Friday, March 19, 2010

Fred and I Do the Chicken Wing, and a Nice Ride

Chicken wing? That sounds like a dance, and perhaps it is. It's a special dance Fred and I do sometimes. He's been very full of himself lately - he's finally at a good weight and is feeling pretty good for a guy in his 20s who's had Lyme disease and has some soundness and muscle weakness problems. When he's really up, he sometimes will leap forwards or even rear on the lead line. To help him keep himself under control, we do the chicken wing. This involves my leading him on my right (so I'm using my dominant arm), with Fritz on the left. I work to keep his head low - he gives to a head-down cue pretty well. When he wants to leap forwards or seems like he's thinking of going up, I keep the lead fairly short with my hand at my stomach and tip his head towards me, while holding my lower arm horizontal so that my elbow is just brushing his shoulder. Hence the chicken wing analogy. It's harder for him to go up if his head is bent to the side, he can't brace against the lead and my pointy elbow helps keep him off of me - he tends to be a barger. Also, since his head is turned towards me, his shoulder is popped out to the other side, which means that if he should leap forward or go up, he'll likely not go directly into me. It works for us - most of the time!

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We've got a weather front moving through tonight, with a big drop in temperatures - mid 50sF to low 30sF, with rain and wet snow coming for tomorrow. I spent some time this afternoon getting ready - reactivating the heaters in the water tanks and filling them so I don't have to spend as much time outside tomorrow.

Maisie and I got in a nice ride, despite the wind and stuff blowing around. She seemed pretty calm, so I chanced it and just got on and rode. I figured she'd appreciate going on the trail after doing some arena work yesterday. Other than a minor spook at a robin (!) that was flitting from fence board to fence board, she was very well behaved both on the way out and on the way back, striding out but responding well when I asked her to slow down a bit. I'm glad I got a ride in, since I doubt there'll be much riding this weekend.

8 comments:

  1. Kate, that's good that Fred feels so good he can jump around. Not good if he jumps on you but your way of handling it sounds like it works well.
    So glad you got to ride too! I love this time of year when there are no flies to bug us. Don't horses seem to find the darnedest things to spook at, I think it's spring time spookies! LOL Gilly has been pretty goosie too, silly boy!!
    Hope the cold snap that is supposed to come just blows on by us all! I am ready for some nice weather!!!

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  2. Glad you are getting some rides in .the only ride I have done is surf on a peice of ice and land on my tush! Glad winter is over

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  3. I know this dance! Pie and I do this too, but I don't have another horse on the other hand! You are brave, Kate! Pie is certain that he could easily fit in my pocket if he gets scared or excited with glee, so my elbow in the chicken wing position saves my feet and body.
    Sounds like another great ride on Maisie. I can't believe it is going to snow...please don't send it this way.

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  4. I never thought of calling that move "the chicken wing", good name! I've been using it for years and never had a name for it. I'll have to steal that from you!

    Glad to hear you're getting some riding in. It won't be long before spring, now. Then we can all stop complaining about cold and rain and start complaining about bugs!

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  5. Glad you got that ride in. Hope it holds you happy until the next chance you get.

    March is being rather fickle, apparently. Teasing us here with really warm temperatures, but I don't trust it!!

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  6. I"d sort of like to see the chicken dance on video. Glad you got a ride in and hope the weather is not too bad this weekend for you.

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  7. I'm jealous that you get to go on trail rides! Down here, we have no trails, unfortunately, but I am determined to at least walk Salem down the road a bit before he leaves (as long as we have a steady-eddie "track pony" along with us!).
    Enjoy the good weather and trails while you can!

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  8. I am convinced that horses have a racial memory of the days when birds were velociraptors and horses were eohippus. Dixie thinks there's nothing more menacing than a covey of quail.

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