|What's that? Volcanic ash?|
Nope, just snow.
It can be difficult to remain positive every step of the way in a young horse's journey - especially if this young horse is the first young horse you've ever really dealt with. Sure, I've hacked out friend's green horses and been tossed up on a few young ones, but I've never been solely responsible and in control of that animals training 100% day in and day out. Aside from Spud (who came home after 60 days with a trainer), I've never had much exposure to true "greenness" and have a newfound appreciation for what it takes to get a horse to become completely amateur friendly and "fool proof".
|Mounting from the back of a pick-up truck 'cause why not.|
Also - when you haven't ridden your greenie in weeks just
go ahead: mount up bareback and hack around the neighborhood
all alone. You'll be fine. (Spoiler alert: we were more than fine!).
It doesn't stop me from having fun with the horses when I can tho.
|Mare's blanket matches the color of her soul.|
(I kid, she's actually quite sweet haha).
I was able to even throw in trot-walk-halt-walk-trot sets down the asphalt road. I didn't do too much, considering the concussion of asphalt on horse's legs isn't the greatest, but I wanted to see how sound she felt in her back and loin area - which felt GREAT. I mean, until I get to sit the canter again, I won't know how much the adjustment and supplement has helped, but she feels so much stronger in her back albeit weak in her balance (if that even makes sense). She's lost a lot of muscle tone from the year, but she feels sturdier than she did when I brought her home.
I found myself verbally praising her a lot more than I had been, which seemed to make a lightbulb go off in her head. I don't even realize how little I verbally praise these days, but made a mental note to use it more in the future. We did a lot of walk-halt transitions since these are not her favorite thing to do because WE ARE ON A HACK WE MUST GO PLACES AT ONCE. But once she realized I wouldn't use the reins and instead focused on my seat and vocally asked her to "whoa", she kind of just gave up and reluctantly obliged.
|Practicing the halt with verbal cues only.|
She takes about 3 steps after the cue is given (you'll
notice her ears flick back when I ask her to whoa).
We do a variation of different things with the "farrier" routine - pulling the leg forward, holding it between my thighs, banging on shoe with a "hammer" (I just use a hoof pick) and more recently I have been incorporating each exercise while she is ground-tied and while she is eating her grain. The entire purpose is that when I ask for your foot - I want your foot and I get to do whatever I want to your foot no matter what you are doing.
Aside from general ground work and pivoting the haunches and shoulders, we've also dabbled with ground-tying for longer periods of time and with me at greater lengths away. Mare already knows to stand quiet for conformation photos, but this should refine the cue and make it more reliable. I am hoping that down the line if she ever were to get loose while being tied or panic when being tied (b/c horses), I could use a "STAND" cue and have her stand quietly for me to catch/ remediate the situation.
As always, I can't forget about The Potato - he's been happier than a pig in shit and I've been trying to find a non-rainy day to throw his rainsheet on because he is completely filthy and disgusting. Of course, every time I got to the barn he's completely soaked from standing in the rain... He's got a thick winter coat, so I don't imagine it bothers him too much - he just looks like he's very homeless.
And as a last tidbit of fun; three years ago today Spud finally came "home" - long-time readers will remember that I officially became his owner September 17th. After I had purchased him, he spent two months with a driving trainer before coming home.
|Getting Spud's trot sets in, lol.|
The whole "going nowhere fast" kind of applies here - the time with the horse's is on the back burner and I'm kind of playing catch up with a lot of things training-wise. Naturally (like the whole shoeing thing), some training has backslide a bit so I've had to go back and readdress. Which, is totally fine, but also can be a bit of a downer. Of course, consistency and repetition is the key so we just keep plugging along as we normally do.
She's a good egg and altho the steps we make are at a glacial pace, we are having fun doing it which is what really matters.
As a sidenote - anyone else ready for Spring?!