Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Little Happy, A Little Sad



I am seriously thinking of moving to natural hoof care. It is a process by which the hoof of the horse is returned to a state similar to that of a wild mustang. No shoes and frequent trims. I am considering this because I despair of Ashke ever being sound. He already mets most of the criteria: fed grass and alfalfa, no grain, worked daily over solid ground. The only thing he doesn't meet it the turn out 24/7. That's just not going to happen any time soon. I am going to call the woman who does this type of farrier work tomorrow and talk to her.

He was sound at the walk but not at the trot and I didn't even ask him to canter tonight. I know his feet are long and he has the clip on his fetlock, which seems to be bothering him quite a bit. J thought he was favoring the foot that he clipped a couple of nights ago when he was asked to trot, so instead of working him in the round pen I moved him to the big arena.

I rode him up and down the arena at a walk, turning and weaving. I was working him with leg pressure and neck reining pressure, teaching him to move on the forehand or on his haunches. He tried to trot a couple of times and I always brought him back down to the walk, working with him on moving away from my legs. We practiced turning in a circle, making it smaller to shift the turn to his haunches. J brought out rails and made a box out of them. Ashke walked right in and turned in a circle and then walked right back out. J then elevated one of the poles and we went over it. No problem. The banners in the arena? No problem. Dragging the poles behind us after walking through them? Little bit of a problem, but not much.

AND HE BACKED UP!!!!! I stopped him, asked him a little bit with my hands while telling him back and he ducked his chin and backed up like a pro. Damn horse is smart as a whip. Did it every time I asked, regardless of where we were. Something between yesterday and today clicked for him.

Aside from the lameness thing, I am pretty darn happy. I can't believe how much progress he has made in the last three weeks. Tomorrow, I am going to forego the lunging and just take him into the arena to ride. At a walk only. Work on more of his movements and neck reining.

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