Okay, after losing the morning to the hot tub delivery, I am finally back at the ponies. I also took the time to rip and harrow my arena again. That last shot of moisture was exactly what I needed to finally get it worked right.
I switched up my focus. In the beginning I didn't have a plan to begin with. Just started working horses.
I do actually have to start focusing on getting Twister and LJ going, so this time I started with them. I have ridden LJ off and on over the summer, so he's a little bit more with the program than the others.
A little lunging and then I just got on and got him moving. LJ has really matured and changed. He's a lot more relaxed these days and I really enjoy the way he just gets out there and walks. For a little horse, he can really get the reins a swingin. Like everyone else though, he is tubby and out of shape, so right now, it's mostly what I call 'just riding'. I think it is really unfair to a horse to go from fat, pasture ornament status right into 'training'. I also think it leads to a lot of injuries. So I don't really 'train' until they start getting into better shape. I did have my barrels and poles set up, so I just trotted LJ through the patterns and he remembered them just fine.
Next up was Twister. I didn't even bother saddling him. He was so aggravated about being left tied up by himself while I worked LJ that he dug a hole 1/2 way to China and had a good sweat going on. I thought, all right goofball...Let's get some of that energy off of you. Twister lunges well. The horse has all the right foundation on him and no bad habits. He does have a tendency to waller around a bit though and when he wants to leave, he just gives you his face and lets his shoulder to the leading. Awhile back, I started working with him and was getting really frustrated because he was so dang heavy on his front-end. Well, come to find out...he had bruised his soles after I accidentally flooded the dry lot pen and then when it dried out, there were big clods from when the horses walked through it. The ground here can be a real bitch. When it's wet...there is no bottom to it. When it dries out, clods turn into rocks. Once I realized why poor Twister was being so difficult and got his feet fixed up (LJ was bruised too), he has come back around like a Champ.
Specifically what I am working on is getting Twist to elevate his shoulders and cross over correctly in the front. He wants to rock back on his hocks to start a turnaround, which causes him to pull his outside front foot behind the inside front foot instead of crossing over in the front of the inside front foot. Whether a horse pulls that leg behind to cross over or crosses over in front really affects the fluidity and speed of a turnaround and/or spin. For me, correcting a horse is easier when I am on the ground and can ask them to 'almost' take a step forward and then push the shoulder and/or ribcage over at the same time, so they really start crossing over and stretching through. Pretty quick that becomes second nature to them and they'll progress pretty quickly when you start asking them from their back.
The days are notably shorter now and only another week and it's back to really short days. :-(. I may not get every horse worked every day, but at least I'm back at it. If it's just 2 or 3 a day, then so be it.