Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dizzy (I'm trying to get better at titles, I swear)

Well, there's no denying winter, especially not on a -20C day like this one.

Sorry for the crappy pictures hastily taken on the trip out.  


At least it's pretty

There's no view quite like snow covered bales with the Rockies in the Background.  I guess the winter's not all bad.
Even the halter on the fence had hoarfrost.
Jazz was a little reluctant to leave her hay, but with a little convincing she came in no problem.  The other horses in her pasture have also been giving me a little more space.  I'm not sure if it's because they haven't been getting treats anymore or if they just gave up on coming after me since I always push them away to a respectful distance.

I think you've been snuffling around in the snow Princess Frostyface.

Yet another good groundwork lesson (what else is new? What can I say? I have a great horse and a great trainer).

I took Jazz in on Saturday and she was kind of... off.  Not in any way I could pinpoint... she wasn't especially sassy or unwilling to work, she didn't seem physically ill (she did cough a couple times, and she was moving kind of weird in the deep sand, but I think she was just being lazy and not picking up her feet properly, so probably nothing to be concerned with).  Also a milestone that really shouldn't be exciting, but to me it is, just a little: Jazz didn't rear.  Not once.  This was the first time I've brought her in to work in the last few weeks that she hasn't reared.  Not to say that she was doing big rears, striking out and screaming like a stallion, it was more like a slight pop onto her hind legs that is her choice avoidance maneuver of late.

So anyway, I brought her in for my lesson today, and she was a little sassy, but not too bad.    I started with a short lunge/drive as per usual, then did some yo-yo backing that she was not pleased with today.  She kept blasting off to the side and forwards, and popping her head up whenever I tapped her chest with the rope.  She did rear once, but I just switched to a hind end yield until she softened with no further theatrics...or, no more except one.  She spooked a few minutes later at who-knows-what, and in approximately one millisecond went from standing calmly to storming past me at mach 8, grazing me with her shoulder, which is somewhat concerning, but I don't really know I can do much about it besides what I've already been working on with enforcing and re-enforcing space. When we got her listening a little, we went back to shoulder yielding, which was okay today.  Not perfect, but willing enough.  Baby steps.

Here comes the dizzy part.  My homework for the week is a hind end yielding exercise.  It involves moving her hip until she softens and bends around me on the ground (Jazz is about as straight as a board, as will become very clear very fast once I start doing riding lessons again, so softening and bending is a big theme with us), and once she is nice and soft, taking one step back and changing her eye, ideally moving her shoulder over and transitioning smoothly to yielding her other hip.  It took a lot of jabs and taps on the shoulder today to move her off a little, but it could be worse.  I was definitely a bit dizzy and very done with the exercise in the maximum of ten minutes we spent on it today; my trainer told me she's worked just this exercise with horses for an hour before, so I can't imagine how dizzy I would have been after that.

I'll be away for the long weekend, so there won't be a lesson next week, but if I have anything worthwhile to report on this week, I will.  Maybe I'll do more backstory if I can think of something good.  I guess we'll find out.

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