Monday, November 23, 2009

Cold and Gloomy, But We Worked

I was determined to work with both horses again today, since we've got a forecast for rain, and even some snow, starting tomorrow and running through the weekend. Since we have no indoor, that's going to limit my horse work - but at least I'll have plenty of time for cooking and cleaning around the house!

The weather was not entertaining - raw and chilly - mid-40s - with a wind from the East and gloomy, dark skies. Maisie and I did a reprise of our work yesterday - we took a nice short walking trail ride as a warm-up, and then did some more trot work in the ring. If anything, she was better than yesterday - incredibly forward and round and instantly responsive to the slightest aid. We did more lateral work and lengthening and shortening of stride at the trot. It's lovely to get two consistent days of good work in a row.

Dawn was consistent, too - consistently distracted! As I was going out to get her from the dry lot, I could hear her squealing at the geldings in the next dry lot - there's electric between but they can just touch noses at the bottom if they try. I believe she's coming into heat, since she's more interested in the boys and doing her stamp/squeal/talk swish or kick out displays. She's not fully in heat yet, but that'll certainly be along shortly. We groomed ground-tied, and she was well-behaved although clearly distracted. I've already spoken to our chiropractor about scheduling a visit due to the odd head-shaking behavior I mentioned in the last post, and as I was grooming I checked out her back for other signs of soreness. There's an area on the left side of her spine just behind the withers that was clearly quite sore - I barely had to touch it for her to tell me it hurt. I think my saddle fits her OK, but I'll have our chiropractor check it when she comes. I'm also going to have the chiropractor look at Noble - he's having increasing difficulty picking up his left front foot for me to pick it and there may be something going on in his shoulder or back.

After grooming, I took her to the arena in her fuzzy halter and lead, and also took along her long lines and bridle in case we got to ground-driving and/or some bridled work in hand. I abandoned all plans to ride due to her back soreness. We started with our crazy walk exercise - it took a few minutes for her to start paying attention, but then we had a pretty good session of that. Then she became very distracted - there were some children playing loudly - lots of strange noises - across the pond behind the barn. She was fixated on this and it was all I could do to get her to pay attention to me. So we did another attention exercise - clicker with a cone. She even had trouble paying attention well enough to do this, but we finally got some good work done, however limited it was. Some days will be like that!

12 comments:

  1. Good for you for getting out and working your horses despite the gloomy weather. I think I'm a fair weather horsewoman and can easily use the weather as an excuse to stay inside (even if it means cooking & cleaning). But I'm determined to get out this winter with the horses as much as possible. I just wish I had more daylight.

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  2. Seems as if Maisie has mastered her lessons. What a good girl! She is rewarding her good teacher. *S*

    Again, getting even a little work out of Dawn when she is in one of those moods will pay off in the long run. Baby steps, perhaps, but always forward. Good going.

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  3. Totally agree with Jean, you probably accomplished far more than you realize with Dawn today.

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  4. Way to go , I am getting to be a bit lazy when it is cold . I am jealous that you have an indoor to work in as well

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  5. Good for you for getting out there in the cold. I like the photo of Maisie in the post before this one. She really looks a treat and it sounds like you have some fantastic work going on.

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  6. I totally sympathize with the distracted moments. In fact, I was just thinking about this yesterday. I was getting frustrated with some of the behaviors of my horse in the past couple of weeks and then had a day of beautiful behavior yesterday. Why? Because he's finally settled in to his new barn and is calming down. It took three weeks. But we don't have three weeks at horse shows! So how do you teach them to 'self-regulate' in times of high stress? I know exposure is important, but there has to be more to it than that.

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  7. Albigears - I'm hoping that all the attention, self-calming and softness work I'm doing with my horses will eventually result in a horse that is soft on the inside and able to respond to my asks consistently even in a distracting or potentially scary environment.

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  8. Good onya for being so motivated! Our weather was the same today and I flaked. Great to hear about another positive day with both girls, hope Dawn's less distracted for her next session ;)

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  9. I'm glad to hear that even you can't get much done some days! You're so in tune with your horses, but they're still horses and have their own agendas sometimes.

    Have a happy Turkey Day, and I hope your weather clears up soon!

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  10. My Lilly is in heat all the time these days! All the sqealing and the distracted behavior! it sure makes training hard. My horse guy Bill says: That's why somepeople don't want mares!
    I can understand that, but I wouldn't trade my provocative lady for anyone!!!!

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  11. baystatebrumby - I love mares (as if that weren't obvious!)!

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