Monday 26 March 2018

For Kicks

I moved Phantom's intervals up on Sunday from 3 minutes to 4 minutes x 5 intervals. Got that?

To be honest, I was more worried about me dying than her. Surprisingly, the 4 minutes went really fast. Each of us could have done more. Hopefully next week.

I had another fantastic ride on her. She's really trying. I know she's not fit or strong, and for a little stock horse who naturally moves in a very level manner dressage is not easy for her. She has a tendency to get a bit low and behind the vertical, which I think is partly due to lack of strength. When she is stronger it goes away (unless she's feeling full of herself).
Looks like she may have taken a hoof to the hip. That bump shouldn't be there. I witch hazel'd it.

At this point the goal is to just keep her neck long and throatlatch open. And lots of chances to stretch.

We did a bit more canter as well. It's amazing how when you sit up and look ahead your horse goes better. Who'd a thunk it?
I have sympathy for her - this was the result of a hoof to my thigh. This was actually from Cisco in 2013, when he decided that he wasn't real keen on being tubed when he had choke from a hay cube. It was just before we remembered how much sedative it had taken to knock him down to be gelded as a yearling. 

At a canter Phantom had some lovely moments, including probably the best canter leg yields we've ever had. Those lovely moments are just moments though. Our rideability at canter leaves lots of room for improvement.
And about 8 months later I had a matching bruise on my other thigh. I was trying to catch a horse who didn't want to be caught and took a hoof intended for her. Pretty sure she didn't get her feet trimmed that day.

She was pretty sweaty and tired when we went back to the barn to untack.
Tired, but not too tired for cookies.
I didn't have it in me to hop on another horse (PMS exhaustion) so I decided to do something fun with Cisco.

A month or so ago I finally found an exercise ball cheap enough that I could use it for the horses to kick around. Phantom loves this game, even under saddle. I tried Cisco once with it last summer, and he had no desire to try to figure out what I wanted him to do. So I thought it was time to try it again. 

It clicked in pretty quickly this time. He figured out very quickly that there was something about the ball that made the treat dispenser work. It didn't take too long before he was targeting that ball when I led him towards it. 

But he would just stop in front of it or walk around it. 

At first I would set him or the ball up so that he just had to move his leg to take a step and he would come in contact with the ball. Cisco seemed happy for me to do most of the work for him so that he could reap the reward.

So I stopped. And made him offer the behaviour. 

He figured it out. 

He doesn't seem to be as desperate to get the treats as Phantom gets. She'll try everything for just one more hit. Cisco seems to want to think it over a bit, then make a deliberate action.

The funny part was when I had finished with the treats and put them aside, Cisco was loose and I was talking to a friend. He walked over to that ball and very deliberately kicked it. 

I think he's going to like this game too.


  1. aw fun playing with the ball!!

  2. Looks like fun with your ponies. Your bruise looks like a tattoo.

    1. Thankfully it didn't leave a permanent mark like a tattoo.

  3. I thought that I was the only one who used witch hazel! I get some weird looks when I talk about it but I love it for so many things.

    1. The best use I've found is to soothe my legs after ripping the hair out when Epilating. Immediate soothing.

  4. That's so cool they'll play with the ball. I really want my horse to play with his jollyball but he spent most of the year afraid of it and then laid on it and killed it recently.

    1. The funny thing is that they won't play with a Jolly Ball. I think Cisco would if I left it out in their paddock. But I'm pretty sure it would be stolen by the dogs and I'd never see it alive ever again.