Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ZOMG! White things!

The temps have finally fallen below ridiculous here which means I can get back to work. My first order of business was to ride Coriander. I was a bit worried about how it would go since he hasn't been ridden in a week but he was pretty good. My lesson about no unrequested forward appears to be sinking in- we only had to circle twice. We had some interesting transitions though, we're still working on getting a specific lead so I've been trying to incorporate a lot of canter transitions into our rides. I asked for a right lead first and got the left, then I asked for the left and got the right. Either he was feeling contrary or my body control was out of wack. I'm guessing the latter (it's always the human, right?).

After our ride I got Gwen out and fed them dinner, then I hooked her up for some ground driving. I'm really enjoying doing this with her. If she's never comfortable being ridden I could still have a ton of fun with her ground driving. How cool would be it be if she could do all the upper level dressage work on the lines? Pretty darn cool, and she would find it easy. I may just do that anyway...

Back to business- Mark was trimming trees in our normal area so I took her out to the other Christmas tree field, the one she's never been all the way through and finds a little nerve wracking. She was nervous when we walked in (we have to walk in a little alley through a hedge), but she quickly got over her nerves and put her "exploring hat" on. I actually had a hard time turning her around to come back because she wanted to keep going! Love that.

She had a bit of a scare on the way back though:
"ZOMG! There's a WHITE THING on that trailer!"

She did her best "Arabian in a halter class" impression: Arching her neck, snorting, bugging her eyes out of her head, spinning and bending all over the place. If it was a shiny white thing I would have ushered her away from it (because of her sensitive eyes), but this wasn't shiny so we got to play Touch The Goblin instead. Can you step toward it? Yes, click and treat. How about closer? Closer still? Finally she got right next to it and I asked her to target on it. As soon as she did that, the fear was gone and she discovered that there was grass all around it. "What white thing? All I see is green." Love that too.

Here's what I don't love:
Gwen's getting rubs from her fly mask.

She has SUCH sensitive skin that I'm not surprised by this but I wish it weren't happening, we're still right in the middle of bug season and I don't want her to get eye or ear problems from the bugs. I've still got the old style mask that don't have the ear covers that I could put on her, but I don't like how much more difficult that thick, white mesh is to see through than the finer, black mesh on the new ones. For now she's wearing Swat eyeliner until her face heals (the clear Swat, not the pink stuff). She's been very good about letting me put it on but now I'm concerned that the Swat will damage the skin around her eyes.

Ugh, I love summer but I could do without the flies!


  1. Sounds like a lovely horsey day! Glad your weather's finally improving. :)

  2. Hmmmm...I hope Cowboy doesn't get rubbed like that. He's got the same mask on. I was only going to use it for riding then exchange it for his pasture mask, but I was lazy and left it on. :>/

    At least you know to ask for a lead and when you don't get the right one. I think much of it is our communication with the horse except when they switch leads on purpose to more easily run to the gate or wherever they're wanting to go.

  3. Thanks Funder, having the temps back in the low 80s instead of high 90s makes a BIG difference :)

    Linda you might want to keep an eye on it but keep in mind that she's REALLY sensitive. Coriander has the same mask and no rubs.

    I've been thinking about doing a post on how I've been teaching him canter leads. I didn't have a clue how to do it but I happened to stumble on something that seems to work (most of the time).

  4. I've heard that War Paint is a really good fly repellent and it's made to go on their face. I use swat for ears and bellies so I don't know how it'd be around their eyes. I too hate flies! So annoying.

  5. I literally just went out on my lunch break and bought some War Paint! I'll let you know how it works out for us.

  6. Sounds like a couple of good outings. Glad your horse is learning the "no extra forward" lesson. And glad your other horse conquered her fear of the 'white monster'!

  7. Thanks Megan, yeah white things are an issue for her. I don't think it's something she'll ever "get over" either. Poor girl.

  8. I'm guessing it's the fly mask she's wearing in the header pic? I switched to Cashel fly masks last year and have never looked back. So far I haven't seen any rub marks on Lilly's face (or AJ either) and they really fit her well.

    I envy your cooler weather! It's going to be back in the 100's here this weekend. :(

  9. I'm really impressed by how you worked through the white thing with her. Glad the temps are going down a bit so we can get some work done. Sounds like she's really getting into the ground driving. It's too bad the mask is giving her rubs. I don't like ours either but so far no rub problems.

  10. in2paints- how horrible! Try not to melt, okay?

    GHM- thanks! I'm pretty proud of her, she's been doing really well lately. Fly masks are kind of a necessary evil during the bug months, they're better designed than they used to be though- and they aren't bothering anybody else, just her.

  11. Some QHs have really broad foreheads--you might try a larger size of can usually cinch them up enough to work.

    I use clicker training with my fearful mare too, and it works wonders to get her to get her out of "OMG! MUST REACT TO EVIL THING!" mode!

  12. I heart clicker training, it made a world of difference with my mare :)