Friday, April 24, 2009

Red's Second Ride

Red just keeps improving day after day and my confidence in him grows every time I work with him.

The day before yesterday I thought I may ride if he was being really good. I had him tied up and was grooming him and he was feeling a little fresh. So I turned him loose in the pasture and chased him around with the whip for a while. After he was nice and sweaty, I brought him back in and he was an angel. We lunged for a while and he was darn near perfect. He walked and trotted both directions really really well. I decided I would work him again the next day and then give a try at riding.

So yesterday I tacked him up and lunged him. He wanted to canter on the lunge so I let him. He was ready! He did several nice circles and was very calm, no bucking or kicking or being sassy. He was well behaved. Both directions he did beautifully and he was very calm. He doesn't stop much anymore, if at all. Going in a clockwise direction he will still try once or twice, but I can usually keep him going.

Ryan got home so I had him hold Red while I hopped on. We sat there again and he didn't care. Ryan walked us around, and he didn't care. So that may be the last time we do that. We are 2 for 2 and he really doesn't care in the least. Even Ryan commented on how calm he was.

Ryan took the halter off and I had him stand in the center of the pasture. We walked circles around him to mimic the lunge and again, he was great. We walked both directions without a problem so I decided to be brave and ask for a trot. He didn't object at all and was very well behaved. He didn't try a thing. He required a lot of leg as you will see in the video below, but other than that it went even better than I could have ever expected.

I can't wait until our next ride! We have a busy weekend coming up and the weather isn't going to cooperate, so it may be a few days before we try again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Red's Improvement

I was out of town for a little over a week so I'm happy to be home again! I missed Red a lot so when I got home, I spent a good 2 hours outside with him just giving him love, playing with him, grooming him, and cleaning out the shed.

I took some new pictures of him and put them with old pictures so you can see how much he's improved in the 6 weeks we've had him. I think he's doing great.

The forecast for the rest of the week is warm weather with temps getting up to 85 this weekend, so I hope to work with Red a lot when he's hot and not full of energy.

Until next time...

Red on 3/8/09 compared to 4/20/09:

Red's neck on 4/20/09 compared to 3/8/09:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our First Ride!

We did it! Today was the first day I rode Red! It was a great day to try because he lunged so well, he was so calm and relaxed, it was 72 degrees, and I worked him yesterday.

I tacked him up and as usual, he just stood there like a good boy. I lunged him and he was an angel. We worked counter-clockwise at first and he walked and trotted perfect, lap after lap. He got lots of praise for being such a good boy.

We went clockwise and he did great that direction too. The trot took a few repetitions but he got it at the end. He will trot 3/4 of a circle and stop in the same place. I easily ask him forward and he goes and when he gets to that same place, he stops. If I crack the whip, he changes directions. So I have to keep asking gently and eventually he moves forward again. After doing that over and over, he started not stopping and I was able to get about 4 non-stop calm circles. He was an awesome boy today.

So I had made up my mind today that if he was a good boy, I was going to ride him today, so I had to keep that promise. Today was also Red's one month anniversary at our house, so that was special to me too.

Ryan came out with me and we still had his halter over his bridle. We walked him up to my mounting block (the hay trof turned upside down) and he just stood there. I got on and just sat there while Ryan held him. When he took a big breath and I saw he didn't care and relaxed, I had Ryan walk us around. Again, he was relaxed and didn't care. We walked over to the other end of the pasture and Ryan took his halter off and we stood there for a little.

I then asked him to go forward and he didn't really want to leave the people (Ryan and the neighbor) and he wanted to go back to the food. So I kept gently asking and he would swish his tail a little but then he would take a few steps forward, and he got lots and lots of praise. We would walk away from the people and then would turn back to them and he'd get love. Then we would walk a little further away and again, come back to the people for love. Eventually we made it all the way to the other side of the pasture (and he did it without stopping at all!) and we came back to the people for lots of love.

We walked back to the food to call it a day. I wanted Ryan to get a picture of us so we stood there while he got the camera. Red stood for a little and then he said he was done and started to prance a little, but nothing bad at all. Ryan got a picture and I hopped off. Ryan may have given him 2 carrots, 6 treats, and 2 cups of senior feed after it was over, but I won't confirm nor deny that :)

I don't know when we'll try again since tomorrow's forecast is calling for a chance of rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon. I will be out of town for work all next week, so Red will have some time off. I hope to get one more good ride in before I go, but I'm not going to push anything. If it happens, it happens!

What a great day! I am so excited!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Snow, Sun, Snow, Sun...

It would be nice to work with Red on a regular basis but we have spent the past 2 weeks alternating between snow and sun. The second the snow melts, we get more, so it hasn't been ideal conditions to work. Today was a good day to get some work in and tomorrow is looking good too.

I have included side reins in our lunging. The first time I tried them, the were as loose as they would go which was not long enough. Red was very patient with them and all of a sudden froze on the lunge. I knew when he finally moved again it was going to be one hell of a show, and man was it ever. So after he calmed down we walked around until he relaxed and back to work we went.

Today I lunged with the side reins again but this time I took 2 dog collars and made them longer. This time things went much better. Red is pretty relaxed but is strong willed. If he doesn't want to trot, well then he isn't going to trot. Crack the whip all you want, he'll just stop and look at it. You can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do... or so he thinks. Someday we are going to have a small "battle of wills" because he thinks he is alpha in this relationship. I'm walking a thin line with him because I want to bond and be kind to him, yet he can't take advantage of me or do what he wants. He has to listen to me. So we're getting there. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Red is still very sweet, as long as its above 40 degrees outside. He does not like the snow or the cold. He has his pissy TB days and he has his days where all he wants to do is snuggle and play with every piece of clothing on you.

Tomorrow is one month that he has been at our house! I'm thinking I need to ride very very soon... O:-)