Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Scorcher

We are in the middle of a heat wave that is supposed to end Friday.  It will be above 100F in the LA basin (where I work) and in the mid-90s at home.  Elevation does have its benefits.  It's also still quite humid (for us) at about 60%. 

This morning I rode Jackson before work.  Brett set up two trash cans, upside down, in the center of the arena.  He laid a pole between them.  It looked sort of like a jump.  The object though is to pick up one end of the pole, off of one of the trash cans, and then circle around the other trash can without dropping the pole.  Brett and Flash are going on a competitive trail ride Saturday so he wanted to practice.  I had hoped to go as well but Jackson still hasn't passed the "30 days without sore feet" benchmark so we're staying home.  The manuever looks easy but it isn't.  Your horse needs to stay calm while you are holding the pole.  Most horses do not like the pole; it feels to them like the pole is chasing them around the circle.  So, first your horse has to be calm and unafraid.  Jackson took a long time to get past the "that pole is going to get me" stage.  Then, you need to carefully leg yield around the other trash can.  If you circle in too close, the pole becomes unwieldy and if you circle out too far you either drop it or it falls off the trash can. 

Jackson seemed a bit off when I took him out of his stall.  Not lame off, but uneven off.  So, we didn't do much except practice halt to walk transitons and a few walk-trot ones.  I can get halt-walk and halt-trot pretty easily once he is thinking "light" and the other day he actually managed a halt-canter although it wasn't what I was asking for.  Jackson felt okay while we were warming up but I've learned to feel any hesitation and then back off.   If I don't, he ends up very off the next day and then we are back to square one.  I may put him back on bute for a few days to help with circulation in the foot and to get the laminae to settle.

As soon as we started our warm-up, Jackson kept wanting to walk over to the trashcans and poles.  I let him study them for a minute or two and then we gave it a shot.  We were able to walk around twice in both directions without losing the pole and keeping a good, even, comfortable distance.  Jackson remained calm and attentive throughout. 

It was a good exercise for a muggy morning.  ...and a good brain break for both of us.


  1. I like the sound of that exercise.

  2. That's a pretty cool exercise, I'll have to remember that! Good boy Jackson for being such a cool customer. Anyone that thinks ANYTHING to do with horses "sounds simple" doesn't know anything:)

  3. sorry for the heat wave - and the stickiness. we're finally getting some tolerable temps here - now, if we could get some rain to keep the fires at bay...

    poor jackson. really wish he'd heal (and i know you do too!)

  4. I wish I could get done what you get done in the mornings before work (sigh)


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