Thursday, March 19, 2009

On To The Girls

I just cannot believe we have had this many beautiful days in a row. Usually, I get a day or maybe two to work with stuff and then several days of crappy weather. This is like heaven.

Today, Electra got some re-education. It's been a few years since she has actually been led anywhere. She was pretty snorty and blowing this way and that, so we went directly to work. This lunging game is a very important part of my groundwork routine.
Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting your horse to move around you...

Most horses either want to back away from you or go sideways. When you finally convince them to move past you, they have a tendency to blow by. You just have to keep moving to keep your position at the shoulder until they move forward. If they blow by, you pull them around and start again.


Once they figure out the move around you part, now comes the switching directions...


I say Whoa and put my other hand on the leadrope and pull. The point is for them to turn and face, as soon as they do, I click and swing the end of the leadrope with my outside hand. What I am really trying to teach them is to face and to follow my hand. It helps to teach a horse to set his hindleg and step over himself(a mini rollback) and teaches them how to move their shoulders.


They don't always get it...


But you just keep working the leadrope until they face and follow the leadrope...
Most horses figure it out pretty quick. Some are better on one side or the other. But eventually, they all learn to follow that leadrope, move their shoulders, cross over in the front and set that hindleg. It's also good for desensitizing a horse. When I stop them, I rub them all over with the leadrope and flop it all over. Sometimes I use a whip, but most often, just the leadrope.


We also practice moving off pressure...


We practice backing-from both sides. I like to get this little bend in the neck, so they can't brace against the pressure, pull directly toward the point of the shoulder with steady pressure and just keep saying back until they drop their head or take a step back. We learn to move the hindquarters, step off correctly when led and work on moving the shoulders...
The thing is, these exercises are only as difficult as a horse wants to make them. If they want to be spooky and snorty about everything you ask of them, they can work themselves pretty hard. If they want to pay attention and try to follow along, it's a pretty easy workout. Miss Electra did pretty darn good considering she hadn't been led or worked with in 3 years.


Watch wouldn't come in the corral, so she didn't get worked today, but Electra's other two sisters-Bunny and G got groomed and their feet did.


Mrs Mom just did a post on trimming feet and safety. Ummm...I'm pretty sure this is in her safety manual under what NOT to do...



Hey Mrs Mom...I don't trim feet with my horses tied either...LOL. ;-)

11 comments:

Mikey said...

Now there's what we like to see!!! LOVE those last pictures. Head over this way, I've got 10 or so down here waiting on ya :)
Glad you're getting things done, you've got a good start on spring!

Mrs Mom said...

Hey- the way I "tie" my guys? Loop the lead through my belt ;)

LOVE this post! Girl, we have way way lots in common here... hehehe

Hope the weather keeps holding for you out there!!

Stephanie said...

I am so envious of your nice weather!

Glad you are getting a jump start on things this spring - this Sunday I am gonna head down to ride again. I think I am feeling a tad better.

Pony Girl said...

I'm envious of your nice weather, too! Glad you got to work with Electra a bit...good post and advice for some groundwork tips!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Mikey-R U Krazy?? If I head that way, you and Wade are gonna have ME for a customer again! I started trimming again out of desperation. There is NO ONE around here that is decent anymore. Way I look at it-I may not be the greatest, but at least I keep 'em rideable.;)

MM-I do that too, especially with the greenies. The broke horses, I usually just drop the leadrope over the fence. I just had to show off with G a little bit(shame on me-LOL).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few more nice days. My Honey is on his way and I have lots of projects I need his help with over the next few days.

Stephanie-I was really happy to hear you are going to go ahead with riding a little bit. I think if anything, it will put some pep in your step to at least be out and about with the ponies again.

kdwhorses said...

Way to go girl! It has been great weather here as well! We have been riding almost everyday too. Savannah is so into practiing for her rodeos and just riding. I so excited for her! Willis has picked up a bad habiat when I go and try to catch him though! UGH! He wants me to catch him, so chase insues! I've tried everything and want seems to be working is keep him moving, if he doesn't want me, then he is going to have his feet moving. The last 2 days it has worked well and he finally would stop, turn, face up and relax. At the point I could walk right up and halter him. Silly horse just started this, I hope it's just a phase, because that is one thing I can't stand! Love the pics! I so need a round pen, sigh.
Love the trimming pics! That's great!

Andrea said...

We dont' tie our horses either. But we normally have some one hold them!! :) But you look like you have it all under control.

Pretty good for a horse that hasn't been lead in 3 years!! My father in law does those same exercises. He will move closer and closer to the fence too, once they get good at moving off the lead rope!! Loved the pictures!! I am so excited that you have gotten to play with your horses!

Laura said...

Good to get such a nice start on your spring projects! It's great that you can do your own trims - must save you a lot of hassle trying to get someone out.

Natarojo said...

awsome pictures! Im guessing Meghan was behind the camera? Nice to see SOMEONE has an arena/pen worth using right now! with all the rain we've had here on the south west coast of BC (And the fact our property is flat as a pancake) my arena is still soggy as anything... I hate hog footing...

ezra_pandora said...

It snowed here last night :( Just flurries, but still, the white stuff was flying. And with tying, you know your own horses :)

Breathe said...

I'm glad you mentioned the "move around" part being tough. I was feeling like a doofus because all my horse would do is back away or yield hindquarters.

Now I use a stick and it's starting to come together. I guess I just get used to having a round pen and never had to learn how to do that.