Friday, March 27, 2009
This snow stuff is for the birds. How could you send me to Colorado? I thought you loved me.
Well the snow came and now we have to wait for it to melt. Snow depth at our house ranges from 0-15" thanks to the wind so it's hard to say how much we got.
Enjoy the video of Red's first snow. Once it's was on the ground he doesn't care about it, but when it's falling he's not a fan.
Additional pictures from the snow can be seen here!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This video highlights Red's first 24 hours at his new home (sorry, sound gone already):
This video is showing 2 of Red's races in the past:
We are forecast to get some snow on Thursday. We need the water badly, so let's hope we get a few inches. It will put a damper on the work for a day or two, but Red will enjoy it :)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So I tried something new with him and put his bridle and saddle on yesterday for lunging! He had no problems with the bridle, that was our first go at that, he took the bit right away and kept his head down low. He is well behaved and has pretty good manners! So I put his halter over the bridle and we lunged a while. He has the walk in both directions down. He is always a little closer to me when I am between him and the shed (aka ‘the food’) and he pulls a little when he's between me and the shed, so I'm working on keeping a nice even circle. I don't let him pull on the shed side, I keep him paying attention to me and I keep his head from moving out, and he has the whip pointed at his shoulder on the close side. By the end of the day it got a lot better.
We spent a lot of time working on the trot too yesterday in the counter clockwise direction. When he got to where the shed is in the circle, he stopped and faced me. So I just kept asking him to move forward and pick up the trot again, over and over, and eventually he started not stopping! It took a lot of work to keep him going, but I got about 5 good trot circles out of him at the end where I really had to push him through the one spot, but he did it and he did it well!
We then worked on the clockwise direction and that went well too. His balance isn't quite there but he's figuring it out. Again I had to really push him by the shed, but he went after a while and I got a few circles in a row that way too! And he did it all with the saddle and bridle and he didn't care about them at all, which makes me feel great about riding him soon.
I wanted to ride him for the first time last weekend, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Getting on my OTTB that just turned 6 for the first time in 30 mph winds doesn’t sound like the smartest of ideas!
We worked again this evening and he was full of himself! He was even cantering on the lunge line. I don’t want him to get wild, I want him to learn to listen and be calm on the lunge. He tripped once and it was the funniest thing, he got embarrassed and he bucked and kicked out! My silly proud horse…
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I'm continuing to lunge Red on a daily basis every day after work. The first time I lunged him I think it was beginners luck because we haven't been able to trot like that since, but he does go both directions now with no problem where the first time, I couldn't get him to take one step in a clockwise direction.
Almost all of the work is being done at the walk until he understands that he has to stay out on the circle until I say he's done. He can change directions when I say it is time to. When we stop, he has to stay out on the circle until I come to him. He is doing really well and every day he goes twice as far before stopping as he did the day before. He isn't quite ready to trot or canter yet, though yesterday I asked for the trot and he did a complete circle and I was very happy with that.
Yesterday I also lunged him with the saddle on for the first time! I put it on once before and walked him around and he didn't care. My goal is to get on him for the first time tomorrow, Sunday, and just walk around. I think he's ready for that and I'm hoping he won't care!
My friend Kristina came over and saw him this week. Just like everyone that meets Red, she adored him. She said he was the most affectionate horse she's ever met. I have to agree. She is letting me borrow a bunch of tack until I get everything I need for Red which is greatly appreciated. She could see what a gentle loving curious horse he is. We both think I've got a good eventer on my hands!
Monday, March 16, 2009
So when we got back home after walking a little over a half mile, I decided to lunge him again. I decided to do it away from the fence, in the exact middle of the pasture, because I wanted him to learn by listening to me rather than other influences (a fence line, etc). The walk is great, he has no problem with that. He will walk around and around forever if I let him. It takes a little more to ask for the trot. Yesterday (and the time before when I used the fence as a guide) I was joking saying I got just as much exercise has him trying to stay behind him and keep him going forward. I stay behind his shoulder and drag the whip behind him until he starts to break then I give the whip a little crack, and he goes again. We haven't really cantered on the lunge yet. When I first start sometimes he will canter a few strides, but he comes right back down. He doesn't do anything crazy either, no bucking, no acting up.
The first day we tried to lunge he did stop a lot and face me, so I would move further behind him and he would go forward right away. Then came praise praise praise. He'd do another lap or two and stop and look at me. Again, get behind him, he goes forward, praise praise praise! So yesterday, away from the fence, I got him to do about 5-6 laps before he'd stop and look at me. Again, position myself behind him, he'd go forward, praise praise praise.
I feel part of the reason he was stopping and looking at me was because he doesn't know his "circle", he doesn't understand keeping light contact, so he'd get too far away and the lunge line would pull on his halter and he'd take that as "stop" or "face me". Yesterday he did a much better job of keeping light contact the entire time so he didn't stop as much.
This is all being done counter-clockwise. Clockwise is another story. He doesn't even know his body can go that way. I try to get him to do it at a walk and it takes him forever to get away from my body, to actually be a few feet away from me. Then he pulls a figure-8 and goes the other way hahahaha. You can see his has no balance, no feel for his body in the other direction. No confidence. He doesn't know how to bend that way.
I think he's understanding the lunge line better now, and hopefully tonight I will be able to feel like yes, he really gets it (counter-clockwise that is). Once I feel like he has a good understanding of the concept, then we will apply that clockwise. One step at a time. He really pays attention to what you tell him, he listens and tries to please.
Wish me luck!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I also bought a detangler (show sheen) spray because his tail is a tangled mess. After his bath I let him loose to roll and he did. Then I brought him back to work on that tail of his. He stood during that just fine, no problems, and his tail is beautiful and tangle free (until he find the tumbleweeds again).
It's a lazy sleepy Saturday. Pics are of Red taking a nap today on the west side of his pasture. Kristina is going to let me borrow her Wintec saddle and a spare bridle so I may even get around to tacking him up and taking him for a walk while the weather is nice. We'll see!
Friday, March 13, 2009
So we walked over to the corner of the pasture so half of the circle would have fence to guide him around and keep him from running out. We started clockwise and he was clueless. So I decided to see how he did counter-clockwise and sure enough, he kinda knew what was going on! He would canter a loop or two really fast, then stop and look at me. I got him to finally relax and he got a nice trot for a circle or two at a time. Eventually when he got to the side with no fence, he would try to run out, which would pull on his halter, he'd stop, spin around, and look at me. It took a lot of work to keep him moving forward, I really had to stay behind him and ask and ask him to keep moving forward. About half the time he stopped and looked at me.
I realized he'll need some cavaletti's on the ground or something to keep him in on the side with no fence, so I decided to call it a day. He was very good for his first go at it in who knows how long, if ever! When I would ask him to stop and come into the center, all he wanted was love. I could see he was really trying hard to understand what I was asking him to do and he never got frustrated. I think he's a smart boy. When we were done, he also just stood with me for several minutes with no problem which he hasn't shown me he can do yet. So work is very good for him. I think he needs a job, something to do, and I think he is able to relax better after doing something.
Until next time!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
After the sun came out, it warmed up, and the snow melted. After work, I decided to go spend some time with Red and see what else he knew and what else he would let me do. I didn't think I had a place to tie him to and I remembered the fence post that holds our gate has a 4x4 wood post in it! So he was tied there and he didn't care or move. I brushed him and he really relaxed. He dropped his head, his eyes got heavy, and his breathing slowed. I brushed his mane and tail with no problem. I asked for all 4 feet and he picked them right up. I cleaned them and held them up for a while with no problem. After that, we went for a walk and did 2 laps around the paddock. He really seemed happy and relaxed!