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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

June 17, 2011

Boot Camp: Day 2

I crawled out of bed early as usual at 5:20 AM with my thoughts running to working with Journey before the heat of the day, but knowing that it could draw out long into the heat.  First up was saddling and working on the longe line, and getting her out of my space.  She wants to drift in on her turns and I don't care for that.  I like a snappy turn on the haunches.  She did get moving out of my space somewhat better, not snappy on her turn arounds, but acceptable, at least she was moving away and trotting off.  The longe line for the most part was soft, once and awhile I'd have to remind her to get her focus back on me if the line tightened up too much.  We worked a lot of whoa from the ground.  She is learning but not at 100%, maybe more like 80%.  Then I climbed on board and rode her out to the road pointed away from home.  As soon as I noticed her starting to focus her eye on home and look back a little, I turned her for home, and as soon as we crossed the gate opening we trotted to fence line back and forth, back and forth adnauseum until she was dropping her head and snorting, then we'd trot back to the gate, drop to the walk, and head out again pointed away from home.  We repeated this procedure several times until she walked right on down the road, past the neighbors, and on to the woodland trail past his house, then into the woods on the shorter trail loop that is back there.  I brought her up through our woods and out to the neighbor's field which is adjacent to our pasture.  Haven't decided as yet if that was a mistake or not...because our horses started galloping the fence line back and forth which made her want to herd up with them, so I had to take some evasive action to keep her under control.  This was trotting a pretty tight circle in the field until I had her brain back.  I'm thinking hmmm....this wasn't the brightest decision I've made today, but then again, she had to work, and she had to listen, so maybe it was okay.  I got her back up to the road and turned her back for home, and worked her in the round pen until she was blowing a little, climbed back on and trotted her up and back on the fenceline, wash-rinse-repeat, and then again pointed her out of there, down the road, back to the neighbor's and into the woods (no drama this time), we rode the trail that circles our back field, drops again into the woods.  Along the way she stopped at the creek and thoroughly tanked on water, and she also was snatching the long grass without breaking stride.  When we made the turn to head back from where we came she got a little "jiggy" so one rein, reverse direction and walk the opposite way.  Then one rein back towards home.  If she broke the walking gait I'd repeat turning her away, and only allowed her to go towards home, walking ON A LOOSE REIN.  Nothing else would let her come back.  She made it back walking nice and guess what?  ROUND PEN until she was dropping her head nicely.
  Rope could have been a little softer but she was dropping her head nicely.
And backing out of my space with a wiggling rope. Ears look flat but were more flicking back and forth.

Progess was made today.  The acting out behavior of yesterday was easily reduce by 80% in her willingness to continue resisting.  She is figuring out that home means "work" too.  I did discover she has very few confidence issues out in the woods, she was reasonably forward at the walk, with ears tipped ahead, no hesitation in her go.  I could have picked up a trot on a loose rein, but for the present I want the trail to seem like the "preferred" option vs. the front lot where I'm concerned.    I might also start limiting her treats to trail work, so the only time she is rewarded with her peppermint cookie is "out there."  I also learned that a running pack of horses gets her into a frenzy so that will likely be an issue on the distance trail.  But guess what?  This horse is going to start her first ride so far back in the pack they'll be calling her Granny too.

Overall, I felt really good about today's training session.  The thing I'm having to work at hardest is with my brain.  This is not Phebes, this is not Phebes, this is not Phebes.  I have to think about how Journey ticks, and how to build off her positives and thwart her negatives.  She is an incredibly easy horse to ride.  Her trot is like a little putter, so posting is little, where Phebes trot has so much impulsion that you lift way up from the saddle.  Journey hasn't acted truly tired yet.  Compliant yes, tired, no.   She sweats but not bucket loads like Phebes.  As I was riding along I was thinking, hmmm...that stick would spun Phebes back, or that rock pile would have set her back into sudden stop, and all these reactionary things that upset her.  Journey doesn't even look at them!  She is a little more reactive to noises, rustling things and such, but not crazy reactive.  If today is any indication, I'm going to really like this mare when all is said and done.  ~E.G.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a really good work session - you've got a lot of good stuff to build on and the bad stuff looks to be falling away already. Was it a good or bad decision to ride near the other horses? Doesn't matter - you learned something about her, dealt with it and used it as a training opportunity. Since I can't ride for probably the next 6 or 8 weeks, I'll enjoy riding along vicariously with you!