Friday, September 16, 2011

Training Two Horses

This morning started out cool and foggy but cleared to blue skies and comfortable warmth.

Finessa just doesn't seem to be able to kick her founder.  Yesterday, I noticed a bounding pulse in her fetlock so I started her on bute.  Poor little girl.  I worry about her.

I went down to the barn in the mid-afternoon to work with the horses.  I worked with Jackson first. 

He is still on his two weeks of stall rest with hand walking.  I have been using Kate's (A Year With Horses) methods because I really admire how she works with her horses, particularly from the ground.  I am much more comfortable on a horse versus hand walking.  I'm sure this is partly due to the difficulty I had with my previous horse.  He was very hot, very big, and very fearful.  When he tore his suspensory ligament, I had to hand walk him during his recovery.  It was impossible to control him without a stud chain.  Most of the time I walked him in the arena because he would relax in there.  

 I've been walking Jackson along our bridle paths.  He's a level headed boy and well mannered.  The only time he gets "wild" is when we encounter other horses in a pasture.  If they start running around he gets happy feet.  So, I have been avoiding walking him by our neighbors who have horses.  I decided to go for it today.  I've been very strict on our walks about him staying next to me and not invading my space.  When we got next to our neighbor's horses, they started cantering around just as I expected they might.  Jackson's head went straight up in the air and he started to prance.  I immediately backed him up, then we halted and I kept the pressure on until he lowered his head.  We had to repeat this numerous times on our way out and on our way back, but by the time we got past them the second time he was very relaxed and obedient.  Thank you Kate!

 Next, I grabbed Flash's halter to get him out.  Brett has been working a lot this week so he hasn't had time to ride.  I told him I would work Flash for him today. 

Guess who showed up...

I don't know how she knew I was in the barn but she did. 

Flash was, well...  um...  how do I say this diplomatically (since Brett reads my blog).... exhausting.  Brett and Flash have always had a tendency to get into bracing wars.  When we were taking regular lessons, this greatly diminished.  But, Brett hasn't been taking lessons with our trainer while Jackson's been out of commission.  He's been focusing more on his mounted training.  That combined with, what I'm guessing, a loss of some confidence after falling off has created a very stiff, bracing Flash.  It took forever to get him to lift his back.  He grabbed the bit and pulled back against me.  I had to work over and over again teaching him that the release comes when he gives.  My fingers ache from that part.  At walk and trot, he ignored my inside leg and refused to bend.  We did lots of spiraling in and out -- my legs are about to fall off.  At canter, I worked on getting him to push from behind, lift his back and bend.  My abs and my shoulders are talking. 

I'm wiped.  Flash is wiped.  We both needed a long drink afterwards.


  1. i admire as much 'work' as you put into your horses and their training. :)

  2. Sounds good - I'm pleased I was able to describe something that worked for you. On the bracing, try lots of turns - it's harder to brace when the horse isn't using both side of the neck at once.

  3. That first photo is really nice! What are we going to do with Bella!?


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