Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wind, ears, and new reins

What an incredible spring day. Chamber of commerce weather, as we used to say when I worked for the Chamber of Commerce.

Mid 70s. Light breeze with occasional gusts. Jewel blue sky.

After a morning of chores, Sierra and I headed out for our third ride. This is unprecedented. It's all I can do to convince her to go with me once. But three times?


Cibolo was still reluctant when I went to pull him out, but this time we didn't have to go rounds. He turned and faced me relatively quickly when I cut him out. It's still not like it was - he would come up to me a month ago. I suspect his feet are tender without shoes.

I got him into the alleyway and did a bit of T-touches with him. Since it was windy and since I was clearing off some books earlier in the day, I found my tellington training book, which I'd bought some time ago. I looked up "hard to catch" and "spooks" and one suggestion was to do ear touches. Basically it's two mini massages - one from the poll to each ear tip, and one going around the ear (up from the front base, around the ear and down toward the jowl.

I did both ears and Cibolo dropped his head, closed his eyes and sighed. For the entire ride he didn't spook in the wind. He wasn't particularly forward, but no balking, or barn sour. (Not that we're pushing it much. We've been staying by the barn since we know they are sore - if either starts limping I'd rather not have a 5 mile hike back home.)

I really need to do those touches more often. Not sure if it kept him from spooking, but he was definitely more relaxed than he'd been in days.

Today Sierra was ready to do more cantering. We were just doing short bits yesterday, just warming up the horses. Today, Lily was ready to do more and that's when it got a bit crazy. Since Lily can get chargy, I cantered Cibolo in front of Sierra and Lily. His canter is half a speed up from a trot, really.

That worked until the fourth and final run, when, at the end, I pulled Cibolo over to the side to slow down and Lily just went around us. Sierra pulled back on the reins, but Lily kept at her canter. Sierra kept her head and sat deep, knowing Lily was heading to an area where she'd have to slow down because of the fence line. I didn't really worry, we all know this about our mare. Lily enjoys getting some speed, and the more you canter her, the more she wants to canter. She'll run herself silly. And she does get a head of enthusiastic steam, but she never does anything more than over shoot the ending by 20 yards or so. Sierra knows this too.

She was careful not to pull too hard, knowing she didn't really want a sudden stop. She brought Lily back to a trot, then came around to me, grinning, asking if she was galloping.

Not quite, I said. Were you scared?

At first, she said, but I knew it was going to be okay so I just held on.

Looks like we'll need to do some braking practice with Lily, and probably let her have some round pen time to blow off some speed. Because it's spring.

And spring means it's time to do some more running.

(and I got new reins. but apparently that's another post...)


lytha said...

baasha was trained using the tellington method, including the body work. i find that when i have a really bad stomach ache, an ear massage somehow helps. i don't understand it, but it does.


Rising Rainbow said...

I need to try the ear touch with one of my three year old colts. He is such a handful. Getting his mind on relaxing might be good.

Jocelyn said...

I need to get my TTouch books back out!

I am sure there is something in there for crabby PMS'y moody mares. ;)

Cactus Jack Splash said...

I have used T touch with autistic children, works wonders