Friday, May 6, 2011

Marathon Man

It was a beautiful day today - low 60sF with some wind and a mix of clouds and sun.  All three horses got some work.  First up was Pie - we did some work on maintaining consistent softening at the trot, and then we did more canter work, working on trot/canter transitions and taking the correct lead.  He still struggles with the left lead, although we did get some nice left lead departures.  He's also not as balanced on the left lead, which may be why he prefers the take the right lead.  I also need to improve the timing of my cue to coincide with the lead-off (outside) hind leg leaving the ground, so it can plant and start the canter.  I loaded him in the trailer when we were done before turning him back out - he walked right in.  Good Pie!

Then Dawn (who's still in raging heat) had a leading and lungeing session, which she did quite well.  I probably could have ridden her, but wanted to allow time to work with Drift.  After we were done, before I turned her out, I loaded her in the trailer - she probably hasn't been on the trailer in several years but she walked right on and backed off nicely although she was a little bit nervous.  Good Dawn! And it's a good thing I did allow time for Drift . . .

Drift was completely distracted and extremely nervous today - focussed on the other horses and especially the mares, all of whom, including Charisma, are now in heat.  We free lunged in the arena for almost an hour before he was able to focus enough to do any work, even lungeing on the line, and even then we took breaks from lungeing on the line to do more free lungeing when he would become too distracted to even lunge or lead properly.  At one point, while running, he took a bad step and limped on the right front for a few steps - I'm hoping he doesn't come up lame and is just a bit sore for a few days - there's no sign of heat or swelling so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  He seemed OK after those bad steps, so perhaps he just stung himself with another foot or stepped on a stone.  Even after he was willing to pay some attention to me, he was still very tense and worried - head high and the eye wasn't soft.  He had trouble standing for brushing - I couldn't groom properly because he had rolled in the sand at one point while loose since he'd gotten so sweaty.  More circling was required before I could get him to stand still for saddling.  During all of this, Charisma came out of the barn and went on a trail ride, and then came back, and all the other horses were brought in and had their dinners.

We kept working - I couldn't leave him where he was and we needed to get some positive work done.  I finally got him saddled and bridled - he was champing at the bit which is one thing he does when he's nervous.  Mounting wasn't too bad, but then we had to work at the walk for a long time - we probably worked for almost an hour before he began to show any signs of relaxation - I was finally able to get him to walk on a fairly loose rein although I wouldn't call him relaxed, but it was much better than we started so I took it.  And he was able to stand still for a few moments at a time.  We did a tiny bit of trotting - he felt off to me so I didn't want to do more - and it was pretty relaxed, but at that point he was probably exhausted.  By the time we were done, he'd worked for almost two and a half hours - I felt I had to keep going until we got some progress in the right direction, no matter how long it took, and I wasn't in a hurry.  And then we loaded in the trailer to finish up - he loaded three times - the first was pretty good - only a few minutes before he got on, the second he backed out too quickly so we had to repeat and the third took only a few more minutes and he stood until I asked him to back out.  Then he finally got to go in and eat his dinner (after nickering to all the horses as he came into the barn). Poor, good Drift.  I'm tired and I expect he is too.  I'm not surprised that he has days like these and was glad I stuck with it until we got a better outcome.


  1. Poor Drift. Some days just don't go right from the start but at least he ended on a good note. Hope he's not lame and can continue to work.

  2. Sometimes I think sticking with it is the most important thing you can do. I've also noticed, with all of the horses I've had, they are so good for you the day after a day like this one. Good luck tomorrow.

  3. Poor Drift. Good for you knowing when to quit Kate, or not quit as the case may be. We worked on trailer loading today too :)


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