lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I need to study up my grammar.

Another whirlwind day!

Nelson felt better this morning so we took both Roy and Molly out together. Molly only really thought of jigging twice, which was much better than last week. Soon we should be able to add in some trotting while we're out and be able to keep her brain present. Roy is happy as a clam moseying along the trail carrying Nelson, which makes me happy my matchmaking was good.

After Nelson it was Grace and Dawn again. Grace got the full training harness from breastplate to crupper. She still seemed to care more about the clips swinging on the sides than the crupper or the kicking straps/trace carriers. Since Dawn wants to do everything we're proceeding with Grace for driving until Dawn gets herself a saddle. Tuesday I'll bring the breastcollar and see how it fits before we start thinking about introducing the long lines.

From there I loaded Kitt and headed up the hill for training (i.e. me taking a lesson) with Carrie. We worked tail to the wall leg yields and also some bend-counterbend figure eights in the walk before playing with shortening the trot and getting Kitt to lighten her shoulder some and then proceede without losing balance (easier said than done). We have the next lesson set up for the beginning of May.

From there Kitt returned home and I headed over to Roxanne's to work with her and Gypsy. I forgot to bring a whip, but we were still able to work a few things. The first things were getting the harness back together and adjusting the cart with the traces and holdbacks.

We ended up moving the reins to the snaffle setting because Gypsy was a bit backed off. She went better after that, hut she could definitely use some help with the whip to get her actually bending through her turns rather than swinging her hips into the shafts and counterbenting 90% of the time.

I had a slightly longer break after Roxanne and found that my long line order came in. I got three sets, 1/4" in hunter green, 5/16" in navy, and 3/8" in purple. I used the 5/16" navy line this evening lungeing a student and really liked it.

With three new sets of lines I put up the Parelli feather lines for sale because 22' isn't long enough for me, then thought about it and put up my old MCR lines. because I don't really need four different sizes of long lines, especially since I was thinking about finding ways to hack off the clips since I've grown less fond of using clips.

Both sets were claimed within an hour! I'm thinking I should have charged more for them! As it is I paid for almost half of the order selling the two sets!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I was able to work Tru-D again yesterday morning because my 8am was sick (so many sick people canceled this past month). I used the Parelli feather lines again and attached them between the cheek pieces and throatlatch in the cross-under configuration. I had Susanne mucking in the arena so I took Tru-D out and around the house.

She did pretty well. We have some work to do on her bravery. With the work on the driveway and some other things moved around things Were Not The Same so she was a bit suspicious the first couple of passes. There were a couple moments of jigging that she came back quickly from and also a couple moments of trying to eat.

I definitely think the weight of the beta lines was the issue with her drifting backwards as she once again stood pretty solid when asked. I may work her a few weeks in the feather lines before going back to tbe beta lines and see what happens.

I did take the new whip as I worked her and it had a good reach. It is ridiculously light for its length and I like the lash length in addition. I need to get a longer lash for my other one. I need to start focusing on getting Tru-D calmly responsive to the whip aids while I ground drive her. She tends to speed up right now as she moves over so I need to step back and reinforce her moving sideways off of it.

Thursday I had Nelson with Roy and Molly. He had the farrier out the other week and the farrier and Molly had a bit of a disagreement. Nelson had mentioned that we haven't been tying her solid. She has a tendency to set back and rather than have her break things we do a couple loops around the post to create a little friction to have her feel some pressure, but not enough to go into a full panic. If she sets back you just ask her to step back up and snug it back down. It's a lesson I learned with Judy's mare Sweeti who broke more halters and lead ropes than you could shake a stick at. It's no big deal and Molly has been getting better about standing "tied" with fewer incidences of setting back and coming forward quicker after it. Nelson had noted a couple months ago that the farrier appreciated that Molly was being better about her feet since I started working with her. This last session, however, the farrier's assistant got it in his head that he was going to "teach her" and snubbed her down on the post, which resulted in her setting back (surprise), fishtailing, and ultimately scraped her chest on the hitching rail as she came back forward. He was not able to get her back feet done at all.

I had offered to bring out my tools and at least knock the rough spots off. I forgot last week, but remembered Thursday. She had been good for Nelson cleaning her feet so I figured it wouldn't be much of a deal. We had built a decent rapport the last six or so months and I was hoping it would be no problem.

No such luck. She saw the bucket with the tools in it and her hind end became a 100% no go zone. We were back to square one with her spinning circles if I even got near her flank, let alone her hip and foot.

She reached one point where I was able to pick up her foot and was feeling like she needed a mental break so I spent a couple minutes putting the bridle off and on Roy. Royal is doing consistently better about his right ear, but is still touchy.

When I went back to Molly I was able to work her left hind and knock out the extra sole as well as trim the wall and do some rasping. Unfortunately we had to call it quits there. I was back out today. Molly was a little reluctant to be caught, but she just walked off about 50 feet and that was it. Nelson lead her up under the shade where we usually tie them, but when he went to put the rope over the rail she rocketed backwards. She was then wary to be under the shade at all and I had Nelson pause when she gave him a couple good steps forward before I took over.

Knowing her high anxiety under the cover I didn't push it and just kept her in hand. She was wanting to spin and I changed up strategies, instead of putting pressure on her gaskin as she walked and spun I slipped the rope around her leg and put some pressure on it. With my hand on her gaskin she would slow down, but it would take several steps (or spins) and she really was locked into a bad mental pattern. With the rope around her pastern I picked up pressure and she rethought her tactics very quickly. I kept the pressure on until she would relax the foot and then I would let it go. I was able to work down to touching the foot and eventually got both of them cleaned out before grabbing the hoof knife and focusing on her right hind. I had to use the rope again, but she settled quicker. She had worn out most of her sole so there wasn't much for it and gave her foot back before heading over for the nippers.

I can't remember if it was with the nippers or rasp that she kicked out just as I was about to give it back. Molly thought for sure I was going to explode on that one, but I just picked up the rope, quietly grabbed my tool, and worked to get her foot back, fussed with it again, and moved on.

I rasped the left hind a little again and then gave Nelson directions as to how to work on it until I came again Tuesday. He doesn't quite have the skill and timing to do it exactly as I did, but he could work on getting her comfotable again with him approaching and rubbing her barrel, hip, and eventually the leg.

Nelson and I talked quite a bit as I was working with her both days and while I didn't quite say my full thoughts we both came to the conclusion that the "teaching" that his farrier and his assistant did the week before last almost put us back to square one with Molly on her feet.

I admit I was not happy to see all of our good work pretty much flushed down the toilet because some idiot thought he was going to be a macho man and teach a horse how to stand tied by snubbing it to the post. Especially a horse that already has a history of setting back and in particular before she had a chance to do anything "bad!" Talk about setting her up for failure.

Nelson mentioned that Molly actually gets a little anxious when she sees the farrier's truck, which tells me he was already a source of anxiety. Nelson also said that his (soon to be former) farrier had set in his mind how Molly was and kept the opinion she just wasn't a good horse despite her improvement over the past six or seven months.

Molly definitely has some self-protective habits, but she certainly isn't a mean horse. The bucket of tools was definitely something she associated with People You Do Not Trust so it took a while to reconvince her I wasn't a threat.


I am of the mind that it isn't the farrier's job to teach my horse how to accept being trimmed and shod, but he certainly shouldn't make the horse worse! I gave Nelson Kevin's number and we'll see how that goes. I think we'll try to schedule it so I can be there when he comes out the first time. Not that I doubt Kevin's skill in handling horses, I did a 150+ hour internship with him for my Equine Science degree, but I don't think it would hurt if Kevin heard my direct perspective and be there to hold Molly if needed. Nelson is getting better, but he just doesn't have the years of experience to hold a horse that is working through issues.

In happier news we hooked Ruby and Charm-N up to the carriage again today and I think we finally have it set the way we need it. I'm ready to take them out and about! Once Ruby and Charm-N chilled out a bit Chris even drove them for a bit and the little men joined us. Tristan went around a couple times before deciding riding his bike was going to be more fun, but Kelhan hung out until we were done and then had to be persuaded to get off. He climbed on again as soon as we had the horses unhooked and was pretending to drive his team while Chris and I detacked the horses. I didn't take any pictures, but Chris managed one.

lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
If this is a little disjointed and rambly I blame lack of time to write in one sitting and also baby-induced sleep depribation.

Now that I'm back into full swing with both teaching and riding I am seeing where my fitness isn't quite where I'd like it. I think I am being a bit more demanding with myself riding than with Tristan and Kelhan because I have Mac to bring along as well as client horses to hop on too so maybe it is just more obvious this time around.

Nelson has two horses, Molly a Quarter Horse mare and Roy (formerly Royal who used to belong to my client Debbie), an Arab gelding. Molly is a long time trail horse and while she did have some gaps in her training we're slowly filling them. She's forgiving and pretty straight forwarded. I got on her last week for the first time (I was pregnant when Nelson sarted up and wasn't getting on unknown horses) and got a chance to feel her out better. With me back to riding the plan is for Nelson to work on himself with Molly and I'll be working on Royal. Roy's trot has come a long way since Debbie first got him and he had no rhythm or balance whatsoever, but it is still very thrusty and he's making my thighs burn with the posting and little bits of two-pointing I am doing on him. His canter is also naturally thrusty and at the moment he tends to flail over his inside shoulder, which will be a point of focus for me. He's not quite so forgiving as Molly, but he isn't maliscious. Once Nelson's seat gets up to par he's really looking forward to taking his big-moving gelding down the trails. They have done great in the walk, but Nelson's rhythm and strength isn't quite there to post Roy's trot (forget sitting it). We have played with two-point and that went smoother, but since I'm able to climb on now we're doubling up and letting Nelson work on himself with Molly while I get Roy more rateable in his trot. I've managed tonget him down to a slightly softer trot that is more sitable, but only after a few thrusty strides of his normal trot. The gelding can do more than eight inches of overstriding, which is insane. He is a Huckleberry Bey great-grandson I believe (might be two greats) and has that potential park horse movement.

The other thing I have been working on with Roy is bridling. He had the issue since Debbie owned him, but she usually had hin tacked and ready to go I only found out he had an issue when she finally wasn't able to get the bridle on him one day. She's shorter than I am (5'4" myself) and Royal is about 15.2 hands, if not more (haven't measures him myself). I only worked on his issue that one time with Debbie and I assumed she was able to improve enough to be workable fr her. When Nelson and I looked at Royal at Aliki's place she mentioned his ear issue and said he just wanted his head rubbed, which I thought was a bit of a misreading as she's torquing his ear to get it under the crownpiece.

It doesn't help that Roy also is a mouthy creature and if you're not 100% confident and smooth in putting it on he will eat the cheekpieces, reins, and noseband (if applicable). We have him going in one of the Moss Rock Evolution bitless bridles, which he goes well in. He takes the bit alright, but he constantly jaws it and will twist and drop his jaw at the contact. We haven't found a bit that he's really happy in so bitless it is.

ANYWAY! The major problem is the right ear. You would touch it and he would push into the hand, or try to snake out from your arm. Nelson did have the vet rule out a physical issue so we were just facing years of self-defense in poor ear handling. The crummy thing about ear shy horses is it tends to be self-fulfilling. The more the horse tries to protect its ear the more likely the (average) human is to squish the ear while trying to get the equipment on. Proper handling of the ears is something I try to drove home with my students because I certainly don't want my students to ever cause the problem! Getting back on track again Royal doesn't have issues with his left ear being touched, just the right one. This is actually pretty typical with ear issues as people typically put the bridle on from the left side the right ear is farther away and slightly more awkward to grab and harder to see.

To work on Roy's issue I first got him dropping his head because I have a hard time reaching anything when he is impersonating a giraffe and a high head typically leads to an anxious horse. If I can get him to drop his head I can encourage a calmer state of mind. I would then rub near the ear and work towards briefly touching it. I made some progress, but actually what seemed to really help was putting the lead or reins over his neck and then applying slight pressure behind his ears. His first reaction was to try and push into it and jerk out of it. I stayed with him until he gave slightly to the pressure and let it slide off the right ear and then the left. Once he was giving to it softly he was better about the split second it took to get the crown over his ear. Nelson also did his part in between sessions with me in just rubbing and loving on Royal's head and getting in some time of touching his ears without an agenda. Thursday there was a nice change in Roy regarding his ears. I was able to touch the right one without him automatically ducking out and he was quicker to give to the pressure behind his ears. It took less than five minutes to get the bridle on without drama compared to over twenty the first few times with drama. I'm hoping he will soon reach the point where he just slides his head into the bridle with zero defensiveness about his right ear. Thursday was definitely encouraging and I hope to see more of that in the coming weeks.

On Nelson himself his leg is getting stronger and his posting more consistent at the trot. We're working in his larger turnout now instead of the roundpen so steering is now a factor and using the leg while posting is hit or miss at the moment. While he doesn't always get out between lessons doing two a week is helping to keep things moving forward.

On the McLintock front the little guy gets better each time I ride him. He's getting used to the bitless bridle and his bending both directions and starting to move off of the leg nicely. He's like Chewy and can be very soft and bendy when he wants to be. Yesterday I worked on backing, which he started pretty ugly on with flipping his nose around and trying to push into the pressure. After a few times he started giving nicely and softly rounding into the backwards steps. I have a couple students who are excited to try him out soon. I'll probably try to keep up with riding him once a week once I get him in the rotation as there are things he should be working on (like cantering) that most of my students aren't going to be able to school (might be able to get a canter, but they won't necessarily help him improve the depart).

Today Mac got "attacked" by my working students and he had braids all over in his mane and tail. He took the attention in stride.

I was also able to play with Tru-D today. Her shoulders are a little sticky when I ask them to come towards me. I broke it down a bit and worked on having her bend towards me and move her shoulders away, which she found to be hard at first. After loosening that up she was able to bring the shoulder better and I also got a couple steps of sidepass towards me.

I also played with asking her to lift individual feet from light taps from the whip and got her to take a couple very small steps deeper under herself with her hind feet. I'd like to work towards a "goat on the mountain" stance to encourage stretching over her topline. I'm toying with the idea of teaching her to lay down. She's coming up on 15.2 and I'm not fit enough yet to swing up from the ground, though at the moment bouncing up and down next to her and half-swinging up is adequate for training purposes. Earlier this week I had time to throw the saddle on her and bounced in the stirrups a bit, which she was completely chill about. She has come a long way from the wild creature she was when we got her. She isn't super brave by nature, but she has a whole lot of try and seeks out the answers.

Jumping around again Debbie and her new little Icelandic gelding are getting along well. This week we had Debbie get right on and worked a little on bending, turning, and yielding before asking Digur to step up his gait. She had a hard time getting him to move out in the roundpen, but we got him to step up nicely with some minor changes and got a couple of good spans of gaiting from him. Debbie has been taking him for walks around the neighborhood and feels pretty comfortable with him (much more comfortable than she ever did with Royal). There's things we could keep doing in the roundpen, but considering her goals we're going to head out around the neighborhood next week. I'm not sure who I'll bring out yet, but it'll be good to get someone out and about!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Work is back in full swing. I have private school classes starting again tomorrow. The classes are pretty small this semester, just five students total I think, but that's okay. I can use the slightly lighter semester to my advantage.

This week I rode three client horses. I was on Royal Tuesday. That horse has a pretty huge trot. It made me realize how not fit I am right now as sitting the trot wasn't really happening and I was in my client's saddle and didn't want to hike up the stirrups (my legs are so short, totally counterproductive riding conformation), but posting without stirrups didn't last very long.

I got him to canter too and did manage to get him into a more manegable semi-collected trot. I actually spent most of the time on the ground with him working on his right ear. Someone at some point must have really blown it with his right ear as he is very defensive about it. That was one of the things Debbie had issue with him on and I did at least one session working on it with her, but she usually had him tacked and ready to go so I didn't actually see the issue until the end of his time with her. Nelson wants to do right by Royal (he usually calls him just Roy) so he's willing to take the time to get him over the ear issue. He did have the vet look at it and she couldn't find anything physically off and suggested it was just a training issue that we'll just have to slowly work through. It is pretty ingrained and I'm not sure if he had anyone other than me try to work him through it.

Wednesday I was with Debbie and her new Icelandic boy Digur. He started out fairly chill in the roundpen, especially compared to last week. I had Debbie take over and he got a little high on himself so I stepped in again and worked him down. He is a sensitive little man so I told her she needs to read what he is doing and act accordingly even if she doesn't think she's asking him to do something. He blew past her once because she got a little stuck to one side of the roundpen rather than staying centered and he felt like he had to rush and squeeze between her and the fence.

After I worked him back down and was able to play with getting him to turn in a bit rather than slamming himself into the fence (halt, looks to me, as him to step off and he calmly follows his nose to the inside) I had Debbie take back over and they were able to work better together as she paid more attention to his feedback.

I then got on and felt him out. He seems like a pretty honest little guy. She wanted me to specifically play with his gait so I stepped him up a bit in short bursts. I think he has a mix of fitness and maturity (he's seven) working against him, but as he strengthens I think his gait will get better and better. I did change him to the snaffle setting on his bit instead of leverage, which seemed to make him happier. Debbie said she would play with some of the other bits she has and figure out what works best for him. I'm hoping he is as he seems and she has a nice little horse she can just get on and have fun with like she was able to with Eden before she colicked.

I also rode Mac yesterday and he is getting better with each ride. If I keep up my scheduled rides on him I think I'll be able to put students on him by the end of the month and he can start earning his keep. I do need to pull him out and lunge him. I've been riding him during lessons thusfar and I really need to see how he does on the line as that will also be a big part od his job.

Today I was on Nelson's mare Molly to feel her out. I was pregnant when I first started working with them so despite months of work with the two of them I hadn't swung a leg up on her yet. She was about as I expected, honest, but with some gaps in her education. When I asked her to canter she was a bit rushing and insisted on canterinf on her left lead despite our direction. Going right she propped herself up against the fence and to the left she fell in pretty badly. I suspect she was never specifically taught her leads and lacks the muscle memory and strength to take the right lead under saddle. Nelson isn't up to fixing it himself under saddle as he's still refining his balance at the trot, but I told him he could at least help her through lungeing and being sure she took the proper lead and building up her strength and coordination without a rider. Moving forward we'll be swapping back and forth horses. I'll ride one while he does the other and we'll slowly build all three of them up.

With all this ridng I can certainly tell my core strength isn't where I want it yet. Of course it's only been three weeks so I can't expect too much of my body just yet.

Suße Esel

Jul. 26th, 2016 07:27 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
This morning started out with Molly the grade Quarter Horse mare. She's doing quite well. Nelson was able to walk right up to her this morning to catch. She is starting to relax more as we free lunge in the roundpen and when I picked up her feet she barely shifted for the hinds (the first few sessions we were spinning circles a bit) and she stood "tied" to the fence beautifully. I told Nelson he should start cleaning out her feet a couple times a week, which she should be good for now.

After fussing with her feet I introduced moving her hip and shoulder. Her left hip moved well, but with her right she kept shoving her shoulder at me, which I addressed a minute focusing on moving the shoulder out of my space before working on the hip again. She then did better moving the hip and only needed a couple soft reminders not to lean over her inside shoulder.

She was a bit sticky on her shoulders when I started them and also wanted to move forward more than sideways, but we got some improvement and called that part good. We ended on showing various ways to back her up, with direct pressure, rope wiggle, marching, tapping, etc.

Hopefully it's a little cooler next week and I'll have Nelson start to work with her. Despite the initial evaluation I think he'll end up with a decent mare. I suspect some good foundation training in there, but she spent the last few years being untrained by her previous owner. We're just reminding her how to be a good horse. Nelson has been impressed with how her overall demeanor has changed. She's a lot calmer and more comfortable with herself, which is great. I noted that without clear leadership horses can be pretty stressed. Once they know you have taken the helm (and are trustworthy!) they can let you worry about where the predators are and what is actually worrisome and what can be ignored.

He's still looking into saddle solutions, which is okay. I'd rather he find something that both he and Molly will like than settle with "well enough" and make both of them uncomfortable. Plus the groundwork is good for her and it's something Nelson can do in just a few minutes without having to groom and fully tack up.

After Molly I was back on my side of the mountain with Debbie. I think she's finally settled on moving Royal on, though I have my doubts she'll get what she wants out of him. I think she was pretty well taken advantage of when she bought him, but felt too guilty to send him back. She also bought him without having me go out to look with her. Short version: she could have gotten more horse for the money (especially after sinking a few more thousand in two months training last year ... wish I had had space to take him on!). He's not a bad boy, but he is a lot like Kash, which can be obnoxious to deal with if your aids aren't clear. His trot is very thrusty, which is difficult to absorb, but he has a lovely canter.

Anyway! Debbie also has a mini Donkey named Pebbles. Pebbles is a companion for Debbie's horse and is pretty adorable, if a little on the hefty side. Since deciding firmly to move Royal on she figured her last lesson wiuld be best focused on Pebbles. She'd like the little jenny to have something like a job so today was a mix of an evaluation and giving Debbie things she can work on until she can do another set of lessons.

For reference Pebbles looks like the lighter, dark-nosed donkey on the left-hand side of this random donkey picture because I suck at taking pictures of client critters:



Debbie had tried to lunge her in the roundpen the other day and she said Pebbles just kindof ran around and she wasn't able to get much of anything out of Pebbles so we started there. I started out just asking her to walk and halt. I talked about how Donkeys differ from horses from where they developed, open plains for horses and airid, desert mountains for donkeys. Horses could get away with running blindly at the drop of a hat to get away from potential threats, but donkeys couldn't so that. Running off a cliff or breaking your neck tripping on a rock is not condusive to evolutionary success. So instead donkeys tend to pause and assess before deciding to run, fight, or continue to observe. Not that horses are dumb, but they don't always think and donkeys are very much a think before react creature (something mules get from their sites).

Pebbles was a little sticky walking to start, but seemed to get it oretty quick. She wasn't sure what I was asking with "whoa" at first, but figured it out pretty quick. We just did a couple turns, enough for her tonget the idea and a couple brief trots. She charged off briefly when she first sped up, but settled into a trot fairly quickly. I mentioned to Debbie trying to get Pebbles to lunge like a horse does probably won't work very well. She will most likely go around once or twice and then wonder what the point is. So the lungeing for Pebbles has the goal of establishing the voice cues (walk, whoa, trot, turn/reverse, etc.) more than just sending her round and round and round. For exercise it will be more productive to take her out for walks and long lining when she gets to that point.

We accomplished what I wanted lungeing so I moved on to checking lateral flexion and moving body parts. She was a little heavy on the line, but figured it out. A rope halter might help, she currently has a flat nylon one. Pebbles picked up really quick on moving her haunches over. She wanted to back up more with her shoulders and she had to think about it a bit more, hut putting myself a litte behind her shoulder seemed to help. I had to take a moment to get over how tiny she was. I think she's between my knees and waist (I'm 5'4" for reference) and I had to bend over to give her rubs and scratches.

Once she seemed to have the idea I briefly explained the ultimate goal was to have Pebbles move her four corners around no matter where I was standing. She should be able to move her shoulders and hips both away and (respectfully) towards me. If Debbie decides she wants to drive Pebbles it'll help immensely with the whip aids (which replace your legs) while in harness.

From there we moved on to the long lines, which were a bit ridiculous on her. I suggested if Debbie was going to buy one piece of equipment right now it would be a small surcingle so she could long line without the lines dragging. I started with a single line around Pebbles' haunches to see how she reacted to the pressure around her haunches and how well she followed the feel. She did well so I moved on to the turning exercise Nate Bowers has in his Parelli driving training DVD. It basically consists of using the inside/direct rein to move the shoulders and the outside/indirect rein to move the hips (which for the purpose of the exercise should lay across the hip and the handler should be standing to one side of the equine). She got a little stuck with the outside rein and after pushing her shoulder slightly used the butt pressure as a reason to go forward and try to release the pressure that way instead of following the feel on her face. We got it sorted and we had enough time left over for Debbie to try the long lining exercise. I told her we can build on it to teach Pebbles to sidrpass off of the reins and also put the steeri g on her when she is ground driving.

So Debbie has a list of things to play with and work on the next few weeks. I'm going to dig in my tack room and see if I can find my old set of long lines for Debbie to borrow and lend her the Nate Bowers DVD (debating if I should get Vol. 2 and 3 of the group).

And I have now worked my first donkey and she was adorable and fun. Debbie has no idea the type of training Pebbles may or may not have had other than she was halter broke and you can handle her feet. I'm not sure what she knows either because I have no baseline to judge how an unbroke donkey handles, but she certainly did not handle like an unbroke horse!

The back of my mind has this terrible idea playing around in it. Well, maybe not terrible, but perhaps finding a nice jack to breed Charm-N wouldn't be as crazy an idea as I first thought when Chatham mentioned it. Or maybe just finding a good draft mule some day.

I don't know, it's marinating in my brain. I don't really have room for another equine, though if Debbie needed to rehome Pebbles I'd be sorely tempted!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I think I'm done counting my steps. I've had my step counter on my phone going since March for my own amusement. I do have to say it habitually undercounts my steps, especially on Sundays when my phone spends much of the time sitting on the counter doing absolutely nothing while I'm doing laps around the church with little men (we tend to get there early so we walk around to help the boys settle). There's also the steps before I even grab my phone in the morning (it hangs out in the kitchen to charge. I do not and never will keep my phone on the nightstand. And the steps after I plug it in for the night. I guess if I was serious about counting steps I'd get a watch or something that I put on first thing and took off last.

What I am actually interested in is stats while I'm riding, but I've got other priorities before getting into tech for that.

Anyway, here's the stats:

I started in March and averaged 10,463 steps a day.

The highest week that month averaged 12,355 steps.

The most steps walked was on March 8th with 18,910 and that was the most ever. Of course that included a good, long ride on Bud in all three gaits.

April averaged 10,263
The highest week averaged 10,604
The highest day the 19th with 18,430

May averaged 7,347
The highest week averaged 8,261
The highest day was May 6th at 12,913

May was weird because we were in Utah for a week and my phone did a lot of sitting in the car or in the ranch house so I actually averaged a whole lot higher than that.

June averaged 7,324
The highest week averaged 8,068
The highest day was the 9th at 13,183

June is when I realized that the battery in my phone was starting to have problems so it spent some more time being plugged in instead of on my person. I got a new battery and while it usually lasts the day it doesn't last as long as the battery did when I first got the phone, which is annoying.

July thusfar averaged 7,029
The highest week was 9,073
The highest day was the 18th at 12,269.

The beginning of the month the old battery was really dying. I'd have to charge it by 11am most days, which sucked.

Summer is also low on the steps list because fewer lessons and I spent more of the lessons sitting because I have to be out in it for 3-5 hours a day whereas the student is there for about an hour. Getting heat stroke or exhaustion is high on my avoidance list.

I will note that days I mucked my step count was much higher than on days I didn't. I am also happy that one of my working students has returned! It was nice getting the stalls done Saturday and being able to get the arena done today, and because it was done twice in seven days (did the arena Thursday) there were no fly larva as I raked it up, YAY!

Tomorrow is Tristan's first day of school. I have Molly the mare and I'll also be meeting with Debbie and her mini donkey Pebbles tomorrow. We'll see what type of trouble/fun I can get into with a mini donk!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I've picked up another "Molly" except this one is a horse, not a mule. Nelson had contacted me some months ago about evaluating a horse for him, but that one apparently fell through for various reasons and when Molly came up he called me again for an assessment. He had been boarding her for free/feed leasing her for close to a year, but hasn't done much of anything with her himself other than basic care.

My first visit was to assess her attitude and see if we had any major holes.

To start with she was hard to catch, pushy to lead, and the thought of tying sent her flailing backwards. She also wasn't keen on the idea of having her feet handled. As a teenaged horse these are things that she should be an old pro at. Her previous owner sounded like an accident waiting to happen. They had a second horse she was best buds with and would follow placidly on the trail and didn't need to be tied when he was around because she wouldn't leave his side.

I sent her around the roundpen and I have a sneaking suspension someone did some Clinton Anderson training with her. She thought that trot and canter were the only option when sent off and she would actually disengage her hindquarters at a suggestion. I also played with some flexions towards the end and it was pretty easy and felt like she had done it before.

I did see some nice things. She never offered to kick or buck, she seemed pretty honest, even in her crowding behavior, which I suspect roots from people letting her so whatever the heck she wanted and working around her rather than insisting she stay where she is supposed to.

I told him he has some work to do, but if she had a decent start at some point it's just a matter of reminding and finding her old buttons.

Fast-forward about a month and he's working on getting a saddle that fits and has a bridle and bit that should work. She's figuring out that she can walk in the roundpen, though she still takes a minute to figure it out. Her turns are more consistent and she isn't cutting in on one side anymore.

The feet were a little bit of a challenge, the backs moreso than the front. He was able to get the farrier out two weeks ago and she did great for the fronts and did okay for the backs, but got wiggly as he tried to rasp behind. Her feet looked much better when I saw her last week regardless.

This week he had an old Circle Y to try on her, but it was a bit tight behind her shoulders (suspecting too steep and angle) and all the sweat was right around her shoulders with a small patch towards her loin. Not a good fit.

She was much quicker to walk this week and I even "tied" her to work on her feet. By tying I simply looped the lead rope twice over the bar. Just enough to give a feel, but loose enough she could pull out some slack if she felt threatened. Fronts were good, right hind was pretty good, hut she kept wanting to swing against the fence as I asked for the left. I worked on moving her hip back to the left and will work some on getting her to stay where put, but compared to the first day she is making nice progress and Nelson is noticing she's easier to handle in general and seems happier with life. All good things we want to hear. As it cools down (and we find a suitable saddle) we'll add in some ridden work as well, but for now it's learning to walk in the roundpen and stay in the direction asked and picking up her feet and having them handled. I'll also start working on moving her hips and shoulders around so she can increase her awareness and respect for people space.

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lantairvlea

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