Monday, December 7, 2009

Groundwork Issues

So, before doing our riding out in the neighborhood, my trainer has had me lungeing Licorice. She's typically pretty responsive on the ground, but for some reason has been giving me guff the past few days. I really wonder if she's sore, or just being a snot. She walks, jogs, and trots both ways nicely. The extended trot is kind of heavy on the fore, but for now, I'm just trying to work on responsiveness. Trouble comes when I ask for a canter... she spins toward me and gives me a snarly mare face, even going so far as to bite the lungeline! She goes to the right easier than to the left... she wasn't doing this before, so I wonder if it's a soreness issue. But.. yesterday I worked her through it... basically, I kept bringing her back in to me and sending her out every time she balked, and after about 10 repetitions of this nonsense, she cantered on the left lead. She was also trying to canter to the left in a right lead... then finally switched to the left.

Trainer thinks she is just testing me, and says she has seen horses go out on the wrong lead before because "they know they aren't supposed to," and it can be another way of testing the owner or trainer, and that they anticipate being stopped and asked again for the correct lead... basically, another way to get out of the work. Licorice is well known for trying multiple ways to get out of doing something before finally giving up and doing it. And the thing is, she looks fine, not lame or gimpy, once she finally complies, and in fact, can collect nicely on a loose rein.

Anybody have any ideas for how to really tell if it's pain versus just attitude? I live in a small area and I'm not sure how readily available and equine chiro would be just for a consultation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trail Ridin' Fools

The last few weeks, Lic and I have spent a ton of time on the trails. I mean, from 4-6 hour rides, alone or in a group. It has been a blast! We have tackled steep, rocky mountain trails, seen Javelina (scary!) and Coyotes (not so scary), and covered miles of flat high desert. This Sunday we are going on a group canyon ride- I can't wait!

We are back in training, and this week, we are working on de-spooking to residential hazards... that is, residential hazards in my rural town. Last weekend, I feared for my life while riding down the street. Lic kept spooking, and these were not little spooks. These were OMG-bolt-then-buck spooks. The high point of our ride was me not falling off *rolls eyes.*

So, we are taking it one step at a time. Instead of just doing it and trying to make Lic deal with the dogs, and cars, we are starting on some easier routes with, say, plenty of dogs but fewer cars. Whenever Lic shuts down in nervousness or fear, my trainer has hopped off and gotten her attention on the ground, either lunging on one rein or, if need be, smacking her to get her eyes back where they need to be. Well, duh. Guess if I had thought about it for a second, I could have done that.

Part of her spooking issue is my own amateur riding, too. I have the involuntary *GASP* my horse is spooking CLAMP ON WITH YOUR LEGS AND DON'T FALL!!! reaction. Not helpful. I am going to ride with my trainer the next couple days, and hopefully we'll work on my issues as well.

It's funny, because out on some really challenging terrain, Lic is fine. It's the man-made stuff that terrifies her... garbage cans, dogs barking against fences, kids on bikes, um, about a 10hh pony... no, I am NOT joking about that... sheep, other horses, cows... but put her out on a wide stretch pf state land, and she's good. I think she gets claustrophobic, or it's just one scary thing after another while going down the street.

It's okay, I know with my wonderful trainer's help, we can get past it. :)

I will add some new pics soon, it's amazing to me how much she has bulked up (muscle, not fat) with all this daily work. Dutch is looking good too, and has been a champ about going out and being ridden after just sitting around for so long.