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    02-17-2013, 10:16 PM
It was 16 degrees F when I went out to ride today, but no wind so it wasn't bad.
Sounds like your guy would like to groom you back. You need to let him know he doesn't have to scratch your shoulders with his teeth (like he would another horse). He just wants to be nice to you!
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    02-18-2013, 07:01 PM
Well, today was a much nicer day as far as weather goes. Another short ride, but this time we were able to do serpentines with almost no rein contact! He did nearly all of the turns on just my seat and leg. Woohoo! On an even better note, shortly after I finished my ride, the farrier showed up to work on another horse who'd thrown a shoe last week. After he finished with that horse, we had a long chat about Barnabus, since he was still moving very short today. The farrier took a good look at his feet and prodded them all around. The verdict is that Barnabus has very thin soles all around the frogs on both front feet. They flexed even from just finger pressure (Bill was kind enough to spend some time educating me on the topic). Since we don't know Barnabus' history, we debated a bit on what to do. Final decision was to go ahead and put shoes on his front feet. I plan to go ride tomorrow after work and I'm told I should see immediate improvement. Fingers crossed!
    02-19-2013, 09:55 PM
Holy cow, what a difference those shoes made! I joined in the lesson tonight and it was like a totally different horse. He moved out into a wonderful working trot right off the bat. In fact, the motion was so different from yesterday that it took me a few minutes to adjust. Instead of urging him on, I really had to half halt a lot. Every gait was so much nicer, and we even got a bit of lengthening and a iittle collection tonight! Finally, to cap the evening off, we trotted two jumps in a line - a nice even trot through both with no hesitation on his part at all. What a wonderful ride!

Now comes the funny part. :) My BO and I have discovered that Barnabus does not like going into the pasture at night! He tries really hard to just stay in the barn. We're not sure what's going on, but suspect that at least one of the other horses from the barn has been going after him right after he gets in the field each night (since Barnabus is last one in). It'll be interesting to see how this gets resolved over time.
amp23 likes this.
    02-20-2013, 07:45 AM
I'm happy to hear that the shoes helped him.
I hope none of his herdmates are being bullies. (Evil mare glare to anyone messing with Barnabus!)
    02-20-2013, 10:27 AM
Thanks, Piglet! I think I'm going to have to get out to the barn at turn-out time a bit more often and see if I can figure out what's going on. If it is another horse, then I'm hoping that turning Barnabus out first may solve that problem. I'll try that out tomorrow!
    02-21-2013, 12:49 PM
If you are out there at turn-out time and see him getting bullied, there are things you can do to raise his position in the herd.
    02-21-2013, 09:58 PM
Tonight's ride was pretty good. Steering and moving off my leg is definitely an item to work on. We seem to have the concept of bending around my leg down, but not much else yet. I did get fussed at a bit tonight by my BO. Barnabus jinked to the left again in front of a jump, and my BO told me that there's two things I must do consistently to help teach him what to do: steer and commit. I can't let him go his pace. It must be mine. It must be the path I set. It must be the jump I want to go over. She said it's pretty obvious that Barnabus doesn't know much about jumping, so I need to be committed and give him lots of support. Of course, all this was said after he did the jink away from the jump and just about plowed into everyone else! Stubborn, much? He certainly does have a mind of his own! I have some homework between now and my next lesson to work on with him, for sure!

As far as the turnout at night goes, we are still walking him to the field. Barnabus is determined to go anywhere except into the field. (Again with the stubbornness!) And we've confirmed that there is one gelding that waits near the gate, just so he can chase Barnabus a bit. The field is large, and that gelding only hangs out near the gate, so I think Barnabus isn't getting chased constantly, probably only when he goes in the field. We're going to start walking him into the field before letting the "mean" gelding out, to see if that changes things.
    02-22-2013, 10:46 AM
Please keep us up-dated.
I had a nice (though far too short) ride on my guy last night. 24 degrees F, no wind, scenery lightly frosted with snow - my kind of day! (Love it when there's no darn flies.)
    02-25-2013, 08:55 AM
Finally got out to ride Barnabus again yesterday. I'm so ready for spring! Anyway, spent some extra time grooming him since he was caked in mud, but only on one side. I should have had my phone with me to take a picture! One side is normal looking, and then he turned around in the stall, and OMG! Mud from eyeball to tail, and spine to hooves. Dude must have found an excellent mudhole to sleep in Saturday night.

So, after the cloud of dirt settles from my vigorous grooming, I get Barnabus all tacked up and we head out to the arena for a lesson. He now understands that he has to stand still to be mounted. Yay! But... he still wants to step off as soon as my butt lands in the saddle. He knows he shouldn't, because as soon as I said "hey!" and twitched the reins, he stood stock still. We'll get there eventually. The lesson wasn't as great as prior ones had been. I wasn't as balanced on him, so every time we turned the corner and started moving up or down hill (the arena's on a slight slope), we had issues with either turning where I wanted to turn, or maintaining gait. The last exercise my instructor had us do was a real eye-opener for that. She had us do a posting trot down the short side (also downhil), and after we turned the corner, we were to pick up the right-lead canter. Mid-way down the long side, we were to canter a large circle, then continue down the long side and halt. Yeah.... The first and last parts of that exercise were great. The canter part, not so much! My being off balance (and, I'm assuming his stubborness about where he wanted to make the circle) caused us to canter lots of half circles (and trot the other half). My last repitition of that, I decided to ask for a trot right before the spot where he'd break, and he did that nicely, so we called it a day. Always good to end on a high note, right?

Now for my minor rant , I found out that one of the instructors at the barn (not the BO!) had used Barnabus in her lesson on Saturday morning. Now, I don't have a problem with that part as I'd told everyone that he could be used in the lessons. But she put a little girl who'd only had 2 prior lessons on him! And he took off on her at one point in the lesson. Really?!? A horse we don't know well, except that he's got some big holes in his training, who's real personality is just coming out as he gains weight and energy, and you're going to put a little girl who knows nothing on him? I don't know if the girl fell off (I'm assuming she did). When I see my BO tomorrow, I'm going to chat with her about this. Ok, rant over!
    03-01-2013, 07:41 AM
With all the rain we've had, and my long work hours, I didn't get out to see Barnabus again until my lesson last night. He must have found a succession of good mud wallows! It took quite a while just to curry the mud off. Then I had to escape the stall for a few minutes to recover from the cloud of dust and hair (he's shedding like there's no tomorrow. Yay!).

Barnabus is still positive my grooming bag is the "treat bag of glory." If it's anywhere near him, he'll pick it up and shake it around. He found treats in there once, and that was all it took! I have to admit, it's hard to fuss at him when I'm laughing myself silly over his antics.

The lesson last night went really well. Every time I ride him, it's a new experience as he gains weight and energy. We had to do lots of circles in the corners at the beginning of the lesson - Barnabus wanted to turn at different spots than I did! After about 3 circles, he figured out that I wasn't going to let him, and we were able to move on. We managed a few strides of collection, but he can't maintain it yet. He was much more willing to change up his trot when I asked for collection, though! We cantered a bit in both directions in the "collected frame" (that's what my BO calls it - really just a slightly shorter stride than the working canter, not actual collection). He was fabulous for that. But it fell apart a little when we moved to working canter. I released too much of the reins, and didn't keep good leg on, so Barnabus didn't stay in the canter. My BO noted that he had stayed in consistent canter for longer in this lesson than prior, so he was probably getting tired and broke gait when I didn't urge enough. Our final exercise was to canter a large left-lead circle as many times as it took to get a nice, powerful canter, and then canter over a small X. We had the choice after that of continuing to a small vertical jump or bending off to the side. Other than cutting the corner on approach to the first jump (and making the approach much shorter!), we did great! I chose not to do the second jump and really just focus on the quality of his gait before and after. Fabulous job from Barnabus! Picture updates coming this weekend. :)
amp23 likes this.

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