Wednesday, April 29, 2009

General – 04/29/09

Between work keeping me at the computer until late in the evening and my spare time being spent on halter breaking the new youngsters, I haven’t had a lot of time for any of the other horses lately.  Maggie is heading over this Saturday and we’re hoping to get just about everyone worked one way or the other.  She doesn’t know it yet, but I’ll be asking her to write up her own posts for the horses that she rides.  I can’t wait to get another rider’s input on some of these guys! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gentry – 04/16/09

It’s been raining all week and today was the first warm sunny day that I’ve had to ride.  Gentry has been sound for over a month, so I decided that today was the day to try him out and see what he knows.  I was really excited to be getting on a well-trained Tennessee Walker.  It’s been years since I had my two TNW mares and I was really looking forward to a nice comfortable ride.

Is there a chiropractor in the house???

We started out badly, as he has terrible head manners and wouldn’t stop slinging his head around while I was grooming and tacking him.  He was difficult about taking the snaffle and kept knocking me around every time I was within reach.  It got to the point where I’d stick out an elbow and let him bop himself on it whenever he slung that big head my way.

I took him out to the back pasture and put him on the lunge line first.  It was obvious from the get go that he was a pro at lunging, so I didn’t waste too much time before I just got on him.  He didn’t want to stand still for me to mount, which is a pet peeve of mine and something I’ll need to work with him on.

I will say that Gentry’s canter, trot, and running walk were wonderful.  His canter is one that I dream of getting on Kita one of these days.  It was slow, collected, balanced and just plain dreamy to ride.  He wanted to trot more than gait, but I did get some nice running walks out of him and as long as he wasn’t slinging his head and playing with the bit, he was smooth.

But how do I describe his walk??  I seriously feel like I need a chiropractic adjustment after riding him for 40 minutes tonight and it’s all because of his walk.  For one thing, it feels his hind end is completely discombobulated.  My left hip felt like it was being shoved into my belly button with each forward stride from his left hind.  What gets me, is that he looked perfectly fine on the lunge line.

He did do a lot of stumbling, but only when he head his head in the air looking for the herd.  He’s a bit herd bound, but calmed down within the first 15 minutes and I was able to ride him out of sight and sound of the herd without him getting too worked up.  He’s very out of shape from being a pasture potato all winter and the more tired he got, the less he wanted to gait and the more he just wanted to trot.  But even his trot is smooth, as long as he doesn’t sling that head around.

I’m hoping the hind end starts to come together with the front end with exercise.  And we definitely need to work on that head slinging!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tabby – 04/08/09

I’ve ridden Tabby a few times since the last blog post, but if I blog about every uneventful ride of circles, halts, and transitions, someone might think I was a card or two short of a full deck.  And we certainly don’t want that.  Even if it is true some days.

Last night Kayla and her brother, Jessie, came out to do some volunteer work with the horses.  A lot of help that I need is grooming, lunging, and riding.  As the two are intermediate riders, they’ll be a great help for giving some of the more experienced horses some exercise, but neither of them knew much about lunging or riding a green horse.  Jessie wants to adopt Abby when she’s ready, so we got Tabby saddled and Abby on the lunge line for the first time.  I started with Abby, giving Jessie some pointers and the basics of lunging:  stand at her hip to make her move forward, move to her shoulder when asking for a whoa, move in a smaller circle within her circle to stay at her hip, use consistent voice commands.  Abby seems to have had a little training on the lunge, but she still insisted on turning into Jessie at every opportunity. 

After Jessie was on his way with Abby, I gave Tabby over to Kayla for a lunging lesson.  Tabby is much better on the lunge, so after a few minutes of Kayla proving that she had the knack of it, I went ahead and mounted up.

As usual, Tabby stood perfectly still for mounting.  She’s moving off my leg much better now and feels so much stronger and sure of herself under saddle.  Her halts are getting much better and she doesn’t toss her head as much and stops when I roll back on my seat before I even ask with the reins.  She’s also getting better about standing still.  I’d like to get her out on the trail, but need to wait until someone can go with me on another horse for safety’s sake.

As I was finishing up with Tabby, I asked Jessie if he wanted to ride her for a few minutes.  He wants to be involved in Abby’s training and is a quick learner when it comes to riding.  At first, Tabby didn’t want to pay attention to Jessie and just followed me around.  Eventually, he had her doing as he asked and the two looked great together.

Picture 001

Next week when the kids come out, Tabby will be ready for a short trail ride.  Sounds like fun!