Monday, May 5, 2008

As Firm as Necessary

The weekend was warm here and we were looking to log some good time on our horses. We had family commitments both Saturday and Sunday afternoons and we needed to get an early start to things. Saturday as we were getting ready, Ranae asked for advice on what to do when Dusty wants to speed up if we are up ahead on the trail. We went out back and worked on bending to a stop, yielding hindquarters and immediately taking off again at the right speed. Once she was comfortable with those we headed out on the trail.

Jessie gets a bit antsy and wants to be out in front going out. Then, when she realizes she is out there all alone, she wants to stop. There is a canal on one side and a five foot drop on the other side and she thinks she can escape by going down the the drop. Well, I let her down there and every time she did we did trotting rollbacks facing the trail. When that didn't work, we did loping rollbacks facing the trail. After three or four of those she seemed content to staying up on the trail and out in front. That gave Ranae a chance to do her exercises and she reported it was working very well.

We did a lot of trotting and when we got to a very wide road between two fields, we took off on a canter. Jessie stayed in it pretty well and didn't try to veer off like she has done in the past. Later, we rode past the dairy and the cows were moving around and both horses thought that was scary but they kept moving forward. At our farthest point from home there were two ways to get back that met up about a mile away. Ranae took one way and we took the other. Both horses did okay. Jessie was a bit more concerned I think. We did a lot of serpentining. My GPS indicated we had done a little over 8 miles. They were good and sweaty when we got home.

Sunday the girls went out and Jessie and I went to do some groundwork. I had been using the Wahl pocket clipper to desensitize her to the clippers for about a month now. Those work well because the make a louder noise, but they don't cut very well. Today was the day we were getting that hair off. I got my Wahl Arco and after LFR 2 I started with the clippers. She resisted and I tried a couple of things (flexing her by the ear, touch and rub the pole) and they weren't working. Okay, babydoll, we ARE doing this. Every time she raised her head she got backed up vigorously by pulling back on the lead rope. And we backed up a lot. And she hates backing up. After about the fifth or sixth time she looked at me and said, "You wanna trim my bridle path? Go ahead". I was able to do under her chin as well, which had been a constant struggle.

We finished the GW with some yielding, then circle driving, desensitizing with the stick and string, and then I saddled her and we did some four-leaf clover. We also did some yielding hindquarters to start a lead in a circle. We had a little bit of trouble getting the right lead but, we did. Then we worked on some rollbacks. She was pretty sweaty by this time so I cooled her her down with some walking and side-passing along the fence, then gave her a bath and tied her up for about an hour.

Again, I know it was a pretty good workout because my legs and lower back are sore today.

On a side note, the last time I canceled my NWC subscription I was still able to get into the blogs. Not so this time around. It has me pretty well locked out.
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