Big accomplishment today- I trailered Louie over to C&D all by myself! And he was FABULOUS! He walked right into the trailer like a champ on the way there, and on the way back, it just took a tiny little bit of luring with a bucket of grain before he hopped right in. Lisa said it right yesterday- Louie is totally food-motivated. Good boy!
I came to the conclusion a couple of weeks ago, when I was thinking about trailering over to work Louie, that I really wasn't accomplishing a whole lot riding him once every other week. . . in training or conditioning. So I just gave that a rest until there were signs of hope that spring would eventually be here and I would eventually be able to work him more regularly. Well, we've had several days in a row with highs up to 40 degrees! It has been beautiful- and most of the snow has melted. Unfortunately we're expecting another cold snap and a snow storm up to 12 inches possible on Tuesday- so everything will freeze and be covered in snow and ice again. . . argh. Well at least I trust that it won't stick around too long. Spring is coming and thus it is time to get back to work!
So back to Louie- I just long lined him today. A good start back after about a month off of any real work. I decided that, since he can be a little squirley at times, I would use a blinker hood today to keep him focused. I think I've only put it on him once before for some lunging. Wow did that make a difference! He paid attention to me and didn't pull any funny business or try to tangle himself up in the lines like he sometimes does. We had the whole arena to ourselves and I brought my tennis shoes (easier to run in than boots), so we did lots of trotting the whole arena, and I think I got a better work out than Louie did!
After a real good warm up (I was panting), working on walking and trotting serpentines and on the rail and off, stopping, etc, we did a little bit of canter work. We made circles about 1/3 the size of the arena. Louie did alright with that, but he has really taken to kicking out when asked to canter. Not sure if this is just because he is excited or confused or what, but the first time or two in each direction that I asked him, he kinda goofed off shook his head or kicked on his way into the canter. I made an angry noise at him, then praised him after a couple of strides of canter and by the 3rd or 4th departure in each direction he had given up doing the wild horse show. I hope that with more regular work this behavior will go away- as I don't really enjoy it under saddle either. Unfortunately I find it really hard to discipline him for this when long lining because I don't want to canter him in such a tight circle that I can reach him with my whip, and I don't really have any way to discourage it from that far away besides vocally showing disapproval. So, we'll work through it and hope it goes away. The good thing is- he is going pretty nicely off of a kiss- and some persuasion from the whip on the ground once in a while too.
After that we cooled out, untacked, and headed home for lunch. All in all I was really happy with him, as it had been a while since we've done any real work, and it's probably been a couple of months since we were last able to long line. Hopefully I will be able to bring him back again tomorrow and get back into more of a regular work schedule with him. Daylight savings starts tomorrow- hooray!