Monday, June 30, 2008

Hot as Hell and Cool as a Cucumber

After a great two evenings of music we were ready to ride on Saturday. Ranae was riding with her friend, Jessie and I were going out alone to find a place to do the find the center exercise. We got an early start (for a Saturday) at 8:30 am and it was still hot. There were only a few hesitations on the way out and I think she thought we were going out to meet the other horses. We found a spot that had a ten foot, 6' diameter pipe in the ground and I first walk the circle, then trotted the circle guiding her around on as much of a loose rein as possible. Once I started the exercise I started my timer and gave us twenty minutes. We trotted around that damn pole for about twenty five minutes before I thought we should move on to other stuff. I was getting bored, I'm sure she was too.

We rode out to another area about 15 minutes away and we worked on collection and some of the drawing exercise on the way there. I found a cone and another rather large area and we tried the find the center exercise again. There was a touch of improvement but I don't think she quite had the concept yet. We tried it at the lope for about ten minutes and, again, a little more improvement, but I still didn't think she had grasped the concept. This is a big area. There wasn't anything but open land for a half mile in any direction. I just think there was too much space. It was hot and we had been out about 90 minutes and she was pretty sweaty so we headed back and worked on some other exercises all the way home. I try not to make excuses but I think it's going to take just a bit more time to learn this exercise without a "proper" training area. I'm going to review the DVD again tonight and see if I can spot some things that will help us.

Sunday, Ranae and I went out and we did the exercise at the same place while she went off and trained on Dusty for a while. There is an area that holds a swap meet on Sundays and we usually ride around that area when the swap is not going on. It's fun because it's an auction yard too and they sometimes have some horses stalled in there to be sold. We wanted to extend our ride and we decided to go around that way. Well, the swap meet was in full swing there were cars everywhere and I thought I knew a short cut through the property. We rode through the swap meet with all the people and tarps and music and noise and smells and both horses did very well. When we got close to where I thought we could get out we dismounted and found that my exit was blocked by a bunch of tightly packed cars so we had to retrace our steps to get out. Again, they were both champs as we walked through the parking lot of people carrying stuff and kids yelling "caballo!" - we were pretty proud of them.

We got back and gave them a bath. We have a very small covered stall that we don't use very often just because of the size. But it was hot and I thought Jessie might appreciate the shade after her bath. She never rolls after a bath in her own pen, but back there she did and she rolled and flipped over and pinned herself against a post. I got back there and talked to her a bit and tried to flip her with her front feet first, then her hind. I couldn't get her quite all the way over. I called Ranae out and together, Ranae on the front, me on the back we were able to roll her over. She stayed calm through the whole episode even though when she tried to roll and didn't make it over she banged her belly pretty good. I left her in there for the afternoon so she could get used to being in there.

The air is clearing a bit so with any luck we may be able to get some more early mornings in. The days are starting to get shorter now...
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