Cookie has been feeling really good lately. Those of us in parts of the south are getting some warmer weather with beautiful sunshine and shedding horses. Though we're not totally out of winter yet and still get some freezing overnight-early morning temperatures.
Now that the weather is better, I've been getting out there and working with Cookie. I have found that if she isn't worked regularly she has a short attention span and lack of respect which means more ear pinning and slick rodeo moves. We are now taking baby steps in the foundation. I did get some tips from a champion reiner Britt during a Ranch Horse Clinic. I applied what he showed me to do and I can see the difference. The ear pinning has lessened by quite a bit, and we're disengaging her hip.
By taking baby steps, literally baby steps, I'm taking the opportunity to teach her to not anticipate what I want her to do next as well as show her the difference in how much I want her to move. Meaning less energy for small steps taken and a lot of energy when I want her to really get moving. The best training efforts come from an old saying: That horse needs some wet blankets. Meaning she needs to work up a good sweat. I have to pick and choose which days are going to be good for those sweaty workouts because of quick changes in temperatures here. It can start out freezing, hit 70 degrees by noon and drop to 45 with rain in a matter of hours. I don't want it to pour down on us while we're working. Too many hazards with slick wet mud to have to deal with as well as a hot wet horse. The difference really comes with the amount of humidity we get. It can make it feel a whole lot colder or hotter than it really is as well as make it very difficult to cool down and dry off.
Today Cookie did pretty well with everything I asked of her. She tried her best to understand and move in the direction I wanted her to go. One small step at a time we moved forwards and backwards through a set of poles. She didn't want to back through them at first because she couldn't see them. So in the beginning she would always swing her hip out to one side or the other. I had to line her up, walk her in between the poles and then back her out several times before she figured out that if she just went straight, she wouldn't hit the poles. By the end of that lesson, she was still trying to swing her hip out but it was much better than the beginning. When she had done it right, we ended that lesson for the day. Then we proceeded to work on moving sideways and backwards with those baby steps. I always stopped with each step to instill that I would tell her when to move, not the other way around. She did really well. I had to wake her up just a couple of times by using a lot of energy, then we settled back down to lower energy and made the steps.
We then disengaged the shoulders and hips. Moving each part separately with baby steps and stopping, waiting until I gave the signal to move whichever part I wanted her to move. She did ok on this lateral part. She has done much better in the past and I know we'll get there again through these baby steps.
When we got done, I hosed off some of the sweat on her chest and girth area and let her walk around as she wanted to dry off. As you can see from the picture, she chose to roll. lol. She didn't care to be "clean" in any way shape or form. It was the first time she has rolled while being in a halter with lead rope and I found it quite amusing to listen to her grunt and groan each time she flipped over to scrub in the dirt.
If the weather holds good tomorrow we'll review and depending on what she's retained, we'll probably work on backing through the poles some more. I am hoping to be able to build a bridge for her to walk over and add some new trail stuff to work with her on.
*Side note* I am slowly changing her over to Alfalfa/Timothy cubes. She's also getting 2/3 of a cup of vegetable oil to help her gain some weight which will be dropped when the temps stabilize above 40 degrees. Her feet are doing very well. They're finally becoming concave and far less cracks and splits. She misses having a buddy, so I may try to find a good buddy for her as well as another piece land for them to run around on.
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