Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eeking out some progress

Now that it's getting dark at 4:30 (blurg) I have to start spending some training time in the mini-indoor arena.  Last night I put a pole down in the middle and we worked on walking circles and figure 8s.  While it's great to have a space to work where there is light, it's really dusty, the footing isn't so great, and it's mini.  Trotting in there is out, my green gelding doesn't have a handle on being balanced trotting in the outdoor arena, in the mini-indoor he's a disaster.  I think until it gets light enough for me to ride outside after work, I'm going to do ground work and lunging with Coriander in the indoor during the week and only ride on the weekends when we can work outside.  So by February he should be a pro at doing those showmanship maneuvers.

Speaking of those, I got a new book in the mail last night that's full of some great groundwork exercises I'm going to do with both of the quarters, "Right from the Start: Create a Sane, Soft, Well-Balanced Horse" by Michael Schaffer.  We're going to work on leading exercises, ground tying, and introducing them to the bit from the ground.

After I put Coriander up, I got Gwen out and worked on picking up those hind feet.  I was telling a coworker of mine about how I haven't been able to pick them up -- she'll pick the foot up but slams it back down before I can hold it, if I do manage to get it she jerks it away while hopping around on three leg -- and she suggested looping a rope around her fetlock and holding her leg up with that.  Then I ran across this article, "My horse won’t lift his back feet to clean. Help!," suggesting the same thing and a link to a video of someone doing it (the filly in that video is so much calmer than Gwen).  So I gave it a try last night and got some improvement!  She still jerks that leg around but she wasn't able to slam it back down immediately and she didn't get as upset as she usually does.  So I'm going to keep it up.  We'll get there yet!

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