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

December 7, 2011

An Eye-Opener

Karen Chaton has been doing a series on Endurance Horse: The Prequil.  I've been printing and putting the articles into a binder, knowing that I will have to test some of these basic skills with Journey over the winter.  I'm ordering a set of hobbles and will ask my horse trainer friend to work "with me" on this skill.  Journey has scars all over her from being wound in barb wire and cut, deeply in places including the bend below her pastern.  She is a horse that goes through things, panics rather than thinks.  I believe the hobble training will help her thinking process and perhaps gain me an edge in leadership.  I don't feel confident to just hobble her and let the wind blow which way it will, too much risk.  Michaella has a nicely enclosed round pen that has solid sides and no place to get trapped or run through (except for the entry gate itself) with sand footing, so if she does fall on her noodle it won't be quite so bad.  That is just lesson #1.  Then there will be lesson #2.  I discovered that she can be quite volatile when tied up.  This issue has never presented until this week.  LSEGH noticed her squinting and I led her to her stall without her pasture cohorts.  Tied her up, and she started dancing, and then she started rearing and clanging at the wire window that separates the stalls.  She was so frantic from separation that she pretty well lost her mind.  So now, we will have to work through that.   So on our current to do list:

  • Hobble lessons.
  • Tie the horse up and teach her some patience.
  • Board her with a goat on another property (kidding....).
  • Serious work sometime on trotting intervals and walk/trot transitions.  She wants to canter, canter, gallop.  Granny wants to trot, and walk, and trot some more.  She has a nice little canter, but she also has a not so good buck if you transition that gait before about mile six or so, and she knows FULL well what she is doing.  The bucking thing was the primary reason miss speckle puss was sold I have no doubt of that.  So far I've ridden it out, but have come very very close to losing my seat twice now.
  • RESPECT. I've done a lot of the "warm and fuzzy" training stuff with Journey, trying to gain her confidence and trust.  So far that has been an absolute fail.  She "enjoys" it, and  I feel there is a place for that, we want to be buddies with our horses, but we also don't want them to eat our lunch.  So I may have to use a different tactic with her and her little temper.  The calm "Zen" work has helped ME though...and has helped her ground manners a LOT.   Under saddle... a bit more boot camp oriented ...maybe.  I'm still thinking and completely undecided on the approach of that process.
  • Trailer Loading.  It has improved, but definitely some more lessons in that area.  It bugs me that she wants to turn around and go under the divider.  Either would be a major train wreck.  Ironically, her previous owner said that was her best attribute and she did indeed self load at prepurchase.  So more sessions on loading for sure.
I can't complain about her trail worthiness.  She has been a really nice surprise in that department.  She crosses logs, goes through deadfalls of brush decently, slogs through water up to her chest no problem!  The only trail deficit we have are hills.  She wants to rush down them.  It took me a while to get Phebes going right on downhills, and she was a beautiful mover up and down hills finally.  What I did with her was break the hills into tiny segments.  Four steps, and whoa.  Four steps, and whoa.  Until finally we were down.  She is starting to cope well with the white tail deer, but turkey flapping is going to be an issue.  Anyone have a chicken I can borrow?   I've not worn her out yet, and she has a lot of desire to go, and I have a lot of desire at this point to whoa...she still has a very lackluster and nearly nonexistent whoa.

My mare is way greener than I anticipated.

So how close to an actual ride are we?

I live in mortal fear and dread of Karen's next training installment (actually I'm thrilled with them) as they have opened my eyes to how not ready my spotted wonder is.  I thank her for that.  The articles helped me to see and test things that I may have taken for granted otherwise.

~ E.G.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, aren't you lovin' her articles? I had just a single hobble so started using it using her article for instruction. My horse is used to hand-grazing on a long lead rope, is used to stepping on the lead rope without freaking. (IMO this should be done first, before attempting hobbles. Your horse should quietly attempt to figure it out when he steps on his lead rope...) But anyway since we had that done, I put a hobble on one leg and put another lead rope on it, then took him out to graze. When he tried to move that foot, I held onto the lead rope so it could move only a few inches. Took no time at all. After a few days of that I put the lead rope on the hobble and then wrapped it once around the other front foot and hung onto it as he moved around grazing. If he freaked I would have just let go.

    Worked great! I have also just ordered a set of hobbles so I will have two of them!

    BTW: The fighting while being tied -- yeah you have to work on that one!!