Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow!

Ack, we're having a winter storm and it snowed here today!


I miss Mac while he's at the other barn but I am assured that despite being wet from rain and snow that his undercoat is dry and he's not shivering.

I of course visit him and since it is so cold I bring him extra hay to help him generate some heat. He just doesn't like his "stall" there so he'll stick his head in to eat the hay but his butt will be sticking out. I'm torn between wanting to bring him home so I at least will know he's inside and not wet vs. keeping him there where he will be outside and walk around more. There are only two more weeks to go so I'll keep him there. Also, if he's there I can use the indoor arena and still work on training vs. if I had him here we wouldn't get to do any sort of training since our arena is half under water!

In the meantime, here's a picture of Buffy:


And our poor blossom that thought it was spring!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pictures and video!

Today we had a lunge lesson and I got some photos and video. The more lessons we have the more it seems like Mme. Trainer likes Mac. She seems to be very interested in his personality and how he learns, and she reads him very well. Today she commented on how sensitive he is and how he's a one-person horse. He bases his trust on the relationship he has with someone and while he seems to be very friendly and likes people, he doesn't trust everyone.

It was funny because I started lunging him and he was good (the past couple of times he hasn't done any "acting out" or protesting about working). I asked her to lunge him so I could get some pictures and when she went in to work with him his demeanor changed with the change in energy between her and me. He knows me and is used to me but he hasn't worked with her one-on-one very much so he isn't used to her presence. It was very interesting to see how his reaction was very different to subtle personality differences.

Anywhoo, here are some pictures:

This is not a great shot in terms of movement, but I think his butt looks cute:



And here's a better movement shot:



And in this photo you can see the development of his neck muscles:



I also got some video:

video

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mac in the pasture

I put Mac out in the pasture yesterday. His neighbor, George, was out in the other pasture, so I thought that Mac wouldn't be missing his friends on the other side of the property since George was there to keep him company.

Well, turns out George is not so interesting as the Ladies Who Love Mac. I should start calling him LL Cool Mac, 'cause he's got a way with the mares.

Back in the paddock area, which you cannot see from the pastures, one or more ladies started calling. So Mac had to call in return.

video

He had a nice little run-around and then I brought him in for some lunging work in the round pen. I wonder what he'd do if he could actually be out with one of his girlfriends? (cue Barry White...)

"Bridle training"

Trainer suggested a new bit for Mac. I was using a Nathe, but she thought I should move to a KK training bit, which she had in her collection and let me borrow.

Trainer is also very classical in her training methods and her advice was to go back and do more "bridle work" - meaning lunging in sidereins (which admittedly I don't do a lot of on my own) and teaching him how to long line, which I don't know how to do.

Step 1, though is more work in the side reins so he learns to give to the bit (aka, submit), balance himself more, be attentive to voice commands, move forward on contact with the bit, etc.

We had our first lunging session with the new bit and it went very well. He seemed to be more accepting of it than the old bit, and he was starting to carry himself lightly.

Then he had a day off and then after that I think maybe I just took him on a short trail walk. Then the day after that was Saturday and I couldn't ride because I was going some where so she lunged him for me. Sunday I also couldn't ride so he had the day off. When I got on him on Monday, I could definitely feel the difference in his mouth. He was soft and giving to the bridle and it felt really good in my hands!

I think for the next lesson I'll ask her to lunge him so I can get some video because he's looking like a different horse! And for some reason, he seems bigger to me...guess he's "growing up" and filling out with this work.

My plan is to lunge, ride, day off, lather, rinse, repeat. Yesterday I lunged him in the round pen and with side reins. And of course the person who trailers in sometimes did so yesterday and rode in the outdoor arena, which is next to the round pen. This was actually good because I knew it would distract Mac, but it was a good test of keeping him working through it until he got his focus back and then we could stop.

We were just doing our last exercise when OR (outside rider) got to the arena, so we had done most of our work already. Mac had his tail up in the air, was snorting, and of course had this lovely suspended trot (oh to be able to get THAT under saddle! - minus the tail and snorting, of course), but he kept going on the circle and eventually got over it! So that was good! I took all the tack off and left him in the round pen so he could have a nice roll in the sand, after which he stood there staring at OR and what he was doing. I think that was a really good "teaching moment" for him.