Friday, August 29, 2008

Classy -- 08/29/08

Classy is a 12yo bay Standardbred mare out of Dolly. I've been working with Classy since she was sound and of good weight when she came here. This mare is eternally lazy on the lunge line, but is improving each time. She was saddle broke when she got here and had 4-5 rides under her belt. I got on her tonight and mainly just worked on circles and figure 8's at the walk. She's pretty good with leg cues and has a wonderfully natural head carriage and flexion on a loose rein. She's still nervous away from her sisters and chews on the bit constantly. I think tomorrow I'll ride in just a halter and lead rope to see if that helps her out in the nerve department. She's definitely not the type of horse that's going to take off on me as that would require way too much effort on her part.

Megalia -- 08/29/08

Megalia is a 19 yo bay Standardbred mare, sister to Classy and Tabby, daughter of Dolly. With Meg I'm also making the assumption that she was on the track before becoming a broodmare. When Meg first got here she wanted nothing to do with us humans. She didn't want to be caught and always hid behind Classy. Within a week she settled in and realized where the food came from. Now she's one of the sweetest horses out there and is always one of the first to come up to you for a head rub or a wither scratch. I love this mare. Just her personality is enough to win me over. Her roached back and hardened tendons don't bother me as long as they don't bother her.

I have a feeling I could probably just throw a saddle on Meg and go for a nice trail ride. She's supposedly not saddle broke, but I don't think that matters to her. This horse is all about pleasing you. Whatever you want this mare would probably do it just to please you.

Tonight's groundwork was more of an evaluation than anything. When Meg came here both front tendons were puffy and starting to harden. Now that the heat and swelling are gone I wanted to see if she'd be sound. Sure enough! Don't get me wrong, she'll never be a hunter/jumper or barrel horse. But she will make someone a really nice trail horse!

Jewel -- 08/29/08

Jewel did a lot better tonight! It still took a lot of convincing to get her going at the trot, but I felt like she was happier and had more understanding of what I was asking. We worked for 20 min on the lunge line and did a lot of walk to trot transitions and lots of WHOA and stand. The other night when I lunged her for the first time she'd whoa, but if I wanted to walk up to her to change sides she'd try to move away. She did that the first couple of times tonight and I just ignored her and kept coming without pulling on the lunge line. Eventually, she'd stop, sigh, and let me put my hand on her. After the first few times she stopped trying to move away at all. Success!

I lunged her on a bit of an incline tonight to try engage her hind end coming up the hill. Conformationally, she's a bit weak in the loin area so before putting a surcingle and side reins on her I'd like to see some more muscling along her back, croup, and hind end. I'd also like to see her carry her head lower at the trot... right now she carries her head straight up in the air like a lot of TN Walkers I've seen.

I'd like to try long lining her tomorrow, but we'll see how energetic I am. :)

Tabby -- 08/29/08

Tabby is a 13yo seal bay Standardbred mare, sister to Classy and Megalia, daughter of Dolly. Tabby came to us very thin after an injury to her right hind ankle. The ankle is still very large, but it's all proud flesh and scar tissue now. Tabby has finally put on enough weight where I feel comfortable to start ground work with her. She is not broke to ride, but I'm assuming she was on the track at one point before her broodmare career began and is broke to drive.

Tonight was just about finding out what she knows and getting a better look at how she moves. She's not only sound, but looks VERY smooth too! And she's not nearly as lazy as her two sisters. She had no problems moving off at the walk or trot. Her problem lies more with a lack of brakes. She wasn't afraid or moving fast, she just wanted to keep going in that gorgeous floating trot of hers. I can't wait to ride this mare! I'd like to see another 100 pounds on her before I back her for the first time, so it may be another month or more depending on how she progresses in her training. And I'd really like to have the round pen up rather than backing them in the middle of a 16 acre pasture, but if that's where it has to be then so be it.

I only worked with her for 15 minutes tonight. Just enough to get the her figured out and start working on a plan. Voice commands are totally unknown to her, so that will be first -- especially the WHOA part! And like most all horses off the track, her right side is her stiff side so we'll be doing a lot of lunging to the right.

Tabby is the only horse of the 10 rescues that still has no interest in humans. We can pet her and groom her and she's not mean and has good ground manners. But if you're out in the pasture with the herd she is the only one that will not voluntarily come up to see you. I'm hoping this will change now that she's getting some work

General 08/27/08 - 08/28/08

There has been no training for the past two days thanks to some much needed rain. All the horses were happy for the respite from the heat and deer flies, but it's back to work on the 29th.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jewel -- 08/26/08

Jewel came to us a nervous wreck, terrified of human touch. She was curious about people and would walk up to you for a sniff, but as soon as you reached to touch her she'd turn away. The last couple of months she's just been turned out with the herd, just learning to be a horse again. She has slowly started to come around and now allows us to walk up to her for a scratch and to put her halter on. So last night we began groundwork with Jewel on the lunge line. What a lazy mare! It took a lot of convincing to get her to trot, but once she did trot it was slow and rhythmic. Even when she broke into a gait... yup, Jewel appears to have some gaited horse genes in her some where. As training progresses I'll encourage her to gait as I believe that will be a bonus to a lot of potential adopters in this area.

I only worked with her for about 20 min, mostly at the walk. Her right side is her stiff side, so much of the time was spent going to the right, bringing her in to a 10' circle, letting her out to 15', back in to 10', etc. Not once did she lay her ears back or act afraid or upset.

I've still got a ways to go with her feet. I start at her shoulder and slowly run my hand down her leg, but as soon as I get below the knee she freaks out and jumps back. Once she's more responsive on the lunge line I'll start sending her out to work every time she jumps back. This method worked really well for Meghan who was also terrible about having her feet worked on. But right now, she's such a lazy mare that sending her out on the lunge would be so much work that she may not associate working with the bad behavior.