Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Ride

Have come down with some awful chest cold. Lots of coughing and post nasal drip. Had it about 4 days now. Very annoying, especially the headaches from too much coughing. So I have not been of a mind to do a whole lot with Rugby this past week. I did some groundwork just to keep the ball rolling and tonight I made myself get him saddled up and work toward another ride. We worked in the small arena behind the barn again. All went well. Lunged for respect for about 40 minutes and then into the saddle for about 20 minutes or so to work on exercises of lateral flexion at the walk. And he was a star.

One of the biggest changes I made when I started working with the big guy after the fall was to train myself that this was going to be a new journey. I will miss going on the hunter paces in the fall and heading out to the trails like I was doing with Monty but the only way to give both myself and Rugby a chance was to change my thinking from what I will be missing (for a while) to what fun I will have when this nice, young horse is finished and trained. I decided that my mindset is it will take as long as it takes. If it takes another year before I can try trail riding, that's fine. If we don't attempt to canter or start jumps until next spring, that's okay, too. I see the potential of this young horse and will work at his pace to make him the best beast he can be. And when it's all done, I will have the satisfaction that I did it and I finished it.

He's a big, cuddly puppy of a horse. If he had it his way, he'd want me to hang out with him by his stall door and rub his face forever. You can't show enough love to this big sponge - he just keeps soaking it up.

Some great things to come of all this are: He'll lower his head to the ground for you to remove and put on his halter or bridle. He stands quietly on cross ties with no fidgeting. He'll easily move over for you while on the cross ties by simply gesturing with your hand at his hip. He'll back up with a fingertip on his shoulder. He'll lift his hooves nicely for cleaning and trimming. He will stand quietly for having his mane pulled. He loves to have his belly and chest scratched. He knows that treats only happen after all the work is done and he's returned to his stall and will not mooch on you or try to pick your pockets while you work with him. He leads with respect, he does not crowd you while walking him and if he does, as soon as you stop and send him back, he will back up away and resume walking slightly behind your right shoulder. He's very good at lunging now and will increase and decrease his gait on command. He stands quietly and respectfully while mounting.

Sounds like a pretty nice horse so far, right? That's why I am encouraged to do this at his pace. It's been great with slow but very steady progress.

Another thing I'm loving is his hooves. He's my first barefoot horse and he's got the best hooves I've ever dealt with. In fact, as I am working with him, I think he moves even better now than when I first bought him. My trimmer is doing a great job and Rugby is benefitting from his good, natural hooves.

So, I am in a good place.

Weather permitting, I will try to ride again tomorrow.


Mrs Mom said...

Feel better soon girl, and keep up the great work there! Sounds like you two are really coming along wonderfully, and Mega Kudos to you for taking things at Rugby's pace. Too many people over look little things like that, and wind up with huge issues down the line. You guys are going to avoid all of that!

Good Job!!

Anonymous said...

Hope you feel better soon!

It's so wonderful how well Rugby is coming along, and I think your attitude of taking the time it takes, rather than trying to force the pace, is exactly right - it certainly seems to be working!

Marissa said...

Sounds like an awesome horse! Nothing is so rewarding as starting a horse from a young age and bringing him along the way you want! By the time you have finished with Rugby, you two will have an even closer bond and he will be just what you want in a horse. I am really enjoying reading about your progress with him.

Jean said...

Hope you recover quickly. Summer colds are the worst.

Rugby is making great progress with his manners and attitude. I have always felt that good groundwork is essential to good under saddle work.

Your patience will pay off, I am sure. Taking the time to train him right will reap bonuses down the line with another horse you will enjoy for years.

jill said...

I know where you are right now, I was just there not too long ago. You will be so glad that you have slowed things down for him. It is really hard to go from a trained seasoned horse to a green one. The path you're on now will set you up for some incredible rides in the future. I know, cus I'm there now, and it's awesome.
You're doing a great job and congrats!

Jackie said...

I got a good chuckle reading over this simply because I could have written about this as my own journey with my new horse over the past year. I too have a hunter/jumper background, and had grand plans of going to some horse shows and mini eventing trials this summer. My barn owner has been teaching me Parelli tactics over the last few years, and it was critical for me getting Ace started. I realized quickly that while he was very willing and smart, he didn't have a clue what to do when I was on his back. Between that and a few injuries, I realized that it's OK to put my plans on hold, go at our own pace, and be set up for many happy and successful years to come. I'm glad to see you are experiencing the joy of this journey too! And I hope you get over that darn cold soon...