. Poor unfit baby pony on an unseasonably hot day.

The hack back was good, but Spud had had enough. He started to be a bit defiant on the lead and ended up walking in front of Annie a few times, which she was really good about as I righted us again and carried on. I think maybe it was pay back for me accidentally poking him in the skull with my whip?

AJ left us 1/2 way home, and Annie was pretty adamant that we couldn't leave him behind, but a few pony-club kicks set her right on her way and she didn't even look back. In fact, she didn't even put any pep in her step when Suzie could hear us by the gully and screamed (I'd say neigh, but she legit screams).

When we got back to the barn, Annie was still warm so I decided it would be a good time to introduce Annie to the hose. I went in with no expectations and just started to desensitize her to it - bringing the hose to her legs, letting her dance away, and putting the hose back on. When I worked on her shoulder area, I put the hose up and quickly removed it and petted the area I had just gotten wet (kind of like how endurance riders sponge and scrape their mounts). I had been using this similar technique with the fly spray and it worked really well, and it was no surprise that it worked well this time too.

Spud cameo in the left.
With her being so good, I bathed her (not very well tho, I didn't want to turn the introduction to the hose into an hour long bath-extravagana). I wetted her down, spent some time rubbing some shampoo into her coat, washed it off and ran the sweat-scraper over it.

All in all, it was a total non-event and I was pretty pleased. She may have been bathed previously, but when I cold-hosed her legs after the Trailer Incident, she seemed pretty uncertain and spooky about it which leads me to believe not a lot of time (if any) was spent on it. No matter tho, because Spud was the same way when I got him and weirdly enough he was way more reactive than Annie (he still dances and pulls back on occasion).

I can't wait to see her fill out more, esp in her
little lady waist!
I turned her back out after that, and unlike my other two horses after a bath, she didn't immediately go find a place to roll. No, she went and ate her hay like a good girl.


  1. She's coming along. it's not unusual for green horses to be wiggly in their bodies and have difficulty steering- especially if you are going one way and they'd prefer to go another. It will come with consistent work. I still have the occasional steering failure with Carmen.

    1. I am OK with the Jesus Take the Wheel moments. :P

  2. Lol I had to come to the same compromise with Isabel on trail rides: so long as she kept four beats in her walk I promised not to fuss with her. Kinda a PITA when trying to ride with friends bc she out walked everything but.... We do what we gotta do, right?

    1. I have this feeling she will learn to walk slower and be less... rushed, but that'll come with time! LOL

  3. I feel like she already looks different! And she seems to be pretty solid already on the trail. Trails sound like they would be the easiest ride for a horse, but they are always the scariest.

    1. I see her every day so I might not see changes as easily as someone else might. And yah she seems to really like trail riding!