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Ktibb 06-01-2010 05:05 PM

Life and Horses
taking a shot at this. More of our history is available on my blog "Life and Horses" linked below.

How Far we've Come

My last post got me thinking about just how far Honey and I have come. The biggest I think is that I actually ride my horse now. The biggest fear issue that I've overcome is handling her on the ground. As I touched on in my last post that was where we were weakest. I used to have a lot of anxiety about taking her out and working her- weather it was in the round pen or on a lunge line in the field. The best way I can describe it by using a description a fellow blogger used: a flying, flapping, fire-breathing dragon. She would rear, pull the line through my hands, bolt, kick, buck etc. and it scared the you know what out of me. So eventually the time we spent together became less and less and I regressed to only working with her on the things I taught her successfully (yielding her hind quarters, backing up, flexing, hobbling, lots of desensitizing and giving all body parts to pressure... yeah that's about all I was able to teach her.

Since she's home this is pretty much how our daily interactions go:

I walk to the gate of her pasture (she is no longer living in the 24x48' corral in my back yard {yay}) and she trots up to greet me. I take off her fly mask, brush her and pick out her feet. Then I pat my leg, hold my arm in an "L" shape (at my side, bent 90deg at my elbow as if holding an invisible lead) say "c'mon, lets go" and walk off. Honey follows as if she has a halter on. I walk-she walk. I jog-she trots. I run-she canters (though it's usually short lived as I am no runner and the soft sand in the pasture really makes it hard for me in my boots!). I stop-she stops, at all gaits. I back up-you guessed it, she backs up too. Turn right-turn left, yield hind-quarters, yield fore-quarters. We're working on side passing to and away, she's got it with a halter on, especially if it's moving over to the fence to pick up a rider.

After our liberty session/warm up I put on her halter and we head over to the round pen. On days that I don't have enough time to ride I will at least give her a little workout. Usually about 5-10 mins of walking and then about 10-15 of trotting/walking and then I'll canter her a few laps each way (I try to change direction often to help with boredom and running mindless circles) usually about 5-10 mins of that ten back down to a nice relaxed jog to start cooling her out. When it's time to jog I usually call her to the center and have her hook-up with me and jog with her (trying to get myself in shape too, lol). Once it's time to gear down to a walk I put her halter on, back her out the round pen gate and we hand walk the property together until her heart rate is back down. Then it's back to her pasture where I again brush her, pick her feet and put her fly mask back on. If it's the evening I'll give her her 'slurpee' (A&M (1/2lb), stabilized rice bran (1C), Accell (her vitamin supplement) and about a gal of water.

If it's a ridding day I'll start and end the same, but spend less time in the round pet, but I still always start there just to be sure. I'll tack her up in the round pen and warm her up. I'll move her out all all gaits both directions and check for soreness and attitude and to make sure all signals point to go before getting on. Once on I'll go through each gait both directions for a lap or two, stop, back-up, flex, move her shoulders over, yield her hind quarters- just check everything out pretty much. Then I head over and open the gate. I never open the gate and just go straight out. I usually jog another lap or two in each direction with the gate open just to try and prevent bad habits. Then we head out and ride the property trail. I did find where it open up to open space/dirt road and each time I try to take her a little farther. She is sometimes hesitant but always gets through. I'm sure riding with a buddy horse would help, but I want her to look to me as her buddy- we're getting there!

Ktibb 06-07-2010 05:10 PM

Beach Ride! Report and pics =)
Honey did GREAT durring her first visit to the pacific ocean!

Full story Here: Life and Horses

Would love more readers!

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