Two a days

He came in with no shoes! His hoof is not torn up and he seems perfectly fine on the pasture grass and in the sand arena, so perhaps we can just leave him be until he tells us that he needs shoes.

I brought him in and tacked him in the morning and lunged him. He is getting stronger all the time. He still loses the lead in back but it is becoming less frequent. His canter and trot are becoming more relaxed during this process too.

I got in the tack and did more work in bending and leg yielding and transitions between gaits. He did very well.

I added Purina SuperSport to his regimen to provide essential amino acids for muscle building.

In the evening I had a short lunge session with him and then put my working student in the tack for some walk and trot work. They both did very well:

Small canter breakthrough

Brought him in, tacked him up and out to lunge.  The first few times I had lunged him, he was going more quickly than ideal and doing a sort of octagon – go straight a few steps, turn, go straight a few steps, turn, etc.  Today, he figured out that he could relax and just keep mildly turning and when we got to canter it was much improved.

I got on and introduced the concept of leg yield, which he says is hard, but that is predictable since he is working on gaining strength behind.  But he made a gallant attempt at it and received much praise.

Thunder

I tacked him up for a quick ride ahead of the storms that I was hearing about on weather radio to our west.  I lunged him and he is getting better about holding his lead in the back.  Still not easy for him, but he is getting better and can hold it for a few circles on the lunge now.

I got in the tack and helped him understand about yielding to the leg.  All our work was in walk and trot and will remain so until we get him stronger in canter.  I introduced walk and then trot serpentine, which was hard a first, but he caught on quickly.  He was very good and the storms ended up going around us, so double bonus!

Vet visit

IMG_6675Dr. Carly Ross was out today for vaccinations, coggins and a check for a dental.  He did have some sharp edges on his molars so she floated them.  He was well behaved throughout.  I hope he will be more comfortable with the bit as well.

Elsa on a mission

The thunder was distant when I tacked Elsa up and set out on a hack.  We trotted down the hill, took a walk break and then trotted back up.  She was excellent.

Then we went around the field on the woods side in all gaits.  We turned around and walked back to cool out.

First ride on Al

So, the horse’s name is L’s Imprint and his mom wants to call him “L”, but I can’t get any of my working students to say it because “Elle” is a girl’s name, so he’s become “Al”.  I hope this can work.   He seems to like it.

I tacked him and lunged him tonight.  When we were tacking we were working on him moving away from pressure – yielding a hip and stepping over in the cross ties.  This was not his favorite concept, but he got on board.  He was much better on the lunge tonight, mostly balanced and getting  better on voice commands.  He really didn’t know whoa to any great extent at the beginning of the lesson, but he had a pretty good understanding by the end.  He’s a smart man.

Since we had whoa and he was pretty sensible, I got on.  He stood well for mounting.  I sent him off in a walk and he was pretty nervous.  We walked around for about 10 minutes until he settled a bit, then we did a few halts which were pretty horrific, with much head tossing and resistance, though he did eventually stop.  He just had no idea about contact.  After a few minutes, though, he settled quite a bit.

So on to trot we went, doing simple figures.  He got better and better and this is how he looked at the end:

Better canter

After grooming and saddling, which left him completely unfazed, I put him on the lunge line and he was much more relaxed today.  Trot work was still a little hurried, but improved.  Canter work was much better today than yesterday, when nerves caused him to cross canter at times.

We had some in hand work and he remembered everything from yesterday and we were able to fine tune a few things.  Very good

It begins

ElleHe had spent the day hanging around our small herd of 4 horses in the pasture, but not really a part of the herd.  He is wisely keeping a little distance and there seems to be little drama going on.

I caught him easily in the pasture and led him in.  We had some discussions about proper leading and he picked it up quickly. I brought him in and groomed him and he was quite well-behaved.  I clipped his bridle path and legs and worked on his mane.   I led him into the arena and he was unfazed.  I put him on the lunge line to the left and he did well.  Then I asked him to go to the right and he was not really about it.  Lots of horses aren’t used to a handler on the right and he’s one of them.  I worked with him on it and he got better and better quickly.

I did some introductory in hand work to help him understand the importance of yielding to pressure and he picked it up very quickly.  I gave him a nice rinse and then turned him back out with the group.

L arrives

ElleI picked up L at his home, where he looked in really good weight and was quite relaxed.  He loaded on to the step up trailer with no trouble despite the probable fact that he had never seen a trailer without a ramp.  I stopped in DSM and taught a lesson and he and my horse, who was also on the trailer, stood quietly while they waited.  We hauled home after that and offloaded.  He had a moment’s hesitation in stepping down off the trailer.  I gave him a chance to figure it out on his own and he proceeded to step quietly off with no trouble.

I turned him into a paddock and he was very quiet, just walked around and started grazing.  When I gave him some grain he picked at it and also didn’t drink much water.  He actually seemed a little depressed.  He spent the night in the paddock.

ElleWhen we got home from a kennel work day for the hunt on Saturday afternoon, one of my other horses was hanging out in an adjacent pasture apparently keeping L company.  So I turned them out together in one of the pastures and they got along well.  Or at least nobody squealed or chased anybody.  The bay on the extreme left is L, the other is Eddie.  I didn’t ask anything of him these first two days.  I wanted to make sure he was eating and drinking first.