If only this were not so true . . .
Archive for category: General Training
If only this were not so true . . .
Watch this video interview with Kerry Blackmer being interviewed by Steuart Pittman. They are involved in the Retired Racehorse Training Project. There is some good information about the difference between homebreds vs. ex-race horses.
Training Tidbit. I work a lot with lateral flexion. Since I do not school everyday under saddle I incorporate flexion into my daily routine. I have made it a habit to ask for lateral flexion every time I halter. If Phil is stiff, I grab hold of mane near his withers to keep tension until he gives. I set a fairly easy goal of flexing 5 times on each side. If I feel Phil is particularly stiff on one side I will flex until he is soft.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Everytime you are within eyesight of your horse you are either training or undoing the training.
Another show this weekend!
Phil was muscle sore in his shoulder area on Monday. He has been in a larger pasture and playing a bit wreckless. I thought it would be fun to teach Phil some tricks such as bowing and shaking. In this lesson, ground manners (my space/your space, no eating grass, lateral flexion 2 oz. of pressure) and head down cue were reinforced. Chiropractic stretching was accomplished along with teaching to bow. It was a win-win situation. It was fun for both of us.
Phil recovered from his muscle soreness by Tuesday. The remainder of the week I worked him on the ground in the round pen until he was soft and responsive before riding. This week we were working on the left lead. Phil will pick up the right lead every time from a walk or trot. I choose to teach the canter in the 60ft round pen because I don’t have to worry about keeping Phil in a circle. I can concentrate on rewarding him for picking the correct lead and not worry about Phil scooting off in another direction to avoid my leg. It also gives Phil a visual/ physical guide to circling and bending. Phil knows the pre cue to a canter as a “kiss”, so I only have to use a little leg for support.
I am starting to see a completely different horse. Phil is now trying to please me. We are starting to communicate.
This past weekend Phil participated in another show. He brought home ribbons in Halter, Showmanship, Equitation and even tried out pole bending and cloverleaf barrels. He was a gentleman the entire day.
Morning feeding: Phil was polite. Mother Nature stepped in an offered a wonderful lesson…rain. Phil was very agitated with the big rain drops falling on him. He tensed his body, shook his head, tucked his tail, and humped his back. Phil’s pen has thick, mature tree cover, but doesn’t completely shelter him from the aggravating rain. As long as Phil was not in distress the best lesson he could learn is how to be a horse.
If I am at a show or on a trail ride far from home and it rains or storms I want to have a steadfast mount. The footing and slick saddle are difficult enough to deal with I personally don’t want to have to negotiate with a horse that is having a mental meltdown due to rain. Phil stayed out in the pouring rain all day. He was still alive at feeding.
Evening feeding: Phil was already irritated at having to stay in the rain and he showed a little “ugly” at feeding. I sent him off around the pen and he trotted in the most peculiar fashion. He tucked his head between his front legs and arched his back. I also was wearing a big, yellow rain jacket that most horses do not really like. I pulled the hood down so he could see that it was me and he snorted (snort is fear or excitement). I sent him off again and asked him to circle in. I walked around him and he kept “two eyes” on me. I asked him to back, turn on haunches, disengage hindquarters. He softened and I rubbed his head.
Note: Some breeds like the thoroughbred cannot regulate their body temps as well as other breeds. It is best to keep your horse outside as much as possible, but if he is in distress such as shivering he needs to get out of the weather. I’ll check Phil tonight to see if he needs to come in to a stall. If he is ok, I’ll give him more hay and let him learn to tolerate Mother Nature. Hay will help increase body heat.