Sunday, December 6, 2015

Need a Bigger Hug

While hugging all of my horses I discovered that Bombay has lost a lot of muscle.  Rock is a bit flabby, but meaty.  Lostine has a wide chest, and Gabbrielle is packed full of muscle.  All the horses have been eating well and are at a good weight, but Bombay definitely needs to build up some muscle, so I lunged him in the round pen today.

Sometimes I forget I have a round pen, because usually when I'm working with the horses, all I want to do is ride the trails.  I'm out of my arm wrap and brace, but slept on it awkwardly, so now the shoulder hurts.  I had to take some pain pills just to get out and work the horses.  It's always something.  I wake up most mornings feeling like I've been hit by a truck, so we put the topper back on the bed to see if it helps.  I've laid on my sides my entire life, but now I have to train myself to sleep on my back, because when I lay on my sides, I've got bone grinding on bone in my hips and shoulders.

Bombay practically lunged himself.  I just stood in the center of the round pen reminding him to take it easy so that he didn't flip on his side.  I swear that if the round pen were a bowl, he would have been flying around the sides.  I was worried that his legs would get caught under the railings.

Since Bombay didn't make me work to lunge him, I had the energy to lunge Rock too.  Rock was in rare form.  Normally, I have to really exert myself just to get him to move up out of the walk, but on this day he was galloping around, kicking out and bucking.  He looked like he was pacing at one point, like those Standardbreds that pull carriages all stretched out.  I'd never seen him move like that before.  He even had his tail arched like an Arab, despite being a QH/Paint.

Since Rock didn't make me work either, I had the energy to lunge Gabbrielle.  Same story.  The horse just lunged herself.  All was going well until she stopped to alert on something in the road.  It turned out to be a horseback rider who was cutting through my neighbor's property.  It was time for Gabbrielle to cool down, so I had her walk beside me without a lead rope.  She stayed in step with me, but occasionally got distracted by the other horse, so I kept clucking to keep her focused on me.

Then I moved on to maneuvering her every which way just using hand signals.  I was trying to get her to spin in a circle by pushing the palm of one hand toward her neck and the palm of the other hand toward her eye.  I had to remind myself to release the pressure each time she took a step in the right direction, then apply it again instead of continually putting pressure on her.  My horse trainer reminded me of that when I was trying to turn Bombay in a circle while neck reining him.  You have to release when the horse gives the right answer, and then ask again, because if you keep asking without the release, the horse thinks it is giving the wrong answer and starts doing something different.

P.S. was the one who taught Gabbrielle all of this at liberty stuff, and I'm amazed that Gabbrielle remembers it so well.  While she was showing off her moves to me, the horseback rider appeared on the ridge.  She was practicing an MFT gait on hard ground, going back and forth above my round pen.  Gabbrielle got excited and distracted, so I just kept asking for her to focus on me, and she did.  I was so proud of her.  Of course, she didn't perform as flawlessly with the distraction, but I really appreciated her effort to listen to me.  It wasn't too long ago that she'd throw me completely out of the picture as soon as a strange horse appeared on the horizon.  My horse trainer has been doing a good job getting her to listen better.

It's kind of funny, because I've seen this same lady bring her horses over to the ridge above my horse paddock to do ground work with them in the street where they could be distracted by my horses.

Well, you can probably guess that Gabbrielle didn't make me work hard either, so I had the energy to lunge Lostine too.  And you can probably guess that Lostine lunged herself.  At that point, I just sat down in the middle of the round pen and let her go.  She told me when she was tired.  Then I got up and pulled on her front legs to stretch them out.  While she was galloping, her hooves were thundering so loudly that a neighbor came out and watched from the cliff.  I think all the horses were happy to get their ya-yas out.  Hopefully, I can keep up this routine before my own distractions take me away.


Linda said...

It sounds like a great day. The best time/place to train is with distractions--so that was a good opportunity for you. I forget about my arena most of the time, too. I used to have a separate round pen, but used it so little, I combined it into the arena panels. Now, I wish I had a round pen again.

Crystal said...

Nice getting all 4 worked before running out of energy, that rarely happens here, I am lucky to get 1 sometimes 2 done.

achieve1dream said...

I was giggling that they were exercising themselves in the round pen when they could just as easily play together in their pasture lol. Shows they know what the round pen is for! It's like with dogs... people think if they have a huge yard they will exercise themselves, but most don't. I guess it's like us on the treadmill... it's boring exercising in your normal surroundings. :)