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.

Forward please!

I brought him in and tacked up with no problem.  Then I brought him in to the arena and got on and he was fine in walk, but in trot he was resistant to my leg.  I got off and put him on the lunge line and reminded him what a cluck means.  I got back on and he was MUCH improved, with some good stretching over his topline.

Our goal for this spring (through the end of March) should be to have him consistently forward and light to the leg.  I like him very much and there is much more talent in there than we are being allowed to see.

Stretching

I brought him and put him in the cross ties.  His leading is much better and he stood in the cross ties beautifully.  After tacking we went into the arena and did some in hand work, focusing on stretching down and relaxing the base of his neck, which he started to understand quite nicely.

Under saddle, the goal of the day was stepping over his topline.  There is much to improve in consistency, but there was some nice stretching.

Rain and lunging

It was raining and about 35 degrees all day.  His blanket got soaked through and he was just starting to get wet when I brought him in.  (After I worked him Cindy put a dry blanket on him for the night).

I groomed him and put a surcingle and side reins on him and lunged him.  The point is to get him to come over his topline and stretch down to the bit.  I lunged him in the east side of the arena so that he was forced deal with the scary tarp as he goes by.

He’s a funny guy in that he shies at the tarp only occasionally.  As he got warmed up and really going forward and through his topline he shied less and less until it was nearly nonexistent.  He actually needs a lot of work like this to help him get stronger in his body and over his topline.

Forward and whip over-reaction

So I brought him in and tacked him up and he stood beautifully.  He really values interaction, and he is amusingly playful.  I went out and mounted up and he did well in walk, stretching over his topline and dealing pretty well with the tarp that was flung over the arena rail in a new place.

When we went into trot, he was way behind my leg and not agreeing to get off it.  I hopped off and put him on the lunge line to re-install forward.  He had a near panic attack when I picked up the lunge whip, so we ended up doing the rest of the session as a desensitizing exercise.

In the end he was doing some very nice work.

Tag starts to loosen

He came in and stood in the cross ties pretty well.  He’s a sweet boy.  The snaps on the front of his blanket are starting to fail in that after they are clipped on, the tongue doesn’t snap back automatically to close it.  The snaps are easily replaceable and I would suggest you get some news ones put on as soon as you can.

We started out in walk and he went forward pretty well.  Then on to trot where he is not really through, but it improved as the ride went on.  Canter started out tight, but it also improved.  There is a lot in there.  He’s a nice horse and coming along.  He enjoyed the candy canes I gave him at the end.

lunging

He stood very nicely in the cross ties and as I was grooming him it occurred to me that he hasn’t been ridden in 8 days.  I thought I might lunge him first.

That was a pretty good idea because he was pretty exuberant on the lunge line.  It ended up being a lunge lesson in proper behavior.  He came around beautifully and was quite the gentleman at the end.

He is quite the character, by the way.  He really likes interaction and loves to have his face rubbed1

Wheeeeee!

Taz is proud of himself at the end of the ride.

Tag is proud of himself at the end of the ride.

So I brought him in and tacked up and he stood very nicely.  The rope halter may have had something to do with it or it could be that I gave his face a nice brushing and massage.  He liked the massage a lot.  I rode him in my Micklem bridle with the french link snaffle.  Some horses have trouble stretching to a slow twist because they can’t trust it, so I decided to take that out of the equation.

I took him out into the arena and he seemed a little light on his toes.  We went forward to continue with the walk work we did yesterday and he was doing pretty well until he was so far behind my leg that I booted him one (no spurs on) and he took off across the arena in a strong canter.  We got that straightened out and then went back to the walk work, which started to come through nicely, then on to trot.

He was not really about coming forward, let alone through, in the trot.  It took quite a while to get it and he wanted to canter rather than really trot forward.  He also wanted to take his attention elsewhere for any reason.  He put in a good shy at the east gate and when not shying at it, wanted to turn toward it as we went by.  Same with the north gate.  The south gate, where his friends are, never produced a shy.  This is classic “coming off the aids” and is not terribly desirable. By the end of the session he got it and we were both quite pleased.

I put him in his stall to rest and enjoy a flake of hay and cool out while I rode Elsa.  He actually rolled in the stall without any major difficulty.  Not idea, but amazing!

I brought him out of the stall and brushed the sawdust off him and required him to stand still with his neck down without being tied in the aisle while I put his blanket on.  This was a bit of a stretch for him, but he was mostly successful.  Good job, Tag!

Day one of the adventure

I brought him in and put him in the cross ties and he was unsettled.  Harley was in his stall cooling  out after his ride, so Tag was not alone.  I worked with him on lowering his neck and relaxing in the cross ties and he was doing well.  When I was putting the saddle on, I reached up to ask him to drop his neck again and he apparently had had enough of it so he decided to pull back.  I had been lazy and used Elsa’s halter to bring hm in, so it was Elsa’s halter he broke when he pulled back.  I will replace the halter because I should have had his on.  At any rate, I re-cross tied him and worked with him to lower his neck and he did.

He was required to walk with his neck down to the arena which he did pretty well.  So I got on and did some walk work asking him to flex laterally until he flexed longitudinally (came over his toppline) and kept his attention on me rather than casting his attention about looking for scary things.  Then I asked him to come forward from behind in to a big walk, which he eventually did.  This was actually a very good start.