Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Winter is Here
Winter is Here
We had some lovely spring-like weather last week—and then it happened—winter. We are having very cold weather, and the forecast looks colder. The driveway was too icy to take the horses out on Sunday, but I barely minded—it was in the low 20s when we were riding. With all this cold weather, I am sure the river will be freezing. We may be out of good trail rides for weeks or even a few months—very depressing.
I have been staying very busy working the horses in the arena. Each week, I am taking a day off to help manage all these horses. Only 4 more weeks before Ellen will be able to help out, again. My riding is improving, and that is a good thing. It is one thing to practice circles on one horse—a far different thing to practice on four.
Here is a brief update on each:
He went through a phase where he just didn’t want to work. I adjusted our workout by starting with a bunch of tricks—side pass, turn on the haunches, transitions and leg yield attempts—with lots of clicks. It seems to be putting him in the right frame of mind, so when I start to really work, he is more enthusiastic. We have been attempting to do a leg yield at a trot, but since Cole is an over achiever, he is doing a sidepass at a trot. I have been shaping him to go more forward, and I think I will have it by spring. Last night, I introduced shoulder in at a walk, and he seemed to get it right away. I have taken him out on the trail whenever I can, and he has had some hyper moments to say the least, but most of the time, he has been terrific. A few of the days had very bad footing due to snow and ice, and he trotted very carefully when I needed him to.
I am riding him about 3 times a week, and leading him the rest of the time. Most of the time when I ride, I do a little trotting. He has been improving, and he feels stronger and more balanced—even though it has only been a couple weeks. He seems happier now that he is working, but I might be just projecting my feelings to him. No further signs of digestive discomfort, I am very happy to say.
Dante is doing very nicely. He is a very steady and consistent horse to begin with, and that is only improving. He is starting to understand inter-gait transitions. The neat thing is—if I get him to go faster or slower—he then stays at that speed until I ask him to change it. I am getting more precision with him. He bending and circles are improving. Ellen is pretty happy with what he has been doing. We still haven’t gotten the canter in the arena, though. I hardly care since his trot is just so nice. My niece has been riding him about once a week, and he is really helping her learn to ride. Last week, I did bring him on a trail ride, and he was a bit excited since another person that we never met joined us, but he still contained himself.
Ranger is tough because of his arthritis. He needs a long warm up, and he isn’t too enthusiastic about the work. A couple rides ago, I thought of clicking him when he trots a little livelier, and that is helping. I will keep up with it, and maybe it will make a difference. I did take him out on the trail before the weather turned and we had a great time. Some days, I just take him on a walk on the hill—and we have fun. He is a very pleasant horse to lead and since he has a terrific walk in spite of arthritis, you get a good workout with him.
He is completely recovered from his hoof abscess! Kevin has been riding him whenever the weather is nice.