Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener

Or should I say the snow is always whiter? Haha. Well today was another beautiful day, a perfect day to go see my favorite Saddlebred. The ground is hard and icy now from the thaw we had yesterday, so the footing is even worse than usual, but there were lots of little tidbits to work on today. Ahhhh for an indoor arena. . . unfortunately, I have to tough it out a few more months until I have a job secured.

Anyhow, so I brought Louie in to his stall for a snack, since I'm sure was hungry after his big workout yesterday. I spent a lot of time grooming him, brushing, conditioning his mane, going over his back and haunches with my massager, and other general up-keep. It was quite clear that Louie enjoyed this spa treatment (the 5th leg is a dead giveaway). So after he had just about finished his food, I brought the clippers out to take down the mohawk. He was a little startled by them, but this was probably the 3rd time I've clipped him since I got him (just bridlepath, muzzle and eyes). He is REALLY touchy about his ears, as he has aural plaques, so I am avoiding them with the clippers, but trying to gently desensitize him to having his ears touched. Louie tried to hide in the corner of his stall, but the clippers found him and he did just fine with it. I put a different blanket on him (one of my $30 winter blankets with 1200D ripstop exterior! heck of a deal), because the Weatherbeeta is too wide for him (rubbing his shoulders), and is too heavy for the nice weather we are having.

After this I walked him outside onto the driveway (a bit slippery, but not bad), and practiced some basic handling stuff and parking out. I was amazed at how well he did with the parking today! I just said "feet" and he pretty much did it- he's starting to really understand the word. Yay! So the vocal cue plus the whip on the elbow as needed is working really nicely for him. We worked on some showmanship, squaring up, backing, walking, and pivoting (pull and push turns) from both sides. He is doing great with this stuff, very light and easy to handle. The biggest obstacle here is his head- he likes to do the rubberneck sometimes and I have to remind him to keep his head straight forward, as that has a big impact on the straightness of our lines. He also once or twice almost hit me in the head with his head when I was on his right- he was thinking I was supposed to be on his left. hmmmm, more work needed, but I think he got the message. Practicing showmanship with a whip is a good thing!

Well all in all, today was a decent training day for Louie- he did well with the clippers, and is getting the parking out much better, and the showmanship is going smoothly as well. Now if I had an indoor arena we'd be set. Oh well, I'm off to reorganize all of my horse crap (boxes and boxes and boxes)- lots of sorting and re-boxing to figure out what I need and what I don't. Cheers!

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