Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mostly because the month of December is almost half over and then life will get back to normal. Not that it hasn't been fun, but I feel like we've taken a four month lay off and I'm ready for it to be all riding all the time. I'm hoping to be able to ride twice this week and then we will be tied up in holiday plans until the 29th. K and I are hoping to get our first ride of the year on the 1st, but if not then definitely on the 2nd. I'm hoping the weather will be good enough for us to continue getting out on trail, but if the predictions of El Nino are correct, we may be facing a series of storms every couple of days all winter.

Thankfully, I have an indoor my horse seems to really like. I'm going to move out some of my WE things the week after Xmas, so I have stuff to work on if I want. Everyone at the barn has been very nice and Ashke is already a barn favorite.

On Saturday, T ran his first off-season 5k in 21 degree weather, with snow falling. Then J and I ran a ton of errands, tying up the last bits of holiday cheer we needed to do. I needed to get my hair cut, but was told I would have to come back at 2, so J and I headed to the barn. I was in levis and tennis shoes, but we went anyway.

Ashke whinnied when he heard us come in. He was a mess, so I did an intense grooming on him and J attended to his mane. Then we moved from the tie post to the grooming stalls, so I could work on his front feet. I've been shaping them every Saturday since my last trim. I am using the Radial Rasp (as suggested by Saiph and she was right). I used the edge of my tack box to hold his outstretched hoof so I could shape the hoof from the top, which I was struggling to do prior to this week. (I have it on good authority that there is going to be a farrier stand that Saiph recommended under the tree in a couple of weeks.) I thought his feet looked really good by the time I was done and the hoof wall has not pulled away from the sole like it has in prior cycles. I'm really hoping Kris tells me I am doing things the right way when she comes out on the 23rd. After I finished his feet, I saddled him up and headed to the arena.

 Working on inside bend.


So relaxed and interested in what is going on.


Four years since I got him at my Holiday Party, which happened on Saturday night.
He's just gotten better and better.

I rode for about 30 minutes. J took two videos of our canter. I think he looks relaxed and he wasn't fighting with my at all. We stayed relaxed and comfortable.

On the right lead.

To the left

Cantering to the left has always been the trigger to fight, since it is much harder for Ashke's right hip. He got ragged a couple of times on the turns on the end, but I was able to balance him and keep the canter going. We counter bend just a hair, which makes it much easier for him to make it around the corners on the correct lead. I really think he's gotten stronger from the cantering we've done on trail. I was very pleased with our ride. Quickly, we put him up with a handful of nicker makers and headed out to get my hair cut. Then we went to my company's Holiday party were much fun was had by all.

Sunday, I left the house about nine and went out to mess with him. I decided to forego riding and instead wanted to work with him from the ground. I need to figure out how to teach him to stand square,  which he does most of the time but didn't do when we were at the show. Any of the times he halted. After ineffectively working on that, I pulled out my come along rope and started working on desensitizing him to the rope around his legs.

I looped the rope through the bottom loop of his halter, so I could control his direction with the lead rope still attached to the ring of his halter. I spent time throwing the rope down past his body, on both sides, over his back, over his neck, over the crown of his head, and around his legs. He was allowed to move his feet whenever he needed to, but once he stopped moving he was rewarded with a "good boy", a rub on his forehead and a nicker maker (these are kind of like crank). I had him move in a circle dragging the rope on one side, then a circle dragging the rope on the other side. then straight forward with the rope on either side. I let the rope tangle and move however it needed to, controlling where Ashke could move until he stopped spooking and turned to me to stop. Then I worked on wrapping the rope around his front legs and applying pressure. The left front was fine, but the front right sent him into a frantic trot around me. I kept the rope up by his elbow and talked calmly to him until he calmed down and stopped. Then took the time to love on  him and feed him crank before starting again. 

By the end of our 45 minutes, he had calmed considerably. I did try to drive him from behind, but need to get the surcingle in order to really make that work. A couple more sessions and perhaps I won't have to worry about him panicking and pulling away if the rope is behind a front leg. 

I cleaned up his stall, added a hanging treat for him to amuse himself with, gave him an extra feed and then headed for home. I will be very happy when our schedule is back to normal and we can get to work on improving our dressage and EOH scores.


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