Saturday, June 7, 2008

One step back, two steps forward!

I think we're on ride #20 on the VLC. I am losing track!

The bad: I was trying, yet again, to pick his front feet. He didn't want to keep the left one up and started pawing with the right. OK, I figured I'd go around and grab the one that was up in the air anyway. When I tried to hang on to it, he cow-kicked at me. Um, not acceptable. Not in any universe. He got the good old-fashioned boot in the gut for that one. And no, I don't want to hear a word about that - it's exactly the punishment another horse in the pasture would have doled out. He understood completely that he had grievously erred.

I don't think he does it to be mean. He just doesn't get that this is not acceptable. I am admitting defeat on this issue. I'm too small and weak and every time he pulls his foot away from me, it hurts my lower back. I am going to need to pay a professional to train this horse to pick up his feet. I am not experienced using ropes and do not want to get hurt/get him hurt. I have a trainer in mind that I think could offer some very valuable assistance with this issue, and I'm going to see if there is any way I can set up a session with him this coming week.

The good: After our showdown about the feet, I was not in the mood to put up with Any More Shit, and he knew it. For the very first time, he stood stock still for mounting and even stood after I was up. He isn't stupid.

And he rode fine. Not quite as soft and pretty as the previous ride, but we did work on something new and he did well with it. Our arena is a converted old dairy barn and so there is a fence running down the middle of it (that cannot be removed as it is holding up the roof!). The arena is, my guess, 50 wide so half the arena is 25 wide. There are openings in the fence at the center and both ends, so we can do figure 8's and circles, but today was the first time I asked him to jog a circle within that confined 25 foot half of the arena. The first time he stalled out but then he caught on and actually did very well, both directions! He is a big horse so I give him a lot of credit for being able to catch on to maintaining his forward motion through a small circle like that.

We cooled out with the reins attached to the bit again, which is funny. As soon as he realizes the reins are attached...whomp, the head goes to the knees. And stays there, on a loose and flopping rein. He is ready for the World Show! Heck, he might actually be too low. It is not going to be hard to put a headset on this one, ha ha.

Then I did ride #3 on the SSG. This time we walked without assistance right from the start and he did fine. He still wants to be close to Josie, so we worked on circles around Josie. Of course he's super green and did stall out at points but I kept encouraging him to move forward and we got a pretty decent circle at the end. (We did determine that there's quite a nice natural sidepass on this one! Hey, I like horses who can move laterally. It's very useful in numerous ways.) He also did better with halts today - the previous ride, he would immediately snap his nose up and resist (and of course all I'm riding in is a halter so it's not like the poor darling was being abused, LOL!). Today he figured out that if you just stop when you're asked to, the reins go slack. Nifty! I think he's basically going to be an easy one but he does have a bit of a balk in him which doesn't really surprise me as he has it on the longe line, too. It's actually going to be easier to fix from on top of him. As Josie observed, she often wishes when longeing that she had an outside leg for help!

So - for the most part - an uneventful evening of greenie riding. As I've said before here, if the VLC throws something at me that I can't resolve myself, I'm not going to be shy about asking for help. He's riding fine but I am going to need some assistance to resolve the foot handling issues. Hey, at my age, I'd sure rather have that than a bucking or rearing habit!

How is the weekend going for the rest of you?


serensk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patches said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean with the feet thing! My filly came to me as a basically unhandled 14 mth old who had NEVER had her feet done. She would literally strike and walk over the top of you when you tried to pick her front feet up and you could forget about even getting close to her hinds. I ended up getting a professional trainer out and he got her so that she would have her feet picked up but it was definitely under sufferance, luckily my trimmer was willing to be patient with her and while she wasn't perfectly behaved, we could get the job done.

About a year down the track I let a different farrier do her feet, she wasn't happy, he responded by putting her head on the ground, result was that she was now a hundred times worse about having her feet done than she ever had been. If you tried to pick up her front feet she would go down on her knees and to even approach her back feet was a suicide mission.

By this time I had found a trainer who was giving me lessons and between the two of us we have been patiently handling Little Yellow Filly's feet, three months on I can now pick up all four feet without any fuss and she doesn't even need to be wearing a halter, she stands quite still of her own volition. YAY!!

I've learnt that when you have a good, patient trimmer you don't swap to someone else just because you're in a hurry and also that NO-ONE holds my horse's head but ME!

Good luck, it's soooo frustrating, not to mention painful when they won't co-operate with their feet.

green_knight said...

I noticed you said 'I was trying, yet again' which, with young horses who are not overly confident about the whole feet thing can be a mistake. I've cured horses of this problem in two days flat by spending a day at the barn and picking up feet every time I went past - go in, up, up, up, up, good boy, go off again. By the end of the second day, the horse will go 'yawn'.

The other thing I noticed is 'didn't want to keep it up'. well, that's step two, which follows _after_ you can pick it up and set it down reliably. I find that it often helps to make sure that the horse is standing in the right balance. Some doofuses like my own never figure out that they ought to distribute weight over three legs when asked to lift the fourth.

And my personal experience is that saying 'no' and lifting up a foot again is much more effective than trying to hang on to one.

That said, I'm bowing out of the left hind of the broodie I'm working with at the moment - she is ok about the others though she doesn't like to hold them up; but *very* defensive about that one, to the point of charging off if you try to lift it. As she has plenty of other issues, I'm leaving that one for later. It's not ideal, but it's safer.

As for the low head carriage, that's a perfectly normal thing in young horses which were started properly - if they haven't got a topline yet, and they relax, the neck falls down at least for part of the ride. (If they carry their necks up, it's more often with the wrong muscles - particularly the one under the neck - than the one at the top.) My next step at that point is to ask - very gently - for a little more engagement behind while keeping the feel in front, so that the horse will become more active and carry himself better. Once he gains more strength, the neck will come up on its own account.

montanasmama said...

If your going to have a pro help you through the feet problem why don't you invest in a good hoof stand and have VLC trained to that? I bought my farrier's old stand when he upgraded to the new deluxe model and it has been wonderful! No strain on my back and the donks seem to like the stability better too. These stands aren't cheap, I'm thinking maybe 150.00. I know that's a lot of hay/wormer/meds/fuel what ever but we're not getting any younger and over the years it will pay for itself in less aggravation and a LOT less lower back pain. Mammoth donkeys seem to have a lot more abscess problems then other equine breeds so I do a lot of foot wrapping, by myself. A front foot is easy because I can put a humble hobble on it to hold the foot up while I wrap but the rears were a bear, can't use a humble hobble on them. Having the hoof stand to rest a rear on while I poultice and wrap has been a blessing.

Mary said...

So, I was thinking...I've forgotten sooooo much since I've only been working with my old been-there-done-that gelding in the last, oh, I don't know, 12 years, that I'm replaying my ride last night thinking, "How the hell do I 'fix' that issue?" I'm well aware that some things just come along with miles, but other's really do have to be taught.

Some examples are:

Headset: Few horses naturally have a correct headset and I know that it's in direct correlation with balance and softness.

Leads: I once read an article about the "Lead Fairy" and almost died laughing. It talks about how so many people have such a hard time working on leads and getting a horse to pick up both. I used to work A LOT of circles with counter-flexing then ask for a canter on a turn. It worked great...but I forgot how to teach, and do, a counter flex! It's like my hands and my brain got severed somehow and there isn't anymore commuication.

The Jog: UGH! This has always been my weakest thing. Teaching a horse to JOG...not jackhammer trot, not "run for your life", not "head and tail flying in the wind half-assed breeze", but a nice rocking JOG.

I also noticed that the communication between my hands and my heels is lacking, too. I'm thinking I might go get some refresher lessons. Something, maybe a few braincells, died in me and I'm finding I have reverted backwards. Ya know that saying "Use it or lose it"? Ya, well, after so many years of riding a horse that reads my mind...I lost it!

Ah, so, ya...Help? Suggestions? Taser to the brain to jump start the last remaining brain cells that are obviously on strike?

verylargecolt said...

I do pay attention to his balance on the other feet and have not asked him to pick up a foot when it would be physically difficult. He just doesn't want to do it, period, and I don't have the ability to stay bent over and keep asking, so that's pretty much the long and the short of it. My farrier already said that the most important thing with him was to not let go of the hoof - well, I just can't hang on to it. So it's time to have someone stronger than I am give it a shot. I am not at all opposed to the hoof stand idea but I suspect this is a training issue that can be worked through and I'd like to try getting some outside help first.

Serensk - Congrats on all of your progress this weekend! What kind of horse is the WAH? Glad you picked her up - I am sure you were her only good option that day.

Green_Knight - LOL, I'm not complaining on the head. Trust me, I know it'll come up a bit with work but it's so much nicer to have a low one to start with as opposed to the typical horse, who cannot comprehend WHY you want his ears at wither level. That's the AQHA standard, you know.

Mary - Leads are all about you knowing where your horse's feet are so that you can ask at just the right moment. Believe it or not, a good way to learn to feel the right moment is to work at the trot first. Can you pick up a specific posting trot diagonal in the middle of the arena while staring at the rafters? That's a good way to test if you really know where your horse's feet are. Ask for a canter when the horse is about to step forward anyway with the foot that is the lead you want. Also, don't be offended if you are way past this point (I can't see you guys ride) but you'd be amazed how many people ask for a canter with both legs which usually results in a confused horse who extended trots into a canter. And they don't even know they are doing it until someone else points it out. Of course, you can also "cheat" a little by moving the horse diagonally - if you have a horse who has some lateral skills, you just move the horse's hind end off the wall a bit and, voila, he pretty much has to take the inside lead or run into the arena wall. Yeah, yeah, I know it's not "correct" but it'll sure keep you from blowing the horse's less consistent lead in the show ring! :-)

The most important thing about jogging in my experience is that you can't teach it to a fresh horse. Long trot the heck out of them first. Make them want to go slow. Slow is a reward. If you go back a few posts, Char wrote up a series in the comments explaining brilliantly how you slow a horse down and still maintain the level headset you want. In fact, THANK YOU, Char, because I showed back in the days when you seesawed (because having an arch in the neck wasn't "wrong" back then) so reading about how to get the flat neck and still get collection and a pretty gait was really valuable to me.

Heat Stroke in FL said...

VLC, your colt can come to my barn ANYTIME :-D He sounds like a real trooper. I'll bet he'll take the show show scene like he was born for it ... which, I guess he technically was, haha!

My mare is still tender in her foot. I have not ridden in a week!! She is fine on bute, but I don't want to keep giving her bute. I think it MUST be an abscess now, not just a bruise. Every bruise I have dealt with before was not tender after a week of treatment. UGH!!!!!! I am going to rip my hair out.

BuckdOff said...

Mary, I just read your comment, I found a new instructor, hands and heels miraculously improved within 2 lessons. I couldn't believe it. But, lifting the horse feet, O.M.G. was such a struggle this week, he was just being obstinate, hoping I'd give up, not in my vocabulary. I finally shouldered him to get the back feet, and I silently thanked God and genetics for my wide bony wingspan.

Redsmom said...

Glad you are doing so well with yours.

I took Dude to the show! Exhaustive details and pic of my fat ass on my fat horse here

He tried all his old tricks on me, probably because we were in a new situtation. He's been to that arena 3 times, but not during a show. He bucked, he pulled, he danced sideways and made for the gate, he shied. Good lord. He did try the dreaded QUICK CUT TO THE LEFT at the canter and I stayed on, straightened him out and continued forward. He started getting really freaky when it got dark, snorting and showing the white of his eyes - I didn't want to get back on him after that. I felt disappointed, but I will keep trying to see if he ever quits doing this shit. Unfortunately, after last night, I'm back to fear of the straight-away canter and I don't like that I will have to work through that fear again. Sucks, but I'll keep trying.

Mary said...

I'm going to go back and read that post. Most of these things are stuff that is a few weeks out. But I will be giving anything that I know I can physically do (I'm not the most coordinated person in the world) with her.

She's still soooo green and I just want her to get working off the leg and listening to cues for forward motion. Oh, I might add, she backs like a champ!

Anonymous said...

it's exactly the punishment another horse in the pasture would have doled out.


I understand and respect that everyone has their own training methods, however... a quick sharp smack is not as forceful as when horses kick or bite each other.

Mary said...

I know I personally have no problem with punching/kicking/smacking a horse in the ass, barrel or chest when they are acting stupid. After all, that's what Bubby, the pasture boss, does to them! I can be pretty sure that a punch from a 5'4" woman is NOTHING like a kick from a 16,2 HH 1200 pound thoroughbred with an attitude!

I've seen Bubby (aka Tango, Bubs, Shithead, Old Man, Spoiled Brat, Snot, Bubbikins, Pago Fling, Your Highness, King Tango, Lazy Ass...) knock horses to the ground and take chunks out of them. If they can live through him, they can live through my boot making contact to their hip!

serensk said...

The Wild Auction Horse is a Quarter Horse, AQHA papers and all, registered as Cudas Bailey. That's probably what drove up her price with the meat buyers -- they'll sometimes try to set aside the "good ones" to sell instead of kill. But being uncatchable at the time, which nobody knew, she wouldn't have ever been set aside, she would have ended up just going through the chute. We had to use a chute to load her onto a friend's trailer after many attempts to halter her had failed. That's the point that the DH started saying, oh no, what have I gotten myself into... Well, I guess we all have to start somewhere and there's a first time for everything!

I thought about the foot thing... we've managed to teach the WAH all about picking up feet and holding them up, but that did involve lots of bending over. I can't think of any other way around it. We did do it in very short but frequent bursts at first, and we haven't asked her to hold them up very long yet on her own -- she was sedated for the farrier. But still... lots of bending over.

Redsmom said...

I've got no problem with smacking a horse for biting and kicking. If I had three hands I would crop the crap out of Dude for his bucking and cutting up, but I need one hand to hang on and one to steer. LOL!

mugwump said...

Fugs-Good move letting somebody else step in before an annoyance becomes a vice. I holler uncle for help whenever I get stuck...and I'm paid to know it all.

OutRiding01 said...

I have a (possibly stupid) question. Can Josie help you with VLC's feet when she's around? Is she capable of that, because I obviously have no idea, but it just seems like it'd be convenient if she doesn't have the back pain issues.

Theresa said...

I've had some mixed results with this method, but I'll share it anyway.

My farrier worked with my horse by not fighting with her for her foot and trying to hold it when she wanted to take it away. Instead, whenever she tried to pull her foot away, he would drop the foot and aggressively back her up (with the halter) about 20-30 feet. It got to the point that she would stand ground-tied while he worked on her because she realized that fussing, moving, or pulling her foot away resulted in hard work. All I have to do now is threaten to stand up like I'm going to back her up and she subsides.

The only problem with this method is that she is very aware of my body language. I moved and had to get a new farrier who was a lot more erratic in her body language, so my horse was always on edge, thinking she had made a mistake and needed to back up. I have since gotten a new farrier who has steadier body language, and the problem is gone again.

Anyway, food for thought on a way that worked for my horse in getting them to stand quietly for having their feet handled that does not involve fighting with the foot.

Athena said...

What about the one leg hobble posted by Natrlhorse on this thread?:

Might be worth a shot. Sorry if I missed someone else saying something along those lines. :)
Glad VLC is doing so well. I need to get started on my VSC... which he had your guy's size. :)

Athena said...

which=wish ... *rolleyes*

Jackie said...

We haven't done much...with the combo weather and her being off on one shoulder, I decided to give her a "horse break".

However, today made me wonder why I got a young, foolish (at times) mare...

We are in MI where all those really bad storms are tracking through (yesterday was, I believe, 5 inches of rain!). I put her out today as the storms were tracking north of us. We went out for 45 minutes, the sky turned dark, and we turned around and drove home, right into a squall line. My hubby ran inside to close the windows (did I say the rain was *supposed* to go north?), and I put on a rain coat and ran into the pasture to get my PrimaDonnaDiva mare..who, between the 40 mph straight line winds, driving rain, thunder and lightening, decided I was *Very Scary* and *Might Eat Horses*...I had to try to catch her for 5 minutes in this weather until I realized she might recognize me if I took my hood off. So, pouring rain, off it came and she turned and went "Oh, it's you!" and let me catch her...

Needless to say, I got as drenched as she was!

She now has another name..."Idiot Horse" husband thinks it's a pretty funny story and was the one who renamed her :)

And yes, she almost got left out there to fend for herself...except for the lightening, I would have!

Mary said...

I chickened out today. Okay, not really, but sort of.

It's friggen HOT out there, and oh, so muggy and the horseflies. They're on steriods I think! Instead, I bathed all 3 of them. This would of been SSP (now pictured on my main page) 2nd bath of all time. Other then her taking the hose away from me, she did fantastic!

I'm going to try tonight when it cools down.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the previous comments so I am sorry if I repeat anything...

Have you thought about ground driving the SSG? That would at least give you a rein on the other side to smack him with when he balks. I wish I had a round pen to ground drive in because I thought it was big fun. It would probably help me with teaching VRM (Very Round Mare) to back up. Anyhow- just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Oh- and sorry the VLC is a butt about having his feet done. I have a "rescue" colt like that too, but he got over it pretty well when we had to treat his thrush in ALL FOUR hooves. He doesn't kick now, but he still dances around and tries to pull away. I am fortunate that I have my husband to help me if I really need it (although he isn't a horse person and isn't just thrilled to have to help).

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>.I have a (possibly stupid) question. Can Josie help you with VLC's feet when she's around? Is she capable of that, because I obviously have no idea, but it just seems like it'd be convenient if she doesn't have the back pain issues.<

Oh, read her blog. She's got way more pain issues to work through than I do (hers is The Fat Middle Aged Rider, link on my main page). We'd both wind up in traction. This needs to get resolved by a young, strong man with a good back and that's exactly who I've got in mind! Sometimes it's just really smart to pay for help ... the $100 or so I will pay for help is a lot cheaper than my racking myself up and not being able to do my chores or go to work - that's for sure!

I do know about hobbling, etc but as I say I am not experienced with ropes and I don't want to get hurt/get him hurt. I will pay a pro to do it. I know when I am out of my league and on this issue, I am.

MsFoxy said...

Uneventful greenie rides are the way to go!

I am still not riding as I am waiting out Foxy's soundness issues. She was still lame the other day after her trim....but today she trotted across the pasture to get to me (usually she just walks) and stood pretty square. Hopefully she is improving! I am going to give her a bit more time off and hopefully around her next trim (end of the month) I can start working her lightly again. She is sound in the pasture...I am considering trying to lunge her out there.

We'll see. She is looking great though. I posted new pics today after her bath and she looks so cute and fancy.

4Horses&Holding said...

I rode Justin out today - for the second time.

There is an update on his training log on the FHotD training forum.


KD said...

I've been reading your other blog most of this past year and thoroughly enjoy this training blog.

I'm 52 and love camping and trail riding with my friends. This weekend I sucked it up and went on a two hour ride in the woods by myself for the first time in about 15 years! (Well, I wasn't alone, I was on my horse, Stylin.) :) I had such a great time - saw 4 deer and even had one running parallel to us about 30 feet away while we were cantering down a long stretch.

Most of my buddies won't ride during the summer when it's so hot, so I might just be doing more early morning solo rides. Listening to others conquering their fears through the your blogs has helped a lot.

bluedude5 said...

Well done on your great ride

I just rode my mare again after I had been at home for study week (I study away from home so my horse is at uni with me) so I decided to be safe and lunge her first.
I ride english (all the way over in little New Zealand) and my mare is 11 but shes a complete reschool so we have our 'discussions' about going on the bit and to day was no different.
But all in all we had a pretty good ride and we actually got the right canter lead which we always struggle with so im happy with that.

Oh and our circles are crap coz of out shoulder balance so well done to you VLC!!

Dirty Harlot said...

Ok, first time poster, and I only skimmed over the other replies, so sorry if this has been said. You *can* teach him to keep his foot up even being small and weak. I used to trim professionally before I had my son 1.5 years ago and I'm no Schwarzenegger but I could teach any horse to keep his foot up. All you have to do is use lever forces and timing to your advantage. Let say you're holding up his right front hoof. Stand really close to him (snuggling into his shoulder), hold his pastern with your left hand and his toe with your right. If you feel him tense up and get ready to jerk, just pull up his toe as high as you can, even if it means pulling it higher than his belly! He won't be able to jerk it away, promise. He *might* try to drop down, so just hold on and talk to him, telling him to relax. As soon as he relaxes even a bit, give him his foot back. At this point I wouldn't worry about him putting it down nicely, just give it back. Honestly, it shouldn't take longer than half an hour to teach him to give you his foot and wait until it's given back.
I'm in Seattle; I'd come out and show you myself if you find me a babysitter :D.

Stelladorro said...

My mare started out today terribly. She took off at a dead run when I was halfway mounted, I tried throwing myself up the rest of the way. (In my mind I was thinking I was going to rip into her for *that* one) but instead my saddle slid to the side, I wound up getting drug about 4 strides and then my stirrup popped off and I hit the ground. So now I'm ridiculously sore, because according to my riding buddy, I hit the ground from a gallop on my head/neck. Ugh... Sad thing is, last time I got really tossed was two years ago while I was breaking this mare out and was practicing mounts and dismounts and she pulled the same trick… however, she's never pulled it since.

As I sat on the ground watching my crazy little Arab tear around the arena with her saddle near her belly and somehow both stirrups popped off... I just had to keep chanting "I love my horse... really... I love my horse..." The most irritating part was that once she ran back up to me, she stopped dead, and was just as completely calm as she was before I got on, which is her usually sweet, laid back self, so I couldn't really get after her for it.

But... after our start off fiasco, we managed to get a nice round canter, something that has been eluding us for far to long. So that was nice! Even though we only did it one direction, because by that point I was seriously sore.

I've decided though, that if I can continue to go two years between actual tosses (not just falling off, I swear there's a difference!), then I'm doing pretty well!

robyn said...

Re: back problems. My husband has back probs, saw an orthopedic sgn, has a couple bulging discs. Went to physical therapy for several months and is EXTREMELY diligent about doing back exercises, for flexibility and strength. It's made a huge difference for him and he no longer has pain. Strengthen your abdomen, that helps strengthen your back. You might look into that to help get your back stronger.

Karen V said...

I don't think it's "two steps back" at all. All the progress you've made is about riding. Think of like a train track. This is like a side track that will join up the main line again down the road. It may not run parallel to the main line, but it will join back up. And you aren't the conductor, you're the manager gal who sitting looking over the whole rail system. When you concentrate on the main line (the riding part) it's easy to get really excited and focus on that and let other things take 2nd place. (Make any sense?)

To keep all the track parallel, you'd have to spend quality, quantity time on each aspect.

How is he with the clippers? Can you do his muzzle?

*This from the one who doesn't ride much!* LOL!! (Bear in mind, I don't ride greenies either!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Clippers are next on the agenda! I am not sure he has ever seen them. I can't remember if we ever tried that, before I owned him.

Dirty Harlot, LOL, come on out. I have a 35 year old mare who will happily do pony rides if your little one is old enough for that!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Stelladorro - geez, sorry to hear about that! I do have a mare that takes off trotting and I used to own one that took off cantering. I always got lucky and landed on the horse. I'm glad you had a good ride anyway - good for you for not chickening out. I am sure you are going to need some serious advil tomorrow though - that sounds like a very painful fall.

Lisa said...

Wow, one step back, two steps forward definitely describes my weekend. Maybe it was something in the air...

I think I've lamented at least a dozen times that we have no ring or good riding area at my barn. The only level ground is at the far end of the farm, out of site of the barn. Miss Priss filly hates working down there. But we can't just stay on the hilly small area around the barn forever! Especially not if I want to introduce things like cantering and jumping in the not so distant future.

Anyway, we worked down at the far end of the farm Saturday. Her habit of popping her shoulder/rubber-necking/ignoring my aids at the trot returned. We went through this a few months ago, but I thought she was over it. Of course she had a relapse in the big scary field. Basically, I'll be working her on a circle and she'll pop her shoulder and try to continue straight towards home instead of keeping the bend and turning away from home. She only does this at the trot. At the walk, her response to my leg/seat/rein aids couldn't be better.

Anyway, she immediately tried it going to the right at a trot, but we got it sorted out fairly quickly. I figured we'd reverse, just trot a few circles to the left, and be done. Ha!

As soon as we picked up the trot to the left, she started with the shoulder popping again. Although this time she flat out ignored my leg/seat/rein aids to correct her. She just grabbed the bit and started trucking towards home at the trot. I gave her a smack with my crop on her side to remind her, ahem, I'm asking you something and you should probably respond. Oh, and she responded alright. The little shit responded by half-rearing and taking off crow-hopping and bucking towards home.

After her hissy fit was over and I won the battle, she finally started responding normally to my aids at the trot. She definitely still had a bug up her ass, though, and was on pins and needles just looking for an excuse to blow up. Luckily, she found none, and we trotted a few circles to the left without her popping her shoulder. That was good enough for me.

The half-rearing thing really pissed the hell out of me, though. I know it was hot and we both on the brink of frustration, but WTF filly? The last thing I need is a rearing problem to deal with. But overall, I think it was a productive ride because we were able to school in the "scary" big field and work through her vices. I just could have done without the fireworks.

Dirty Harlot said...

Cathy, email me olesja @ and I'll give you my phone number. Really, this is just him being silly and shouldn't take long to fix. My son is too young for pony rides, he's only 1.5 years, but maybe we'll be able to work something out.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Lisa, it was definitely a productive ride as you worked through it! It's so hard when you don't have a proper arena to work in. I give you a lot of credit for dealing with baby tantrums out in the field!

Heidi the Hick said...

I went to a horse show. Like, I rode in a horse show. In a class.

We planned to go there for my daughter to ride, but I got to thinking... if we're taking the pony... and I ride the pony too...

I did okay, but as usual I rode so much better in the warm up ring! That's my issue: Keep riding in the ring. Don't freeze up. I can relax now, but the brain stops working.

Well, that and my darn feet. My heels are always down, but my toes are sticking out. Practically sideways. It's ugly and ineffective.

Otherwise, the pony was her adorable silly self, my coach was happy with this particular little saddle club, and we'll probably be back.

Oh- and I drove the rig home!!! First time in about four years. And I was awesome.

Heidi the Hick said...

I haven't read all the comments yet, but I'm thinking about your boy's hoof issues. My mare isn't real good with the hooves either. She darn well should be over it by now, but I do think it has a lot to do with her little leg injury as a yearling.

Interestingly enough, when I'm out there for a week or so, she gets so much better. Could have something to do with me picking up her hooves twice each day. My Dad takes good care of them, but the hoof picking thing for him is kind of, check for cracks, if they're not full of mud inside, leave 'em. He just doesn't make her hold her hooves up for a stretch of time.

I've been counting. I count how long until she tries to pull it away from me. (I'm also small and weak with a wonky back!) Then the next time, I let it down before she struggles. Then I pick it up again and try to hold it a bit longer each time. REally time consuming and not proven but it seems to work. I'll test it out more fully when I go to the farm for "holidays" in July.

Skint said...

Sounds like your VLC and my VSM (very stubborn mare) went to the same "wont lift my foot" clinic, wonder if old Pat Parelli was running that one?!

You see, I thought that as she was an OTTB, she would be used to having her feet picked up, turns out I may have been a bit naive in that assumption.
We made progress, then she got a hoof abscess, and we were back to square -10! She is better, but has off days, where it can take 10-15 mins to pick out her feet. She can kick out any of her legs at almost any angle,although thankfully not directly *at* you if that makes sense. I am sure she does TB tai chi in her spare time.
We dont hang on to the hoof, but let go and start again....and again.
That being said, she is pretty good with the farrier, except for the back right, he thinks she may be stiff in that leg, and wants us to try giving her a dose of bute before his next visit. Will try it, or he may not come back!
Good luck with VLC, you're doing really well with him!

Skint said...

just wanted to add, I think it's a smart idea to hire a young strong guy. When VSM had her abscess, my back, legs etc ached like i had done 100 squat thrusts (or whatever)

bigpainthorse said...

We're working on smooth and easy transitions in the saddle now and things were going great until I made the mistake of indulging myself and taking advantage of a handful of wild turkeys who had wandered up to the arena fence to do a little "herding" practice.

(I had all kinds of excuses made up about training opportunities and despooking and blah-blah-blah, but what it came down to was that I wanted to herd the damn turkeys and I did, stupid as that sounds.)

Well, she did great, turned on a dime, tracked them nicely and we pulled even and turned in and away they went, running away from the fence and down the path to the other barn. Yee-hah.

But then she was totally wound up, and wanted to run-run-run! So the slow transition work became cantering practice, smooth and even, consistent pace, good collection. It was fun!

Yesterday I was hoping for more of the same but 1) no turkeys 2) jiggy horse with lots of energy but not much focus, which led to 3) a seam blister on my backside. Ouch. (Note to self: don't wear that jeans/underwear combination in saddle again!)

fssunnysd said...

Preparing for rocks to be thrown here, but regarding the picking up feet issue -- have you tried/considered trying a clicker?

I'm certainly not recommending stuffing a carrot in his face when he tries to kick you, lol -- love the boot in the belly, and he definitely deserved it! But I have had good luck with the clicker with youngsters and some of the older ones sketchy about or resistant to good feet manners. The older broodies I'll negotiate with - sore legs, heavy belly, I can bend over a bit farther if it makes them more comfortable, and if they need a break they get one.

The young ones learn really quick that they don't get clicked/treated unless that foot a) can be handled b) can be picked up c) stays where I want it until I set it down.

Good behavior get positive reinforcement, poor behavior gets at best, no click, and if it's a bite or a kick they get a three-second "killing".

Picking up a foot is my fall back "you can do it and get rewarded" ask. If they're whacked out about something or stuck in neutral, sometimes having them give a foot releases some tension, lets them do something right, and kick starts the brain again. I do it a LOT with the babies and the younger horses when we're doing groundwork, and after a while they get pretty automatic.

Chezza said... I stil have some 'rerider' nervousness, but my mare Chai and I did a XC Schooling over Beginner Novice jumps at Flying Cross Farms this weekend. I feel I conquered my fears and that despite feeling I could use alot of work, the clinician told my regular trainer I had GREAT BALANCE, which is about the BEST compliment I can imagine!
So now getting us both back in shape....for me both riding AND in the gym and to show the world what an old trail rider with several years off can do! LOL

loneplainsman said...

Been having some really good rides lately! That's always good to have - but nothing really worth posting about.

I did want to say, however, GOOD FOR YOU getting help when you know you can't do something! Admitting defeat is sometimes a hard thing for us horsepeople to do - so kudos to you for doing what's best for yourself and the VLC!

crazyhorse said...

My weekend with the Doofus was fantastic...we have moved out into the wide open (perhaps 15 plus acres front pasture) and he is totally controllable if not even LAZY! I worried about riding him out in the area where he had grown up, romped and tore about, enjoyed his babyhood...but he was fine almost lazy...Next time we go out there it will be time to lope...his lope has slowed way down and he has learned I do not enjoy a fast erratic trot and it is all sweet and comfy when he develops a cadence and we just jog...he likes that a lot!
No shows until September and tonight we dodged a tornado...just my luck to have the barn come down again just when I am so ready to move on in a big way!
I hate Florida but I think me and Iowa wouldnt be very happy right now either...
Hey Fugs, just like with loading, I would get in his face when he doesnt give his foot...He has no clue he outweighs you by mega-tons...when he doesnt lift that foot, come unglued on his yella ass! Make him MOVE! Just like that kick in his gut for the cow-kick (YOU GO GIRL!) he needs to realize you are not asking him to do anything more than hand you his %$#@! foot...Wop that ass a good one twice and he will be quick to comply...Sure he will pick it up for a trainer and as soon as that trainer is out the door, VLC will plant 'em and bust your back again.

The_Blue_Barrel said...

This worked for me: Sit down next to your horse and massage his legs from the knee down, long.. slow, and caring massage. No bending over - so no back pain. You can even get a low stool, you'll look like you are milking a cow actually.

I don't cross tie, but did have a friend hold my guy with the lead rope. We had a long conversation while I was massaging my horses legs.

Move from one leg to the next, and spend time on each leg. He's not relaxed, that's where his problem is, he has tension and that means to him that he HAS to move something - then he YANKs his foot away from you. He hasn't any clue what you REALLY want to do with his leg or hoof, you have to prove to him that you are something comforting.