Friday, August 23, 2013

Hill Sprints

Q's started doing this thing when I go to the barn and want to ride
I enter field with halter.
Q sees me enter field.
Q notes halter.
Q turns tail and GALLOPS away from me
One time; okay, whatever, she's testing me.
Two times; okay, I hope she's gonna not make this a habit.
Three, four, five times; that's it. This is STUPID.
The third, fourth, and fifth times she did this I anticipated it and as soon as I entered the field and saw her start to move away from me I would SPRINT in the direction she went. Usually we'd reach the corner and she'd stop and I could halter her.
She's never been a horse who will COME to me in the field like Griffin. But she's NEVER been one who would run away from me. I've tried to get her to come various ways, but gave up and conceded with the whole thing as it was.
The fifth time however... The fifth time she ran to the corner, and then when I reached her there she sprinted off again! That was IT.
If she want to run, goddammit, she would run.
I got the 4-wheeler and chased her ass around the field awhile. Pursue, pursue, pursue. 
Within a few minutes she was halted, blowing, and looking at me questionably.
I dismounted the 4-wheeler and walked toward her. She let me put the halter on. I led her into the barnyard via 4-wheeler and we proceeded with our evening.
Hill sprints.
I mean, this was my plan prior to her being a snot, but really, if she wanted to run, we were gonna run.
The hill I use for this is about a football field in length on the long incline side. The shorter side is much steeper and about half the distance.
I decided we would do 10 hill sprints. 1-4 on the longer incline side; 5 on the steep; 6-8 on the long; and 9-10 on the steep. We would walk down between all, doing downward serpentines to extend the distance as she would need further to come down to a better pulse/respiration rate. If she were to try and trot downhill she'd have to stop and back several steps before proceeding.
Damn. Little horse killed it.
10 was the perfect number. The combination of long incline and steep-steep incline was perfect. She was tired, but not utterly exhausted on the very last one. She was blowin' like a bellows at the end of each sprint, and calmer in her respirations by the start of the next one.
Her walk to the barn afterward was forward and springy.
When I took her pulse at the barn she was in the 90s. I sponged and scraped and sponged and scraped. 90s. Sponged and scraped. 80s. Sponged and scraped 75.
She then stayed at 75 and wouldn't drop more. Her respriations were very calm and normal though. I concluded she is 1.) out of shape and 2.) distressed about her friends being out of sight during all of this process (she had called to them once and was standing looking into the distance very alert for any sign of them; one gelding was constantly calling from the far, out-of-sight end of the field). 
These facts noted, I decided it was similar to how a watch-pot won't boil. Me being super anxious about wanting her to drop just wasn't going to happen because she was out of shape and stressed her friends weren't near. Her breathing was at a very normal rate, and that's about all I could hope for. I know with my own physiology that I will sometimes have an elevated heart rate when I'm worried.
So I gave her her grain, left her be while she ate it, and turned her out.
I'm happy she performed so well, calmed down to a reasonable place all things considered afterward, and had a good appetite. I think this exercise will be great training as we work toward Fort Valley I & II at the end of October.

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