Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Myriad of Updates

I had a list of many mini-posts to write. But then that was gonna lead scheduled posts so far into the future that I'd never get current things documented. So instead, you're gonna get a list of bullets with a myriad of updates and random things I want to have documented.
  • I had a GREAT first ride back (since I the day I was hucked off) on Griffin on Dec. 4. I put a big, heavy (30#) western saddle on him that I'd never had on him before. I figured this would slow his thought process for bucking since it is such a burden! I worked him at liberty in the round pen for 15 minutes. Five minutes were warm up, 10 minutes were further warm up with the side reins. He never once offered a buck with that saddle on. He was weirded out by it some, judging from his movement. He had to figure it out. But he adapted well. I took him to the indoor round pen for riding. He stood solid for mounting and dismounting. He was forward and happy. He responded well to all of my requests. Awkward body position through small circles and turns to reverse. The combo of big saddle + Liz confused him, I think. He was clumsy walking over ground poles, but he tried. He was a champion at backing up. And while he was a little tiny bit angsty about the trot, he quickly (very quickly) got over it and focused on his job. We mostly walked and worked on walking and halting transitions. I added the trot at the end a little in each direction. We ended on a beautiful note with a wonderful trot-halt-back sequence. I love him!
  • I ordered side reins a week ago. They've been a huge hit with both of my horses. Griffin learned them quickly, as he's been exposed to other gadgetry of late and solves the mystery quickly. His first session with them I really asked him to work. Not much above a trot, but kid was really breathin' hard (for him) at the end. Not very sweaty, but OH did he have to really use himself. He did better with the side reins than previous gadgetry, but I don't think he'd have had such a great first session without prior work on Fauxssoa and briefly with the chambon. --- Q's first session? Oh dear. THAT was entertaining. I let her warm up with them loose for awhile so she could become accustomed to the additional swinging things while she moved. Then I put them a setting tighter than where I hope to have her eventually. I did this because I had a very good feeling she would fight, brace, and generally dislike them at first. And then, when she figured out that bracing wouldn't work, the right solution seemed even more rewarding. I sent her around and around and watched her fight with them. Bracing against them with her head as high as she could get it and trying to get it higher. Then she realized they would stretch and release depending on her intensity with making her head high vs. HIGH. Then she found some release. Only for a second. Back to HIGH head and high head. And then back to the sweet spot. Again and again with quicker and quicker transitions between comfortable and not comfortable. Within 5 minutes she had it. I didn't ask for her to move fast or slow. I just wanted her to move forward. I wanted to see if she could figure them out. Proceeding sessions I've added further requests to drive her forward into the contact (is that the proper term?). She's getting better each session, but is still slightly resistant about it all. Still, this is a HUGE change for her and I'm really excited to continue the progression.
  • Q's calmness of late and behavior overall is so much better. I've really taken special note of my emotions/mood whenever I'm around her. I'm re-routing my behaviors to be better for her. You know how if a horse gets a little out of it while focusing on something not you and then they step on you or bump into you or do a myriad of things if under saddle? So then you pop them in the shoulder or neck with your hand to give a small smack that says, "SNAP OUT OF IT, DUDE!" and then they come back to the present (I'll do this to Kenai, too, when he's being a snot, just a small pop on his rear end or his side to say HELLO!)? Yeah. You can't do that with Q. You can, but if you do she gets more upset and nervous. I'm teaching myself to reroute my tendency to do that with Q and replace the gesture instead with, for lack of a better term, aggressive petting. Just dig my palm into her and pet her hard and, maybe in a mean tone at first, snap at her for being off in space and to please get with it. I may scratch at her neck harder, too. Don't they say the act of petting released endorphines? Either way, Q calms quickly and returns to the present if I rub her as described (I'm trying SO hard to not make this sound many jokes...). The re-teaching of myself is quite a process, but its really helping out this mare. (The things we do for our horses!) The aggressive petting (giggle) coupled with lots of peppermint treats the other night, was enough to keep Q calm in the smaller (than typical) area where our cross ties are while I trimmed her feet. She was so good and tried so hard. I was very, very proud of her. We're getting there!!!!
  • Hooves. I trimmed them. All 8. 40 - 50 degree weather makes for perfect trimming weather! My winter goals for both horses feet are as follows: Griffin - get his feet to a good, steady state. Working more will do this. Q - keep up small maintenance trims to allow her to really tell me how she wants her feet to be now. I have a feeling this little girl is gonna end up in size 2s in the front and 1s in the back. 14.1hh, but little girl has some big, solid feet!!

    Here are some photos of the bottom of their feet to accompany the videos from a week ago of all other parts of their hooves:

    Q's (excuse the dirt. I barely touched her feet for this trim)

  • Instagram. I've been pretty regular about updating and posting photos lately. I remember some of you sharing yours and your favorites to follow earlier this summer. My username is estout18 - follow me and please comment on here with YOUR usernames so I can follow you! I really would love to get more horse folks into my feed on there!

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