lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Digur has been doing pretty well with Debbie overall, but they have had a couple of sticking points. It can pretty much can be chalked up to him being a young horse lacking exposure. I only had one time where he was a little anxious when we took him to the horsepark, but he quickly worked through it. The problem is he's pretty chill, so getting an anxious spot so Debbie can then learn how to work through it can be difficult.

Last week we decided I would bring the big soccer ball to see if we could get a bit of a reaction and help him through it.

The ball certainly did the trick! His eyes doubled in size and he wanted to scootch a little when he first saw it. I worked him in-hand and explained that with scary things I like to put myself between the scary object and the horse to start if possible for several reasons, the top one being if he loses his mind over it I'm not in the way of his escape. Secondarily if I'm standing close to the object and not stressed (or being eaten) it can't be that terrifying.

He was a bit sticky yielding his haunches to the right (bending left) at the start, but got better. When he started to relax I put him between me and the ball and would release pressure any time he showed interest in investigating it. It didn't take too long before he was nosing it and I was ready to climb aboard and let him investigate further.

I worked him with the ball for a good 15 minutes before handing the reins over to Debbie. He wasn't quite 100% since Pebbles and BamBam (mini donkey and sheep respectively) would occasionally get overwhelmed and scamper off around the turnout.

All in all he did excellent and came around quickly, but it gave Debbie the chance to see how he can be worked through his anxiety. Next week we're going to try a tarp to challenge him mentally again.

Tuesday I worked Ellie again. This time there was no flailing canter and the trot wasn't too bad. Her dragon noises were there, but not constant. She was nicely crisp on the upward transitions, but quite sluggish in coming back down. Since she was a bit more reasonable we played with walk-trot transitions. Hopefully this leads to more steady progress and she will be lungeing nicely by the end of the month and I can consider climbing aboard again.

Grace and Dawn are moving along. Dawn acquired a sadddle. It's a newer, barely used Wintec. Yesterday we long lined Grace with it and I had Dawn play with it a bit as well (she got long lines too so she can do all the work inbetween session as she gets comfortable with it). Today we swapped out the gullet plates. It came with a medium, but Grace needs a wide. I only had a medium-wide on hand, but it was better than the medium. Hopefully the tack shop can get a wide in soon.

From here we'll alternate between "rides" and groundwork. Another week or two and we'll drop down to twice a week instead of three days as well, or at least that is the current plan.

This afternoon I had working students after the lesson was over so I pulled out Tru-D and grabbed Kitt's harness. I wanted to see how Tru-D was filling it out and help me decide on the width of the strapping for Tru-D's future harness. The verdict is that Tru-D is large enough that the 1" straps will look much more proportionate than the 3/4" (or less?) ones would. I think we'll go ahead and do the 2" traces as well.

I lunged Tru-D in it in all three gears. She wasn't so keen on the breeching in the canter. She tucked her tail and humped her butt, however she did figure out that if she didn't kick up the heelchains didn't slap down on her hip so much!

These work harnesses are great for desensitizing. After packing one of them a pleasure harness is nothing.

I had an extra set of hands available so there is video.



I think she was getting a little tired at the end as usually her transitions into trot are a little more crisp.

The harness is currently set a little too long for her so there is a bit more slack in the breeching than there would normally be, but despite that the rest fits pretty well. She does fill it out much better than the first time she wore it when the breeching ended up closer to her hocks and the hip strap almost to her tailhead! She technically could use Kitt's, but she should have a smaller collar and adjusting harnesses is a pain in the butt because it requires multiple strap adjustments unlike a saddle. Even considering a Western saddle with breastplate and back cinch you still have far fewer points of adjustment than a full harness! Now I need to measure her for the to-be-ordered harness.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday I harassed a Hanoverian again. I am sure Ellie is wondering why I keep showing up and ruining her day.

As determined after our Pirouette of Doom two weeks ago I am working her on the ground until I feel confident that she will be a sensible creature when I get back on her. This means that she needs to lunge like a sensible creature.

Yesterday she got the whole deal. Surcingle, lungeing cavesson, breastcollar (the driving one), and crupper with attached kicking straps/trace carrier. I put the crupper on after we got into the arena as I had no idea if she had one on before (Kristin confirmed she had not) and having her goose in the crossties or as I led her didn't seem like a good idea. That said she was great to put it on and only seemed bothered by the kicking straps slapping her sides briefly as she was being goofy.

I don't know how you all do it on a regular basis, but I managed a couple photos. Our first few rounds consisted of her making dragon noises as she tore around on the end of the line.



I kept changing directions until she started thinking about being a sensible creature. Her turns have gotten quite good and this time she was pretty even on both sides (last time she was sticky turning in right). When she settled a bit I asked for a brief trot and I had a fire-breathing dragon again, though she turned back into a horse much quicker this time.



I don't know what it is about Ellie. I really do want to like her and her owner loves her and thinks she's a great young horse. I find her to be okay, but feel like there's some gaps that need addressing. She is a little twitchy at times and doesn't feel as broke on the ground as I would like a horse to be before getting on board, which is why I'm back to lungeing her. She's certainly not where I'd want a five year-old to be with a year under saddle. I at least fixed her no brakes issue the second ride, which Kristin was grateful for and now I'm working on getting her to where I feel 100% comfortable swinging back on because I admit I wasn't fully comfortable the three rides I've put on her due to how she handled. Thankfully Kristin is cool with me taking Ellie back to ground school. She understands my reasons for going back to the ground and appreciates Ellie advancing her training in any manner.

She is kindof cute.



As mentioned before I got my new lines in and have been playing with them. I'm using the 5/16" navy line to work Ellie here. I'll do a more thorough review later, but my preliminary impression is I like the thinner lines for long lining and the thicker lines for lungeing. I am also enjoying the feel of the buckles instead of snaps. The snaps are quicker and more convenient, but the buckles fit through everything and don't add a big clunk of weight at the end like the snaps do. I'm glad I was able to sell my other two sets to mitigate the cost of the new ones and happy to have more tools to use.

Of course, working with other people's horses gives me gratitude for my own crew. Especially comparing Tru-D to other young horses.

Speaking of other young horses Keara was out and put a ride on Cinnamon. Despite an opinionated moment while lungeing they went on to have a good ride. The Stink was a little sticky going forward to start, but there was no attitude unlike the first few rides in November. I think once Keara puts another ride or two on her I can start pulling Cinnamon out to ride myself during lessons and perhaps this will be the year I finally get her past greenbroke (with Keara's help).
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Today was crazy-busy.

It started out going behind the mountain for Nelson. He wasn't feeling too hot so I just rode Roy and Molly got a break. I'm able to sit more of Roy's trot, which I'm not sure how much of it is him getting better or me getting stronger! His canter is coming easier and is more balanced too. He'd be fun to take out on a big track and let out. He's got a lovely forward, thrusty canter.

From there I headed to Dawn's for Grace. She is doing quite well with her lungeing and basic groundwork so I will be bringing the surcingle tomorrow to introduce before getting to long lining.

After Grace I zipped home, swapped the Jeep for the truck and trailer, loaded Bud and his cart and headed to Michelle's new place for a driving lesson. Considering Bud has never hauled and driven (at least not in the last five years) he did awesome. Most of what needs to be worked on is me being pickier. Making sure he's bending through his body and not just his neck so he stays centered in the shafts rather than shoving his butt into the outside shaft. Also watching his left shoulder that likes to pop out. We also need to get him using his hip more through the transitions so he isn't popping his head up, but overall he did awesome and I've gotten him into a really nice place.

I took Bud home, pumped 10 oz. and then headed back up the mountain to work Ellie. Kristin said Ellie had been a bit off behind (not quite lame, but moving funny) and she's thinking maybe that caused our exciting spin last week. Ellie was a bit of a firebreathing dragon as I was lungeing her, though I managed to bring her down to earth.

From there I ran home again, took a breath, ate, and then headed to evaluate a Gypsy cob for possible full driving training. I'll write more about that later, but at least wanted to jot down part of my day. Tomorrow I have a little more breathing room, but Thursday is also packed. I have something like 23 lessons scheduled and then the training with Bud today plus training eith Carrie Thursday.

GOGOGO!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Saturday I was able to pull Tru-D out. I warmed her up on the long lines before hooking her to the tire. We made several passes in the walk before asking for a couple brief trots. I know she's ready for it, but there's still some fireworks going off in my brain prepared for her to freak out. Granted I do have the emergency panic snap set up for easy release of the tire if needs be. With Zetahra I was able to work the tire in all three gaits (granted the canter was very brief) and I hope to get Tru-D to the same place. I will eventually switch out to the singletree as well, but despite her being 100% good with it to this point I also don't want to screw it up and using the panic snap set-up a bit longer isn't going to hurt anything.

I do wish the feather lines were a good eight feet longer. Used as the cross-under I lose a good 18" at least so the 22' lines become 20' lines minus her body length I'm only a dozen feet away from her at the end of my outside line.

I ordered a rope sample from CBknot Company and I think I might try ordering and making my own lines. The rope I am looking at is less t cents a foot. I could get 100' of rope for $27 and be able to make three lines in different colors. I stumbled across someone mentioning having two different colored lines to make it easy to know which is your left or right line and I was thinking "that's brilliant!" I need to look up videos on splicing rope and decide if I want to save the money and spend the time or contact the Knotty Girlz and seeil what they would charge to make them. Things to chew on.

Today I rode Ellie the Hanoverian again. I brought the long lines and surcingle because I wasn't sure if I would ride. After chatting with Kristin and discovering that Ellie DID have a good stop when she got back from her initial 90 days I decided to ride first and see if I couldn't find a good stop again.

I made it really simple. I "stop" my body first, close my hands, then hold until she softened. I did use leg if she stopped, but was hanging, which resulted in some backing steps and also her ultimately softeneing. After a half dozen times I felt like I actually had brakes unlike last weeks ride! By the end I was able to stop my seat and she would halt. Not perfectly square, but she was stepping into it lightly without leaning on my hands.

From there we were able to work some trot. She volunteered the canter a couple times, but I want to feel like she's not rolling off her forehand in the trot before we go faster. She worked better if I constantly played back and forth between moving her hips and shoulders. Leaving her alone resulted in getting quick because she was falling on her forehand and the occasional locked shoulder. We had some successful changes of bend through the trot and a couple of brief spooks. One was at the sheep Kristin has (which have lived with Ellie her whole life...) and the other was at a pile of manure that had the nerve of being in the middle of the arena while I was trying to get her focus on a change of bend. We all survived and it lasted a grand two seconds. To her credit it was quite windy!

Kristin plans on riding her tomorrow and will be hauling her to Carrie's for a lesson Thursday. After that I have two more rides, but I will probably schedule Kristin to come out and work on another two of mine. This could turn out to be quite the productive relationship for the two of us! My horses get body work and her filly gets rides.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I managed some time to long line Tru-D again. I had the poles set up from my previous lesson and we worked over them at the walk before doing some trot and canter work around them.

She wanted to side-step it to start, but gentle touches of the whip on her hip kept her on track. I would still like to see her step over or deeper rather than quicker, but she's getting better and will improve with time.

We were able to have smoother changes of direction in the trot this time and managed a brief canter around in both directions.

Once she was consistent over the poles and ahe felt pretty good we did a loop around the house. She was unsure about leaving the arena from the East gate (a new thing) and she's always been a little suspicious of the horse trailer. She tried to side-step and thought that returning to the arena might be a good choice, but I gently tipped her nose with the lines and softly tapped her with the whip and praised with each brave step she took forward. She ultimately marched past and we had a nice walk around the house before braving the space next to the horse trailer again and returning to the arena. We worked her halt briefly (and standing still!) before calling it a night.

She gets a little braver each time I think. I'd like to take her across the way to work, but that requires having a little more time.

Tuesday I put the first ride on Ellie, the Hanoverian filly I did some groundwork with last fall.

She was a little touchy with the whip in-hand and I reminded her about standing still to be mounted before we had a brief ride at the walk and trot. She tended to rush and get on the forehand while trotting and then she got opinionated about it and would do a bit of a head shake. The brakes also weren't quite where I would like them and I asked Kristin about her thoughts and she said Ellie does tend to run off in the trot a bit and Carrie's solution has been to just do smaller circles until the mare wound down. I asked if she minded if I long lined her next time to see if I can work on it there. I'm debating if I actually will or not. It depends on how she reacts to the lines moving around her I think. If she had a fit we'll probably just work on her accoetance of that, if she's good we'll go from there. I have three more session with her as Kristin and I are doing a trade. She did some body work on Kitt and Chewy and I'm working Ellie. I'd like to schedule her out for Kash and Mac as well (and possibly rotate through the herd) so I'll be seeing a bit of Ellie in the next few weeks I think.

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