Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spring Cleaning and Gait Check

Spent over 6 hours at the barn today. I turned Junior and Max out while I cleaned the stall, bleached buckets, and worked on my tack box. I stopped at Home Depot on the way to the barn and picked up some black handles to screw to the sides of my tack box. I'm constantly trying to find better ways to organize my barn storage. Everything gets covered in dust so quickly from the shavings so I try to keep everything covered either in my hanging zippered bridle bag or in the box. I took the whole box apart and de-spidered everything. I culled some items from the box to take home to store, took out the fly sheet and put it on the blanket bar, swept and brushed everything down. We'll see how long I can keep it that clean!

I tacked up and rode but it was 86 degrees so we didn't work long. We've made excellent strides in many areas, but here are the things we're working on:

At the walk we are working on slowing down. He tends to walk faster than he jogs and prefers to look around while walking rather than drop his head. His walk to stop is not quick enough and he tends to pick his head up when he stops.

The jog is our best gait right now. He is able go go into a cute little pitty pat jog and drop his head nice and low. I can steer him around tight corners and he'll keep that frame and speed fairly well. From that gait his stop is very good and he will jog off from a stop pretty efficiently. He can pick up his leads well from a jog in both directions.

The lope is coming along. He is SOOO much better balanced than he was. I don't have to manage his shoulders nearly as much and it's easier for me to feel when he does need some assistnace. He's got nice muscle tone now so he lopes along more easily and evenly. The speed is decreasing well, and he's getting more consistent with his head set but it's not quite low enough for WP yet.

During our rides we also work on horsemanship elements like pivots and transitions. We've been working on lead changes more now, too. Sometimes I hit the buttons just right and sometimes I swear he moves the buttons on me!

Today I spent a large portion of the ride without stirrups. We even loped both directions one handed without stirrups. It felt really easy but I sure can feel it in my butt, thighs and lower back! When I was cooling him out I put my feet back in the stirrups and they felt too short. I wonder if it's time to drop my stirrups a hole or two to give my a longer leg. I'll ask KAT at our lesson on Tuesday.

He sweated up quickly, even on his face, so we walked a while and then walked back to the barn, un-tacked and did a real long bath. I haven't cleaned his sheath yet, I've never done it before. I cleaned between his cheeks and the area around the sheath, but I want to get some gloves and sheath cleanser before I venture to that unknown territory. When I got him back in his stall he yawned several times and then it was time for his evening feeding. I left him damp in the stall so I'm sure he rolled as soon as he was done with his dinner. It was a clean stall, though.

Here are some pictures I took today. Have a lovely holiday!


  1. Sounds like a successful ride, despite the heat! My horse is always so lazy in the heat. It's kind of nice, but we don't get much accomplished! :)
    I have never cleaned my horse's sheath, either. It needs to be done, but it was enough getting him vaccinated and teeth floated this spring!
    I'm jealous of your tack room organization. Right now we just use my sister's garage, which is handy, but it's crowded. We have too much stuff, of course! :)

  2. Sounds like a lovely day! Great news about your riding and that it is all starting to come together! Cute photos!