I brought Harley in and he seemed happy to see me, which was pretty fun. I groomed him and tacked up and went into the arena. He had a few squealing fits at the very start, but we discussed and they stopped. Then on to some work in all gaits which started out a little exuberant, but ended up like this (which is good):
In the second video he is still quite mannerly, but you can see that he wants to carry his hip to the inside when traveling to the left. I do agree with Dr. Woodford about perhaps having his stifle looked at:
I brought him in and tacked him up and he was good. When I attached the lunge line he did his squeal/rear thing and I nipped it in the bud. He got down to business pretty quickly on the lunge line with only a few moments of naughty. At the end of the session he explored a new option – going slowly and relaxing. He even did this before he got all the way to completely lathered up. Our boy may be growing up!
I brought him in and took his blanket off and let him blow off some steam in the indoor. And steam he did. Lots of bucking and carrying on. My horses at home are doing this too, so I’m not too worried. The footing outside is so nasty that they don’t want to move, let alone run about enough to burn off some energy. Once they get in the indoor on good footing, they let loose!
Then I caught him easily and brought him in for grooming and tacking, which went fine. Lunging was actually fairly good today. We had a few moments of inversion or quickness, but much improved in general, I would say.
After grooming, I tacked him up and took him to the arena. I had just attached the lunge line when he squealed and reared up. I told him he should be embarrassed because he sounded like a mare and directed him to settle down, which he did. I think it is merely high spirits, but he has got to expand his emotional control skill set.
When we got to lunging, it was the usual at first – hard for him to stay in trot without much reminding and then much cavorting and carrying on when allowed to canter. The good news is that he is settling more quickly, which is actually a very good indication.
Drama still moderate, but the amount of time to settle to good horse mode is improving. At the end, he was relaxed over his feet in both trot and canter in both directions. He needs to be worked as close to every day as possible. Tomorrow and Sunday may be too cold to do so, but as soon as we can, we should try to get back into daily work.
Yes, this picture is not from today, but it is appropriate! He is starting to become more relaxed in the work (at times, and especially at the end of the session.)
Raining outside and his blanket was just starting to get soaked through, but he remained dry underneath. He started out quite monkey-like again today, but the time it takes each session for him to act like a polite member of horse society is decreasing, which is great.
So Harley pitched another fit today, this time on the lunge line. As he did, I started to review his training arc. He had been progressing well and then he started to act out. I took a step back and looked at him and realized he is quite, um, rubinesque. Ok, he’s chunky.
If his grain has not changed, maybe his hay has. I noticed that the hay in the stalls in the barn is dairy-quality alfalfa – very high in protein and calories. I talked with Steve and he said he was thinking that Harley is getting 4 quarts of Progressive. I asked how much that was in weight and he said he would check with Cindy. Bottom line is that I think Harley is overfed and that is part of the training problems we are encountering. I hope you will agree to decrease his grain. I suggested that it be cut in half ASAP, but I’d really like him to go on Enrich Plus in light of the hay he is eating. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the hay, in fact it is excellent in quality protein, but if the hay improved to this level, less grain is indicated.
His workout started out dramatically, as I mentioned, but it got much better at the end. If he was misbehaving out of sheer overfed exuberance, that fits that pattern.
So I brought him in and groomed him and put the side reins on. I took him out to the arena and stopped to shut the gate. When I asked him to move again he gave a small rear. I turned to look at him and suggested he get over himself. He started to back up. I released all pressure. He was about 5 feet away from me when he decided to start trotting and then cantering around the arena. I shut the arena door and went to a corner to watch.
And there were fireworks to watch. I believe what I witnessed was a tantrum. He cantered and bucked and straight-legged bronced, and did all manner of hysterics. I let it run its course. It actually took about 5 minutes which is a pretty long time.
When he stopped, I went up to him and petted him and attached the lunge line and put him to his usual work. He eventually came around to lovely politeness.