Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frosty Morning and Some More Ground-Driving

It was a beautiful fall morning - colder than it should be this time of year with a heavy frost. The air was crisp, and there wasn't much wind. The horses were all frisky at turn-out. Dawn actually flagged her tail as she galloped away from the gate, and the mares had several goes at running, bucking and sliding, with Dawn throwing in a big rear from time to time - I still haven't managed to catch a picture of that yet, but I will.

This afternoon, Dawn and I groomed with her tied to a post outside, near the grass paddocks. Then we went in the barn and got our fuzzy-nosed halter and our ground driving lines, put on her front boots and went to the arena. The footing was still sloppy, but for what we were doing it was fine. After some "crazy walking" for fun and to tune us up, I hooked up the ground driving lines and off we went - I had moved the cones to make a bigger pattern. She's beginning to get the hang of moving forward when I gently flap the lines on her sides - occasionally she wants to stall but she's getting it. Her turns are better and better. After we did some cone patterns and turns, we drove down to the end of the arena where there was a big puddle, and she drove through it - this took some tries, with my turning her one way and then the other to keep the feet moving and getting to one side for a bit so I could lunge/ground drive to encourage her. There was a moment of pawing as she entered the puddle, but she kept moving through as I asked her. We repeated it later - I was proud of her for rising to this new challenge.

Then we drove to the gate, I opened it and we were outside the arena ground-driving for the first time - there were lots of distractions - people in the vegetable garden working, my truck and trailer parked next to the barn, grass to walk across without eating, the "black snake" - the hose for the sump from the barn - and Miranda in her paddock nickering. Every time she started to get distracted, I asked her to move on and keep going and she did. We went around the barn twice - over the "snake", past Miranda, around the trailer and back. The greatest temptation was sniffing horse manure by the trailer, but a few pulls on the lines and flaps on her sides and on we went. I thought she was amazing and told her so!

Then Maisie and I went on a brief trail ride as the sunlight faded - the colors and light were beautiful and we saw some tiny diving ducks on the pond that must have been migrating through. Maisie's hind pasterns seem to be sinking more and more, although she's sound at the walk - whenever we trot both her hind legs swell up afterwards - I think her suspensories are getting weaker and I'm not sure there's much we can do about it. I expect she was over-worked and over-jumped as a youngster before I got her, and her confirmation isn't the best. But she likes to walk on the trail a lot, and I put boots on her hinds to provide some support and I expect we can keep doing that for years even if she can't do too much else.

It turned out to be a beautiful day - have a great day tomorrow and may it include horses!

7 comments:

  1. Yep, I do believe we were experiencing the same kind of weather today. There's something about light!

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  2. We must be having your previous weather, lots of rain and miserable conditions here.

    It sounds like Dawn is becoming a superstar with her driving. Glad you and Maisie got a ride in with some nice scenery and light.

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  3. The sun finally found us this weekend as well! It sounds like you made big strides today with Dawn, you two just keep moving forward in your relationship. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing with Maisie's hind legs. Horses are so big and beautiful and yet so fragile.

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  4. Good for Dawn. The ground driving seems to be working out well.

    Keep wondering if either prolotherapy or PRP might help with dropped suspensories.

    Here is one link on PRP:
    http://thehorsedoctor.blogspot.com/2008/09/suspensory-ligament-injury-treatment.html

    I get this treatment, along with prolotherapy on my knees. I keep thinking about horses when I do. *G*

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  5. Poor Maisie - hopefully you will be able to at least keep walking an trails

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  6. Don't you love it when a plan comes together? It's such a great feeling when it works. And you finally have some dry weather! Me too, except I tweaked my back and was unable to take advantage of it with the Boyz.

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  7. Ground driving oputside of the arena sounds like fun! All the sights and sounds! I have herard trainers say that ground driving is very good for desensitizing spooky horses. I always think it looks so good. I'll bet you looked great.

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