Monday 20 May 2024

Weeks 2 & 3

Weeks 2 and 3 with Stitch have been a continuation of finding out what he knows, what he likes, and what he has to learn to put up with.

My challenge has been to keep our schooling sessions, such as they are at the moment, varied and not drilled. Stitch has been a very good boy and has been trying hard to figure things out and we don't need perfection in the groundwork exercises that we do.

We're been primarily working on two systems of groundwork. The TRT Method groundwork has been interesting in showing how he wants to use his body. When doing the exercise on his right side where I bend his head towards me and ask him to stay bent right and move around me he has a hard time not falling onto his right shoulder. His front right wants to step out towards me instead of under himself and away from me. Under saddle this will mean a horse who will overload the right shoulder and be hollow left. It's slowly getting better - last night he gave me three good steps before he lost it and the front right came towards me again.

I couldn't deal with the long mane so shortened it up somewhat. He is now also sporting a bridle path, though it was done with scissors instead of clippers.

The other thing I am slowly working on with him is a series of in-hand exercises from a Facebook group called NoBackNoHorse. The exercises are based on straightness training and focus on encouraging a horse to carry themselves in a manner that strengthens their core and back. We're still very much in the beginning stages, which is mostly getting him to walk with his head lowered into a horizontal balance, but we'll continue through the summer with the hopes that it sets him up nicely when we start under saddle.

Despite the rain we had last week, we are still at a high risk of wildfires in this area.  We woke up on Saturday to hazardous air quality due to smoke from the next province over - this sadly seems to be our new normal for the spring and summer months.

He wore the nebulizer and made the obligatory Darth Vader sounds. Not regretting this purchase with our smoky summers.

I needed to make sure that Stitch wasn't going to have any issues getting onto his German car, which is a straight load with a ramp. Getting on was no problem - getting off was! The poor guy's legs were shaking as he slowly took teeny backwards steps down the ramp, but he kept trying and wasn't dramatic about it. He was much better the second time so I left it there for the day.

Stitch has continued to get better about his ears being handled- he doesn't get his cookie when I put him out until he's dropped his head while I grab at his ears. Next, I need to switch to a halter that I pull over his ears instead of flipping the strap behind his ears to prepare him for being bridled.

Phantom met her new little brother. She told him to stay away from her and they'd get along just fine. He took her advice.

He's also gotten much better about being caught. Sometimes I stop a few feet away from him and let him make the decision to come to me and he's been responding nicely. I don't know if he'd let anyone else easily catch him yet, I'll have to find opportunities to enlist barnmates to help me work on it.

So far, the only thing that he's been oh hell no about has been when I asked him to leap across the water filled canyon. By which, I mean the puddle that formed across the outside of the overhead door leaving the barn. Stitch is not going to be a water hippo. It took some convincing, and he tried really hard to find a way that was not going to get his toes wet, but in the end he bravely stepped into the inch of water and safely made it to the other side (a whole 18" across). 

I guess there's some drama llama in there after all.

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