Monday, November 24, 2008

Just More Groundwork

Despite the beautiful weather we only managed to find time for groundwork this weekend. We did do another "At Liberty" video. This one is only five minutes long. It is improved over the last one we did seven months ago, but I have seen her do better. I think my cues get all screwed up when the camera is on. It's a lot to think about: her, the camera, what I'm doing, what I'm doing next, etc. It is a good brain exercise though.

I really like this song. It has kind of a weird opening and closing. I left most of it in.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Roll camera

I took the camera and tripod out with me this morning. This is the unedited video of part of our workout. It's long so I uploaded it to Veoh which doesn't have a time limit. Sorry for the focus, the auto focus kind of moves around a bit.

It's early and neither one of our energy levels is very high. Probably need to work on that (some more). It starts off with a run-up-and-rub exercise and the rest are pretty familiar. The camera did cut off and we did a nice little side-pass at liberty that did get in. You might wonder about why it looks like I'm trying to yield hindquarters when she is at liberty doing a circle. I don't think the camera shows it very well, but I'm reacting to her butt which is getting ready to take off. So, I'm pushing her hip away to bring her back.

The video

Monday, November 17, 2008

Unseasonably Warm

I can imagine how irritating it might be for people in other parts of the country to hear it's 85 and clear here in central Cal, so I'll just say it was unseasonably warm.

Saturday morning we had an extended groundwork session. We moved to the bigger area to try our liberty exercises and she took the extra space to run around. It didn't take her long to work up a sweat. It was a bit frustrating to see her running around and I had to remind myself it was better than last time (in the big area) and take that as our plus.

In the afternoon we went for a ride and because we had to ride around the locked canal gates we didn't get much done. We rode out to our big square and tried the loping squares exercise. Both horses behaved pretty good. We attributed it to the morning groundwork. We decided to see if we could get the horses around one of the canal gates. The gate is essentially a three inch pipe and it extends about 2 feet past the edge of the canal. The bank is about, I'm guessing, a sixty degree slope. The horses would have to negotiate the slope and the pipe sticking out. We decided to try Jessie first using the sending exercise. The direction we were going was "home" and she very carefully placed her feet and came around almost perfectly. Dusty followed. He was a little more concerned that we were asking him to go in the canal instead of around the pipe and the mud at the edge of the water intimidated him just a bit, but we got around and headed for home.

Sunday morning's groundwork was a little shorter. Dusty had thrown a back shoe and we did some trotting with only a little loping. It was, for the most part, just a nice quiet Sunday ride. We did ride by the egg farm, always an adventure, with the thousands of chickens clucking away just thirty feet from the trail. Second time around the canal gate was pretty good, too.

This morning's groundwork was pretty easy. Jessie was well-behaved back in our "small" area. She took off once and I could almost see her remember the sweat from Saturday and she hurried back to me. We ran through most of the exercises and worked on leading beside. She does it very well on lead, but lags pretty far behind when I'm in her left eye. I asked her to jump a barrel while she was running beside me and she did, so we stopped on that happy note. And, now she gets the next three days off...

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Calm Workout

Got out there about 6:15. My body is pretty sore from my exercise routine and Jessie was trying to say "Why don't we just take the day off?" We work on a few exercises. She was yielding her hindquarters great. We worked on moving forequarters while keeping the hindquarters still. She seemed to get it after a few tries. We did a few of the touch and rub exercises and then LFR and desensitize. I took the halter off and we did some liberty work. She lunged the circle around me very well and we did a little circle driving. We got to leading beside and she was lagging behind (and believe me, I wasn't moving that fast), so I put the halter on and we practiced that one one lead. I took the halter off again and she was a little better. I looked down at my watch and it was 7am. Wow, the morning flew by. I had her jump the barrels off lead and she did very good so I tied her up for 30 minutes and gave her breakfast.

The weather is supposed to be mid-70's this weekend so we hope to get some saddle time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Recap

Ranae had some stuff to do on Saturday, but thought she would be home in the afternoon to ride. I decided to give Jess a little groundwork session, since it had worked out so well last weekend. We got through the exercises on series II and then did some liberty. It's really a lot of fun and I hope it's helping me hook up with her a little more. There are still periods of chaos and times where she just flips me off and takes to running, but it is getting better. A lot of it is developing consistent cues. One of the easiest things to overlook as a trainer is that I may not be giving her the cues exactly the same way every time. So this practice is more for me than for her and she'll just have to put up with it.

The weather was almost balmy and clear in the morning. We worked for about two hours and then I gave her a bath and tied her up for awhile. I got my Saturday chores done and the clouds started to come in. The prediction was for rain on Sunday. I had a late lunch and Ranae came home around three and she did a bit of groundwork before we tacked up.

We ride along a canal that serves the farmland. While there are gates, most of the time they are unlocked. Saturday they weren't. We hit a dead end and had to turn around and then hit another dead end. This meant we had to ride through our residential area to get to our usual riding area. By the time we got out it was getting late and cool and we did a bit of obligatory trotting and loping then headed for home.

The rain came overnight and Sunday was pretty dreary. It sprinkled on and off most of the day. I was able to get the pens cleaned and had to rearrange our hay stack for the coming week. Late afternoon I decided to give groundwork a try and was able to work for about an hour. We did the exercises on series II again and worked on refining the side-pass and yielding the forequarters (both of which we tend to have trouble with). And, we got a little of liberty work in as well. It was a much calmer session than Saturday's and she seemed to realize there was less work near me than away from me.

This morning before work we did about half the exercise again focusing on side-passing without stepping forward and yielding forequarters without moving her hind end. Then I took off the halter and lead and we did some LFR II off-lead and some circle driving stage II off lead. Both of those were pretty good so we did sending off lead, and then I sent her over the barrels. After some desensitizing I tied her up for about 40 minutes then fed her and headed to work.

The weather has cleared and back in the 70's. They are predicting it may get back into the high 80's by mid-week. Unfortunately, Veterens' Day isn't a retail holiday...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday morning

It's tough to roll out of bed in the morning, but once I'm up and going it's not too bad. Got out there around 6:15 and we did some LFR II. The nights have been colder (in the 40's) and the mornings cool. Jessie was pretty frisky and really kicked up on the changes of direction.

After she warmed up a bit (didn't seem to take long) we jumped some barrels. She is much better at it, though I'm not sure she 'enjoys" it yet. Of course, I think breakfast was on her mind.

Then we did some liberty work, desensitizing, and yielding as our cool down and she got tied up for 30 minutes.

Not much, but we got some work in...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Looking at the 2009 Walkabout Tour dates, there are NO DATES FOR CALIFORNIA!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The CSI Effect

Sometimes I wonder if there is a "CSI" effect that happens when you watch too much RFD-TV. On CSI (or any crime drama really), the crime is committed, the forensics team comes in, gathers the evidence, and, viola, the case is solved in 57 minutes and change. We suspend the belief that it all happened so quickly.

Watching the 30 minute or 60 minute horse training shows on RFD, may give the viewer the impression some horse problems are as easily solved. Downunder is airing part 7 of training an off-the-track-thoroughbred. There have been seven sessions and Clinton is doing the passenger lesson on him which is great, but I wonder how many viewers would be able to get the same results so soon. Then again, it might be entirely possible if one had the facilities Clinton has at his disposal - a sixty foot round pen, a 150 x 200 foot groomed arena, and the time necessary to dedicate the sessions consecutively.

Ah, come to think about it and it's probably easily done if you get really good at doing the exercises....never mind

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back to Morning Workouts

Not knowing what to expect from my Equine Affaire responsibilities, I've started working out in the mornings. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I head to our tennis club and do some running and weights. My goal is to have at least 30 workouts before the expo. So, if I have to work out in the morning, so does Jessie. Friday and Mondays are her days.

Friday it was just some basic groundwork. Saturday it rained or threatened to rain, almost all day so we went to the movies. Sunday, Ranae had a lunch date with her Mom and it looked like rain, so we did some groundwork. We tried to do the Parelli thing where we both stand in the middle and have the horses going around us as we hand each other the lead ropes. They didn't get it and we had to work on it separately for a while. The second time we tried it, they did a pretty good job.

Jessie and I stayed out a little longer and did some liberty stuff and jumping barrels. She got pretty worked up at liberty, but calmed down and was working well by the time we quit. I gave her a bath and tied her up while I cleaned the pens.

The afternoon turned gorgeous and Ranae got home about two so we decided to ride. It was a beautiful afternoon and the horses were very well behaved having had a good groundwork session. We rode for a couple of hours and worked on using our legs to steer, and some speed control at the trot and lope.

This morning Jessie and I did some more liberty work. She was very much improved over the day before. I had her trotting around me in a circle and she even loped in both directions. We did some leading beside where she was much better with me on her right side than her left. I was able to lope a circle with me running right next to her going to the left (don't know the practical application of that, but it was fun).

So, as long as we have light and reasonably good weather in the morning, we hope to keep it up.