Friday, January 20, 2012

First Day of Training

Yesterday, I didn't do much with Winston other than work with him on blanketing.  He had the day to get used to his paddock, the other horses, Tuffy and Finessa, and all the sounds and smells that go with a new place.
He settled in well with a minimum amount of drama.

Kalvin is on time out during the day.  He is being a bit too aggressive with the whole "I am alpha" thing.  He charges Winston, bending the pipe corral between them, and won't give it a rest.  We want Winston to feel safe in his paddock, we want him to relax, to eat and drink and make friends.  Flash is indifferent; Jackson is friendly; Finessa is shy; and Tuffy is ... Tuffy.  He runs and bucks and acts like Mr. Bigshot from the safety of his side of the paddock.  Tuffy and Winston enjoy running the length of the paddock together.

Jackson is taking it all in stride.  The first time we let him out into the pasture, he trotted over to Winston and they touched noses.  Then they settled down to the business of scratching each other's withers.  I've explained and explained to Jackson that I don't love him any less and that he doesn't have to worry about not having a job.  His job is to be my heart horse.  I think he gets it.

When I worked Winston today, Jackson watched but with interest and not concern.  He didn't call or snake his head at me, he didn't give me the hairy eyeball or pout.  I was amazed -- and so happy.

The first thing we worked with Winston on is blanketing.  He is used to having his blanket removed by undoing the front and sliding it off like a saddle.  We're lazy and we like to blanket by putting it over the horse's head.  Winston's blanket doesn't have an easy clip in the front so I wanted to teach him our method so Brett wouldn't have to deal with the front closure.  We tried it for the first time yesterday.  He caught on fast -- He was fine taking it off over his head the first time.  It took about five minutes to get it back on -- sticking your head through a small opening isn't something horses naturally enjoy.  Taking it off this morning was a breeze.

It might have been due to the coaching he got from Jackson.

Winston was happy to come out and work.  He led well and stood quietly at the tie rail.  My tack fits him.  Glory hallelujah!!

He was a little nervous and prancy walking out to the arena so I decided to longe him first.  I worked him for about 10 minutes -- just long enough for him to relax.  He didn't pull or otherwise misbehave.  Good boy.

Even at canter, there is a nice soft drape in the longe line. 
When I got on, he stood still at the mounting block.  We didn't work long and spent most of our time at walk.  I wanted him to relax, to lift his back, stretch long and low, and to swing.  When we had that, I did a little bit of trot work -- mostly because he really wanted to.  Coming from a jumping background, I think work to him is pretty fast paced.  When we finished, he seemed to understand and he seemed pleased.  I know I was.

After putting him back in his paddock, I took out Jackson.  He was in need of some serious grooming.  Here's his latest entry in the dirtiest horse contest.

Rub-a-dub-dub  -- sponge bath and thorough grooming

Much better!


  1. You must be in heaven! Winston looks great (I put blankets on the same way you do and they are fine with it). It's nice that you give Jackson equal time. It appears that he is moving better today.

  2. winston really seems like a good boy! trusts you very easily! nice!

    and i'm glad jackson is okay with his new job - so far so good!

  3. Winston is going to be a superstar. What a sensible smart boy. Glad it all went so smoothly with him today. Jackson did look interested and I'm sure he knows he's your heart horse and you'll have a wonderful time interacting with him still. After all somebody had to clean that dirt off right!

  4. Sounds like a GREAT first work at home! He is such a pretty boy!

  5. who's your photographer? great shots. seems like he was blanket trained the night before. is that possible?

  6. Annette--Your new horse looks great, and having been through the "switch" myself, I can assure you that my former riding horse, now retired, never seemed to mind at all.

    I have a thought for you. If Jackson were mine, I would take some weight off of him. It might help make him more comfortable. I am no vet, but he looks on the plump side to me and in general horses with laminitus are best served by being a little lean. I'm sure you already know this--please ignore if it doesn't sound right. I haven't seen Jackson in real life and am only going by the photos in your current post. But it might be one simple thing you could do that would help him.

  7. I agree with Laura Crum, & I was trying to think of a tactful way to bring it up too!

    (please don't be offended!)


  8. Two fabulous boys. That third photo of you and Jackson melts my heart, the one of Winston tacked up and longing is just lovely. You are going to have so much fun and Jackson understands...he knows he can't physically do what you are doing with Winston, he'll be happy to be your heart horse.

  9. Winston seems to be a horse that you can have fun with and right away. What a treat!

    I am glad that Jackson is content with your love and affection. In my favorite children's books the horses were called "Sacred Dogs". Jackson can be your sacred dog now and you can tell him all about your training journey with Winston.

  10. Who knows what horses really think, but that lovely photo of you and Jackson suggests he's very okay with the situation. Perhaps it's a relief to him.

    Looking forward to following you and Winston's progress. Congratulations :)

  11. Glad you got your horse home safe and sound. He appears quite sensible doesn't he...that will make for an easy transition. Have fun. Kiss Jacksons nose for me...I feel bad for him being a little under the weather again.

  12. I'm glad Jackson likes him! Winston is such a smart, beautiful boy. I'm so happy for you!


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