Cold and getting colder

I rode as early as I could in the afternoon before the temperatures started to fall. We had some very good work in all gaits, though, of course the connection is inconsistent yet, but each day is a little better. He was a bit distracted today, so to amuse both of us, I introduced 15 m circles to shoulder in. Of course the connection went all catywampus with the new exercise, but that is par for the course. It did improve quite a bit.

As I write this at 8:45 p.m. it is 9 degrees. They are all snug in the barn tonight with extra hay. I cut back his grain a bit tonight because they may or may not go out tomorrow and I want to avoid him tying up. They will likely go out, but just to be safe. In order for me to keep them in, it has to be really really windy and cold, like wind chills of -40. If they do go out, he can get in his run in with the southern exposure, and in any wind other than south, it is quite acceptable in there. Since the high for tomorrow is forecast to be 8, I imagine he will have the day off, with plenty of hay delivered by room service to his run in.

Two steps forward, one back

We had some very nice moments in trot work today and some monumentally awful canter. She was throwing her shoulders around, flinging her head and being a pill, especially to the right. The horses are cranky from dealing with the mud, so I didn’t bother her too much about it. Just got some brief good work so that I could let her be done. She feels quite sound and looks fine.

Not everyday is a leap forward. No worries.

Muddy December

Talk about wacky weather! We have never had mud like this in December, this feels more like March. His paddock is very muddy, but the run in is nice and dry. His tail was ropey mud for the bottom foot of it. It was too cold to rinse it out and it will just get muddy again, so I banged his tail below his hock. It looks smashing and if you don’t like it, it will be quite a bit longer by spring. I hope this decision is ok.

I rode him in the indoor, with more of the same – more work on him coming over his topline. This is such an important concept, which is fundamental to everything, that I don’t mind spending proper time on it. He is coming along nicely, with some moments of really good work and some reversions. He is leaning at times on the bit, just trying to figure it out, which is typical. Today he stretched in both trot and walk, which is great. Canter is coming along. Good day.

Coming over the topline in trot

Well, whadya know, today he continued to come over his topline in canter, and had some nice work in trot too. He is impressively inconsistent, which is to be expected, but also the point where many people lose faith, because it feels awful when they fall or root, or whatever thing they do as they are learning about connection. The trick is to stay consistent in your position and to keep riding forward. Nice breakthrough today and some real stretch down in trot. Great again.

Coming through in canter

So this coming over the topline business really comes from engaging the hindquarters and helping the horse learn to come over the topline and into a soft connection. Somewhat surprisingly to people is that it often happens in canter first. This happens because in a good canter, the horse is naturally more engaged behind, whereas it is easy to have a disengaged walk or trot – the horse just falls about the place on his forehand and nothing good happens.

Today in canter work, he started to come over his topline, which is great. It was inconsistent, but there. He had some nice stretch in canter too, which is fantastic. Great, great, great.

Beagling!

Elliot photobombs a shot of one of the beagles!

Elliot and his big goofy ears photobomb one of the beagles!

Got up in the wee hours and hauled to Yutan, NE to beagle with our beloved NHH. She loaded and hauled beautifully and tied very nicely and stood for tacking. Once I got on, she was a bit spooked by the duster I was wearing, which she made known by periodic scoots at the merest breeze. For half a second I thought about taking it off, but we had a little time to acclimate before the hunt, so we did and she accepted it fine.

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I think Jay was actually taking a picture of the truck and we got in the way! LOL.

On the hunt, Elliot was there to be her big brother and show her that she could indeed walk in slippery mud (the footing was actually fairly bad), and she managed, with only minor comment. She managed to rabbit home some footing changes here or there, but nothing of note. We did do some trotting and then a small canter, at which point she saw fit to put in a pretty good buck, but it passed quickly and we cantered on. Then we walked for a bit and she was relaxed, which is great. The hardest thing for your horses to learn, I think, is to canter and then walk or halt and stay relaxed.

While going through the woods, a beagle literally ran through her back legs and she didn’t react. I know she saw it run out because she flicked an ear. Pretty amazing. She had a few skitterish moments where she had to jig or twist her body. Young horse stuff. Great start.\

Alison and Madelyn

Alison and Madelyn came out to play with Max and watch a training session. We started out with some walk work, which was a little tight. Trot work was pretty good with him coming over his back and seeking contact in an elastic manner. Then we did just a bit of leg yield work, where he lost his throughness, which is not surprising right now.

Then on to some nice canter work, some fair to middling turn on the forehand (it will come), to more brief canters, and enough for the day. Fun to have Alison and Madelyn here!

Grids

Not too bad out there today at 25 degrees. We had a long walk warm up, then some trot work, addressing tempo, which tends to run a little quick. Then we did some lateral work, in turn on the hindquarters. She finds this a little challenging in that she likes to challenge the rider’s right to move her hindquarters, and coming over her topline during it is not going to happen for a bit. S’alright, it got a little better tonight.

Then we did some canter work and did some simple jumping grids. We had some crookedness issues that got better as we went. We have some connection issues, which are directly related to her misunderstanding of the availability of the option to sink behind the leg. We’ll get there.

Happy brothers

Are you kidding me with this pasture mate?  I specifically asked for a private room!

Are you kidding me with this pasture mate? I specifically asked for a private room!

In the hope that it will help him be less wary around other horses, and because it seemed like they would get along, I put Eddie in with Max this morning. They met with absolutely no drama and commenced to getting along beautifully all day, or at least every time I looked at them. When I left the barn tonight, they were eating off the same hay pile.

Turn on the forehand

Max is proud of himself!

Max is proud of himself!

Much colder today! During tacking he was a little fidgety so I took some extra time to see that his tack was all correct by untacking and re-tacking. He was better the second time, so either the problem got fixed or he got tired of fidgeting. Maybe there was a wrinkle in the saddle pad.

We went into the arena and he was quite relaxed. We warmed up in walk and trot, then did some lateral work review from yesterday and then introduced turn on the forehand. Then on to canter work where we worked on straightness and coming over his topline.

When it was time for a cool out walk, we walked with Megan on Elliot. Max is by turns fearful and slightly fear aggressive to other horses when near them. I’m guessing this is inexperience because he was already improving after just 10 minutes. Very good day.