Sunday, December 6, 2009

Noble Improves and Dawn Does the Keyhole

Noble has been showing some signs that he is feeling a bit better - I was able to pick up his left front to pick it both in the morning and afternoon on Friday, but then not on Saturday without having him in motion. Again this morning and afternoon he picked it up for me, although it wasn't easy. If it is his feet being sore, it may be that the chromium/magensium/selenium supplement he's been on for about 3 weeks is starting to have an effect on the metabolic issues that may be causing the sore feet. We're still waiting for the results of his blood work, but I hope we'll get those early next week, and then perhaps we'll know more. At least things seem to be moving in the right direction!

It's a pretty nice day for winter - sunny, not too much wind the highs in the 30s this afternoon. As I was going to get Dawn, little Blackjack was waiting at his gate to come in - he's gained a little bit of weight and is looking pretty good for an old guy:

As I walked by the geldings' dry lot, Scout had to come to the fence to see what I was doing:

Dawn was waiting for me at the gate to the mares' dry lot:

Dawn and I did a little work in hand in the arena, after our usual grooming session ground-tied outside the barn door. We stopped and stood at several points for a few moments - she was relaxed and happy. First we warmed up doing some leading exercises using the cones, and in particular tight turns to the left, where she had to move her front feet towards me while moving her backs away - almost a slow motion spin - and tight turns to the right where she had to fade her shoulders away from me as I stepped towards her. While we were doing this, we made a stop by a barrel, threw it down, and did a little clicker work on our barrel rolling. In this session we progressed from her touching the barrel with her nose to her nudging it gently - it even moved a little bit on her last try. We stopped there on that one.

Then we went to the keyhole exercise I had set up:

We worked on slow, calm leading into the entrance, around the turn inside the keyhole and back out - Dawn finds going to the left a bit easier than the right but did very well, including stopping and standing calmly at various points. Then we did some turning within the square part of the keyhole, doing the same tight turns to the right and left that we did before. She did very well again, although the right turns were harder. We also stopped and stood at points in our turn and she didn't fidget or rush. At one point she stepped on a pole with a hind foot, which would have been enough to get her worried in the old days, but she calmly lifted her foot off the pole and kept working. I was really pleased with her again - she seems to be enjoying her work!

11 comments:

  1. She certainly has gained confidence. You make me think anything is possible. Had a good day with Cibolo today, we did crazy walking and even ran together and slid to a stop. I'm going to work on the barrel work next.

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  2. I thought about you today and your blog post when you posted about having great days with both of your horses. I rode all three of mine today (Lexi came home last week due to a change in her lessee's financial situation, she could no longer afford the board bill) and they were all stars. I am having to get up sooooo early to have any hope of working with all three of them, but it certainly felt worth it today!

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  3. All the horses look good. Glad Noble is starting to feel a little better. I like the keyhole exercise, it looks interesting. she seems to be coming along really well.

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  4. Do you have a picture of your full obstacle course? It looks very interesting and I think it would be great for my husband to work on with Rosie. Confidence for both of them. Bonnie can use a refresher of ground work too.

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  5. It looks cold there!

    I'm glad Noble is feeling better.

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  6. Agree, looks very chilly with you.

    I am learning a lot reading about your groundwork with Dawn, lots for me to try when I get home :)

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  7. JeniQ - there's a picture of the maze exercise a couple of posts ago. Then there are two parallel poles to practice backing straight through (not all at once to begin), set a ways apart to begin, and then closer as you progress. That's it for this set up - since all I have right now is PVC poles and they roll, I can't do set-ups where the poles really need to stay put if touched.

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  9. More nice work with Dawn. She is really coming along nicely.

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  10. Glad Noble is doing better. That is great about how well Dawn is doing. I can't remember - why does Blackjack wear a flymask now?

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  11. juliette - Blackjack wears a fly mask every day in turnout because he doesn't see well due to cataracts and tends to run his eyes into things like grass and hay stalks, leading to scratched corneas. He also has had several bouts of uveitis, and the mask keeps dust and dirt out of his eyes and reduces the direct sunlight which can aggravate his eyes.

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