Tag on a hack

IMG_6250I brought him in and groomed him and he stood very well in the cross ties.  I picked up the dressage whip on the way out to the arena and when I did, he was worried.  So I rubbed it all over him and reassured him and after a bit he settled down nicely.  We worked in the arena on him going forward and coming over his back and he did very well.

Then we went out on a walk hack down the road.  I was asking him to keep his neck down and encouraging him to stretch over his topline.  He was nervous at first, but with reassurance he improved dramatically.  He could do well with a lot of hacking out.  He’s a sensitive guy and really wants to please.  Loves me some Tag.

Stretching goodness

I brought him in and brushed him and had a little conversation about standing still in the cross ties, which went well.  Then I tacked up and briefly lunged him.  He was well-behaved, but looked a little stiff to me.  I got in the tack and did a lot of stretching and he came to it right away – you must be doing some good work with him!  Had some great work in all three gaits and he was quite pleased with himself.  I untacked and let him roll in the arena, which he loved.

Proper ground manners

After our festival of ground work last week, we started out today with a pop quiz to see how much he retained.  We marched, in hand, down the hill and he walked with his neck down very well.  He just had one moment of indecision about who was in charge and with a cluck he was over it.  There is more work to be done here, but he showed really excellent retention!

Then I tacked up and rode him in the arena, where he was quite good in all gaits.  Even had some very nice breathing and stretching in all gaits.  Very good day!

Tag goes on a walk

Beautiful day out so I tacked him up and headed down the road.  He was not about going down the hill and gave me several unrequested  quick left pirouettes when he had decided he had gone far enough.  After the third one, I got off and smacked him on the butt with the whip.  That was a bad call, as he reared up and pulled the reins out of my hands and trotted merrily back to the barn.

I walked back and caught him without difficulty and we proceeded to walk in hand all the way down to the end of the road.  He was all over the place and acting like he was scared of everything.  For a while I thought he really was scared, but then as he started to come around, I realized that he just is really not broke.  He wants to move when you want him to be still and he wants to be still when you want him to move.  Really it is just a matter of who gets to decide, and he thinks it is him.  It took a while, but he finally stood still each time we stopped and walked forward politely both toward and away from the barn.  I don’t think he’s terribly comfortable out in the big world, but I also think it can be overcome with consistent work. By the end, we were walking and halting and turning toward and away from the barn with him being relaxed and polite.

Right where we left off

I brought him in and let him play for a bit in the indoor since they are not moving around a lot in the somewhat muddy paddocks.  He had a little play and a  couple of bucks.  I groomed him and tacked him up and we had a discussion about him standing still in the cross ties and keeping his neck down, which he agreed to.

Then I lunged him briefly where he was perfect.  I got in the tack and we worked on going forward and over his topline in walk, trot and canter, with some very good moments.  Excellent work.

Forward and loose

IMG_5436Had a very nice school with Tag tonight. He started out a bit behind the leg, but quickly came forward and started to loosen across his topline in short order. Some very good canter work late and some quite acceptable trot work. He had a nice roll in the arena when he was done.

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Forward and whip acclimation

Tag is proud of himself at the end of the ride

Tag is proud of himself at the end of the ride

I brought him in and groomed him and he stood quite well with only one exception where I reminded him that my space is to be respected – his hip is not allowed to barge into me.  He figured it out.  He had some small snowballs in his front feet.  With horses shod in winter, I recommend drilltek (a gripping aid) and snow poppers (that keep the snow from building up).

I got on and worked on getting him to let go in his poll, especially when counter bending to the right (so when going left).  At one point I switched the whip to the other side and then tapped him with it and he galloped off in fear.  It was pretty surprising, but didn’t feel like malice, so we did some whip acclimation, slowly and repeatedly switching it back and forth from side to side as we worked on stretching over the topline.  We got some  good “high chuffing” (the noise they make when they are loosening up) in both trot and canter.  Very nice.

IMG_5406At the walk warm down, I probably switched the whip side to side 50 times.  By the end he was largely ignoring the motion.  Excellent.

Then untack and a roll in the indoor.

Forward and whip acclimation

I brought him in and groomed him and he stood quite well with only one exception where I reminded him that my space is to be respected – his hip is not allowed to barge into me.  He figured it out.  He had some small snowballs in his front feet.  With horses shod in winter, I recommend drilltek (a gripping aid) and snow poppers (that keep the snow from building up).

I got on and worked on getting him to let go in his poll, especially when counter bending to the right (so when going left).  At one point I switched the whip to the other side and then tapped him with it and he galloped off in fear.  It was pretty surprising, but didn’t feel like malice, so we did some whip acclimation, slowly and repeatedly switching it back and forth from side to side as we worked on stretching over the topline.  We got some  good “high chuffing” (the noise they make when they are loosening up) in both trot and canter.  Very nice.

At the walk warm down, I probably switched the whip side to side 50 times.  By the end he was largely ignoring the motion.  Excellent.

Forward in relaxation

I brought him in and tacked him up and got on.  Yesterday’s frolicking in the indoor and lunging session was clearly helpful because he settled down to work today.  I did a lot of trotting and flexing and asking him to come loose in his poll, neck and back.  By the end he was pretty loose even in canter.  This is really good!

Tight back

So I brought him in and took his blanket off and then let him burn off some energy in the indoor.  He was more than happy to buck and cavort about for about 10 minutes.  After that he allowed me to catch him quite nicely.  I put him in the cross ties and tacked him up with a balancing rein and took him out to lunge.

He was quite the monkey at first, but quickly he settled into a nice walk rhythm and on to some nice trot work.  In the time that I was watching him cavort and buck about and in the time I was watching him in walk and trot on the lunge, it became apparent to me that he is very tight in his back.  He needs to get stronger through his topline to help him carry himself even better.  He is such an extravagant mover that he looks impressive, but when I really look at him, I see that he is really just flinging his legs rather than coming over his topline and using his core.

So on the lunge, I let the balancing rein encourage him to come down and forward with his neck, which he showed some nice effort and result at in all three gaits.  Work like this will really help him develop.