Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 26-28: Trail ride, First Farrier, Four Feet Up, and Dragging an Object.

Sunday afternoon I had promised a friend that she and some of the girls at her barn, Rose Equestrian, could come over and ride at Whispering Hills. They were interested in the Enchanted forest that we have and riding the trails on the back of the property. Unfortunately one of the girls horses was lame and needed a loner so, I grabbed Seren my four year old mustang that got me started into all of this. I turned the girls loose on the trail course while I got Eclipse warmed up in the arena. About the time I got eclipse warmed up enough to feel safe on the trail and the girls exhausted the obstacles, one of the girls hollered for her mom to watch. It was Seren standing all four feet on the pedestal, this was one of her signature moves for the finale in the makeover a year ago. We headed out to the back for Eclipse's third trail ride. He is crossing our creeks like a pro now and getting more confident about his surroundings. He is proving himself quiet sure footed on the hills and trails. We all plodded along at a walk and a trot through the woods and over the terrain and on several occasions ended up cantering to catch up! In past experiences I could feel if I asked for more speed he would forget I was up there and who knows what would happen. But all was good and we had a great ride.

Monday was a Day of rest. Tuesday we had the farrier come by to give Eclipse his first trim. For the most part he has pretty good feet, however all four feet were flared on the out side walls. All this means is that eclipse bares most of his weight on the inside wall of his foot. This is like people... we either pronated or supinate when we walk. Ideally us and horses should hit evenly and break over the center of the foot. We have worked on handeling feet a good bit and he is good with all except his right hind. Aside from taking his foot off the stand a few times during the filing process, he stood like a champ for the other three. The right hind started out as a struggle but my farrier Jim is a seasoned pro and held on until he relaxed. It only takes a few times for a horse to get his foot back by struggling to learn to struggle with the handler every time. It worked out that I didn't have time to ride today either so I will be anxious to see the changes in his movement now that he has had his feet balanced.

Tuesday I had a small window to play with Eclipse. We headed out to the play yard to see what we could get accomplished. He was ready to move out and is continually getting more careful with his feet. He picks them up nicely when he goes over ground poles and logs. One new thing that we introduced today was dragging an object. This could be a potential obstacle in some of our classes. I start this on the ground by leading my horse forward while dragging the object in front of him while he walks. Eventually I allow the obstacle to drop back until it is behind the horse. Today's object was a orange construction barrel. On the ground this did not seem to bother him much even when the rope rubbed against his flanks. Next we played with the pedastal. Up to this point we have gotten both front feet on, even both back feet but not at the same time. So we started with the front and encouraged the back feet to feel their way on to the tiny platform. He understands what I want but hasn't quite figured out how to get it acomplished. HE pretty consistenly steps his right hind on the platform but hasn't muster up the courage to put weight on it. The few times he would he would step down with a front leg at the same time. Then finally the stars lined up! I asked for him to put weight on the third leg and was able to communicate to his front legs to not step down and shazzam! there he was with all four feet on the pedestal! I let him hang out as long as he wanted to. Once he got down I was able to ask him one more time and he was able to get it again. I decided to leave things at that today, time was running short.

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