Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Crazy Cow Horse

My horse is not crazy.  He's actually quite level-headed, BUT I'm blaming his attentiveness, his reactiveness, and his worry on his cow horse breeding.

I've ridden all of his spooks and he's never bolted or reared or anything.  Just bug-eyed flinches and quickened stride.  He's been that way since day one and to my own surprise, it doesn't make ME nervous.  I don't love this part of him, but he's never put me in danger, not even a little. Junior was way more dangerous in his spooking than Huck has been.  It's like Huck's starts some days on level 3 alert and may turn into a 5-6.  Junior, by comparison, was normally at Zero but would surge to an 8 without any warning.  Like the time he left me at the pond.  He seemed like he was fine with the geese being there and then he was gone and I was on the ground. At least I can read Huck. I was going with a 0-10 scale there, sorry if that was confusing.

Also nice is that he's never run into me or away from me and seems to look to me for assurance.  When I make loud rope-swing noises (he hates it...) he is calmer if he can hide behind me.  If he's tied to the rail (and being particularly nervous about life) and I walk away, he tries to follow me.

Huck's not lost his head over anything and we've thrown some pretty fantastic challenges his way.  You saw some of the visual/physical stuff we've done in my last post.  We've also done many audio challenges including live gunfire in the arena and yesterday we used a game-calling device to play all sorts of loud sounds from a vole to coyote pups and whitetail fawn to a "raccoon fight."  The device even played a cow.

Huck was interested in everything and mostly stood quietly at stiff attention, but the cow made him start moving around to look for the cow!
Why does Ledger sound like a cow?!?!?!
When I only ride him once or twice a week he is a lot more jumpy and reactive than when I ride more often.  Thankfully my theatre show is done and I can concentrate on riding for a while!

His face and leg are pretty much just scars now.  I hope with the spring shed he evens out.  I'm somewhat confused about the way the hair is growing (or not growing) back in the shaved places.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

So Long, January!

Between Huck's injuries, the Holidays, the COLD, and my work schedule, December and January were pretty much a bust as far as riding goes.

This past weekend was glorious and though we will be back down to highs in the 20's by the 9th, I'm crossing my fingers that the worst is over.  After all, I bought a pair of insulated bib overalls that arrived just after the temperature went above freezing.  Murphy's law, you know?

Huck's face and leg are healing.  There's still a tiny stubborn spot of scratches on his RH but it's SOOOOO small.

Things are going well with Huck on the riding front.  I mean, I still don't have a flying lead change, but we are figuring more things out and I'm consistently pleased with our rides  He seems to give his best try and doesn't get upset if I need to correct him.  He minds all my aids and I think we've gained some proficiency in the "I touch you here you move your hip, I touch you here you side-pass, and I touch you here you pivot" department, which goes a long way for gearing up to lead changes and our trail class work.  We have done some respectable simple lead changes, which would be allowed in the Green Reining class, but I am REALLY hoping we can get a consistent flying change anyway.  Some days I can get 3 distinct (well, kind of) speeds of lope. The slowest I call "OUCH", the medium "Yassssss" and the fastest "Whhheeeeeeee!"  He is exactly opposite of Kevin where the slower you go the smoother he got. Huck is the other way around.  I do miss Kev's smooth lope, but I am SO happy with my choice in buying Huck.

Showmanship practice is yielding good results as well.  He seems to get the idea of the setup now and his pivots are improving.  He's shaped so differently (from Junior)  that I can't see his pivot foot when I'm in proper position so I'm having a hard time correcting something I don't know is happening, which means I have to cheat my position for now.

Huck does Yoga when he's tied....

One of our barn friends is entering the Equine Affaire Versatile Horse and Rider Competition so we've been experimenting with lots of obstacles.  We even brought in some pistols (loaded with blanks, of course) to do some gunshot desensitization.  THAT was interesting. We did this on the ground, of course.  Huck did pretty well considering how alert he is.

We have some fun clinics coming up this spring and leading up to our show season starting in early May... wait WHAT?  That' THREE MONTHS FROM NOW!!!!!  Oh boy, we have a lot to do!  I open a play on the 18th and then I get to turn my schedule back into one of a "serious competitor" instead of a "weekend-rider".   Bring on Spring!