Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update

On Friday night I roached his mane for the last time. The plan is to let it grow out and see what happens. A student of mine has volunteered to teach me how to pull a mane so when it gets long enough I can start maintain it. I've been warned it's a bit thick and unruly, but we'll see. Though it's in APHA rules that I can show Western Pleasure AND Hunter Under Saddle with a roached mane, KAT wasn't sure what the open show judges were going to think. I'm not sure if she knows the APHA allows it, though. Of course, the rules state that silver on tack is optional and black is acceptable for english, but I don't think I'm "maverick" enough to go in an APHA show in my training saddle or my crappy Ebay black english tack.

Anyway... I clipped his fetlocks a little, just to get get the fall fuzz off. I did his ears a little, too, but just the outsides. I'm still not a huge fan of the buzzed ear look. Trimmed his whiskers, too, but my blade is only a 10 so it doesn't get all that close and Jr. is so orally-fixated that he won't hold his lips still, preferring to try to eat the clippers. Goofy Moose. I had to bring him out of the stall onto the concrete so I could do his feet and finish his mane. I just clipped his tie to the outside of the stall and he proceeded to mouth everything within reach. I think he needs some stall toys...

I've added the command OVER to our little routine of keeping him in the middle of the stall when he's tied. It worked on Saturday, so that's good...more on Sat. in a minute.

We were the only ones riding and it was getting dark so we stayed inside to ride. He was a little tough at first,not wanting to get in frame, but I kept after him, rewarding him everytime he moved out with his hips, that kind of thing. Someone else came in and was working on showmanship, so of course Jr. wanted to get near the other horse and crank his neck over to watch the horse instead of where he was going. He is getting better at remembering that I'm the boss and eventually he kept his face forward and didn't try to go off track. Once he was moving properly and i wasn't having to mess with him so much we loped both leads and he did pretty well at both. He still gets really anxious when I ask for the left and sometimes when I give him the cue he darts to the left. so I'm trying to make him go straight first and then bend bend bend. That veering he does is really abrupt and awkward and puts both of us off balance so that can't be good. But after a few tries he was doing better.

The last thing we did was an experiment that I've tried before to no avail. I put my reins in one hand, gave him his head and let him walk on. We've done this walking before, but all of my previous jog attempts failed...his head went up and he just took advantage of the situation. Friday was different! He was neck-reining fine, a little help from a direct rein here and there until he remembered what he was doing. Then I asked for a jog and he didn't change his frame! He just jogged, neck low, hind working, reins swaying....I was very pleased. And when he remembered how to neck rein we were doing figure-eights AT A JOG! I felt that was a really good moment for us. I'm sure that's an easy thing for some teams, but with high-anxiety rider and ADD horse it's a hard won victory. I let him quit after that. Praising all the way.

On Saturday my friend came out with his photo equipment and we shot a ton of pictures of Jr. and me. Lots of just him, too. I didn't know how he was going to behave because his ground manners haven't been developed to where he will simply stand still. He was a little antsy but he kept looking off into the distance and holding still so that was good. I didn't want my training saddle in the pictures and I didn't want to take the time to warm him up so he looked in frame, so I decided I'd just sit on him bareback...ha. Not sure if he's ever been ridden without a saddle or not, but he didn't seem to think it was a good thing...and neither did I, have you SEEN his withers?!? He did NOT want to stand still with me on him and was kind of being a jerk about it. I was afraid to let him jog because if I lost my balance and fell of he would be loose in the field (not fenced) with me and three non-horsey people to "help" try to catch him. Though he probably would've just taken the opportunity to eat grass, he's just that way. I finally just slid off his him for safety sake. Apparently I need more bareback lessons!

The sun was setting and I was hoping to get some shots at-liberty so I let him into the nearest turn-out and took his bridle off. He immediately started to eat grass as if he'd never eaten in his life. I tried to get him to run around but he refused. Simply refused. Just ate and stared at me like I was crazy. That's what leads me to believe that if I had fallen off in the field he would've just dropped his head and started to eat. Took some shots of him grazing and then we moved to another pasture and took a few more of the two of us. He was getting REALLY antsy and uncooperative and I really couldn't blame him. It was starting to get darker so we called it a day. Gave him extra treats and he went back to his hay. We went out for cheeseburgers.

I'll post pics when I get them. The one's I saw on the camera screen were pretty cool. Helps to have artsy friends!


  1. Are you showing him right now?

    Why would you clip his wiskers? He uses them as "feelers" and to scope the ground he's on

    the reason I know is because I did it to mine and this is what they said to sure enough, its in the British Horse Society handbook as so.

    Just a little fyi. I don't mean to be condescending at all. I won't clip main anymore. Until I HAVE to.

    I bet he looks so fabulous!

  2. Slub,

    We're not showing yet, possibly start next summer, but that'll depend on how we're doing as a team when the time comes. We've got a long winter ahead of us!

    In the US it's sort of expected to have the whiskers clipped when you show, especially if you are showing halter or showmanship, it's one of those crazy US things like fully bathing horses often if they're showing. From what I understand most people don't bathe their horses in the UK, or am I wrong? It depends on the breed here, too. When I helped show Welsh Ponies I don't recall doing nearly as much clipping as we do for Quarter Horses and Paints.

    I trimmed his whiskers to about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch so they're not completely gone, and they grow really quickly. I know they're there for a reason, but most horses "over here" are used to having them clipped and it doesn't seem to bother him at all.

    I just wanted him to look pretty for our pictures, now he can get all fuzzy again until Spring. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them!