Dixie has recovered from his cold and is feeling much better. I did manage to make a video with the new video camera. It looks really good on the camera but for some reason the video is jumpy when you try to watch it on the computer so it is hard to edit. We bought a new video card thinking that might help but so far no luck. I am predicting another trip back to best buy to see if they can help us troubleshoot. Technology is not my speciality!
It’s always amazing to me how horses can feel so much better after a few days off. Sometimes as riders we worry about missing days of training but when horses are developing all new muscles a few days off can really help them feel better. On the first day back to riding it was apparent that Dixie had forgotten the barn was a cool place to hang out. He has no issues relaxing in his stall but when placed in the cross ties he becomes very nervous. I am thinking he is claustraphobic but really I don’t know. Kurt and I were giving him a good curry and he was enjoying himself until Kurt dropped his brush. You have never seen a horse run backwards so fast…very impressive. He stood there waiting for me to catch him and then we finished brushing him with no further issues. Have I mentioned how much I love my cross-ties? http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=1620&cmPreserveSource=true&cmPreserveCategory=true Yes, they do let the horses go pretty easy when they pull back but I would rather they be able to get loose and not have to worry about something worse happen.
He is always confident when I am riding him so it’s interesting to see the difference between his nervousness in the barn to his confidence when being ridden. Many horses have anxiety when they have to go away from the barn and ride out in the open. I currently am working with two horses that have meltdowns when asked to go away from the barn and leave their buddies. Dixie does not seem to care which hopefully means that eventing will be fun for him and easy for me 🙂
His right side is getting stronger and he has learned how to bend to the right. I have been wearing spurs when I ride him to help him understand how to move over. You can also use a dressage whip to tap the hind end over but sometimes this creates more anxiety. I have very short chunky legs so the horses sometimes tune me out. A little spur can really help them understand without me having to contort myself like a pretzel. The good news he has now found his right lead!!!!!!!! Always exciting when they start to pick up both leads equally. His canter gets better every ride and I can’t wait to start cantering jumps. He has a canter that should allow the distances to be found fairly easily. His rhythm never seems to change so jumping from the canter should be fun. We have been working on some baby grids. I love the old 9ft pole to an x-rail and then add a 9ft pole on the backside. Great for teaching them how to use their bodies and eliminating the worrying about the distance. I shorten it up a bit for him because he is still so worried he’s not reaching with his stride and we are trotting on the approach.
Our riding has been uneventful until this weekend when the GOATS arrived. I did mention how the farm I lease always seems to have some sort of chaos going on right? The kids have now gotten goats to show at the fair this year. Very cute white goats with lead ropes attached to them. They are located right at the end of the path I need to ride/walk down to get to the ring. There is really no other way to get to the outside ring so we have to deal with the goats. The goats find the horses very interesting and as I start walking down the path they come cantering over with their lead ropes trailing along. You have never seen horses wheel so fast to run back to the barn. I have attempted to ride some of the horses by the goats. Both of my horses are handling the goats pretty well (Boppus could care less while Junior gets as close to the fence as possible and piaffes his way past). Dixie wanted no part of the goats. I was walking him down in hand and he would prop and wheel. It took about five minutes of baby steps to get him even with the goats. I stopped and let him see them, eat some grass and tried to get him to walk up closer to them but he wanted no part of that. We had a good ride so I thought I would try to ride back past the goats..um not a smart idea. We did some backwards running, spin moves and more. Did I mention his field is right across from the goats? Perhaps it is the amount of noise these goats make that scares the horses. My life should be very interesting for the next month or so while the horses get used to the goats. The geese have also been trying their best to get me dumped off. Have you ever heard geese take off in the air?? There always seems to be two or three geese wondering down this path I need to go down. When geese feel threatened they love to sorta waddle a few steps making you think they will go the other way and then all of a sudden they start to flap their wings and do this hovering/flying maneuver which is so noisy the horses freak out. Great fun to be sitting on a horse when they decide to fly right up in front of you. They like to do this one at a time too…so it’s three times you have to sit through whatever freak outs the horses can come up with. Some horses live in the field with the pond so it’s no big deal. Dixie doesn’t seem to mind the geese or the guinea hens so hopefully the goats will become second nature too.
Sometimes I wish for peace and quiet but these distractions really do work out for my benefit. I once attended a new starter trail at Carousel Park in Hockessin, Delaware. The facility is gorgeous and they had built all new x-country jumps, a lovely stadium course and the dressage rings were nice. When I went to pick up my packet I noticed they had set up the two dressage rings right by the ponds. The geese did not get the notice that there would be a show going on and I would swear they were deliberatetly flying over the dressage ring just to get a laugh. As I rode around the ring to begin my test we got bombarded by several geese who were defending their territory. Our training with geese sure came in handy that day! I don’t think the other riders were so lucky 🙂