Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 12, 13. Our Pony trail ride, and 1st liberty session.

Sunday the heat continued. I had a few afternoon appointments at the barn that included a trail ride. I opted to tack up Pi and pony Eclipse through the woods a creeks with the group on the 100 acres that Whispering Hills Farm has. I was quiet surprised at how willingly Eclipse ponied around the property. For the most part he stayed right at my knee and seldom put any tension on the lead rope as we went up and down the hill over the ditches and through the creeks. He readily trotted off whenever we picked up speed. There was only one point when he felt hesitant on the line. We were crossing a sandy run off creek, not sure of the footing, Eclipse hung back eying the situation. As the tension built on the line, he was forced to make a decision. As looked back to see the what the hold up was, it was just in time to see him launch himself across the small crossing landing right next to Pi and I. He truly seemed to enjoy the change of scenery.

Monday was wonderful! I don't know what happened to the weather but it was a good ten degrees cooler then it had been and there was cloud cover!! I took advantage of the weather and rode every horse that I had in training. Sunday was a good mental break for Eclipse but i could tell he was ready to get out and move. For the first time I decided to work with him at liberty (with out a lead line) in the 90 ft. by 110ft arena. When you adopt a mustang the BLM is very particular about the enclosure that you will be housing your horse in. If it is an adult the fence requirements are six foot high and solid because the horses are not "fence broke". The arena fencing that we have is only five foot so working at liberty would let me know where we stand with the fence breaking process. At any time if I put to much pressure on Eclipse he could build up enough speed to jump out. Now it is still a five foot fence, Eclipse would really have to want to leave. I took the halter and lead rope off and casually invited him to follow me. He dropped his head and meandered around the arena with me, always a good sign. I then upped the ante and started to ask him specifics like moving his hind quarters around and then his front end. He did what I asked even though at any time he could have left. I then sent him out on a circle to the right and watched as he went trotting around the arena and never once got stuck in the corners. One of the responsibilities that I strive to teach the horses that I train is to maintain direction. This means that if I send my horse out to the right he continues in that direction until I give him a new direction. In a square arena this can be challenging because it is easy for a horse to get turned around when they come to a corner. Maintaining direction has been one of Eclipse's better skills. Even in the Round pen he seldom changed it on his own. Once he went out and did a few laps the next challenge would be getting him back. The first few times a invited him back, he would turn and face me but not come in. At that point I would give him a minute to rest and then send him in out in the opposite direction. After a few more laps Eclipse was getting a little tired and started to look for rest. He would turn and face me then finally figured out that if he would come stand by me i would no longer make him work. At this point he was ready to ride so I got on and worked on bettering everything that we have done.

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