I have been on such a high since yesterday! On Saturday i was helping a friend move house, and didn't get to visit Sante, so I made sure I got to the valley early, to take advantage of the entire day.
I turned up and Sante was in the middle of a huddle of horses - a tight huddle. He looked at me when i called out to him, but he didn't come... I walked into the paddock and he was staring intently at me, head up ears both forward, but still he didn't come... So we stood... for about 5 minutes, just looking at each other... neither one of us moving, but neither one of us looking away... ?
I started to walk towards zone 5, to help the message get through, and he tentatively took a step forward before a few horses that were surrounding him pinned their ears and went to bite him, he pinned his ears at them and ran for me, just missing them. He ran straight past me and hid, I grabbed my lead rope and ran at the other horses, bopping which ever ones were within reach.
I was really chuffed that Sante would make an effort to come to me, even though he probably knew that if he moved the other horses would try to get him, so I gave him 2 carrotts, a rub on the face and we walked out of the paddock at liberty.
His feet are starting to look good.. Well. I should say one of his feet is starting to look really good, the other.. I'm not quite sure about yet.. The crack in one hoof is practically a hair line crack, its really thin and i'm confident it will start growing out. The other one I'm not to sure about... I want to get down to the valley this weekend, and attack his feet with a hoof knife.. I THINK he might have seedy toe... not sure.. its just this crack has kind of moved -- its was cracking vertically up the wall nearly all the way to the coronet, but then he's had a few weeks growth and for some reason its cracked horizontally a few millimetres, then continued cracking vertically. It doesn't appear to be getting any shallower. But I'm determined not to panic, I will have a close look this weekend and go from there.
I was so excited to be asked to trim a fellow agisters horse yesterday!!! I did my trimming course nearly 2 months ago, and I've trimmed Sante once, and yesterday I was asked to look at a friends horse! Unfortunately with work / family etc he hadn't been to the valley in a long time, and the horse was WELL overdue for a trim, the hoof wall had started cracking in two places, and was growing horizontally. I explained to my friend that one trimming clinic does not make me a professional but i was more than happy to have a look at him.
It was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must have cut 3cm off his toe!!!!! I felt really good, like i was doing something realy good for this horse. It took me just under an hour to trim 2 feet ( I didn't bother with the back ones, because the front ones were the ones that really needed help, and he did have a farrier coming later in the week) I gave him plenty of rests, and only had to play with him once to remind him why standing still was fun.
At the end of it, you wouldn't have recognised the horses feet. The cracks will grow out, and after the trim I trotted him down the dirt lane and he was completely sound.
I am so excited!!
I asked my friend to get some feedback from the farrier, as to what I could have done differently.
Sante and I then got to carry on with our original plan, which was to go for a swim. I decided to ride bare back, as I haven't done it in a while, and didn't want to loose the knack.
We headed into the "Waterhole" paddock, which has a big dam in it. Sante did really well, we wandered around just moseying, him grazing as much as he wanted, until we ended up at the dam, it was a really really hot day, so I figured he'd be more interested in the water today. He wandered in and started drinking. After he'd gorged himself he turned to look at me as if to say "Now what?" I gently nudged him forward, he walked in until all four feet were in the water, and he had water up to his knees.
Thats when it started. He started pawing at the water, at first it was tentative, and then he really got into it. He went nuts!! Pawing at the water, and then thing that cracked me up was the way he held his head, looking at his foot pawing at the water, as if it was disconnected from his body, or he didn't have control.. After a little while of one leg, he swapped feet and started again. I just sat there completely relaxed and rubbed him on the neck. After a while he wandered out of the water and started grazing. so i just sat there and let him do what he wanted. Eventually i got lazy and he accidently stepped over his lead rope (I was riding with one rein) So I jumped off to fix it. After a few more minutes of grazing, I thought we'd get tricky and try the circling game in the water. I waded in up to my knees and sent him around me. He got upto his knees and started playing with teh water again, this time sticking his entire head in it, he was having so much fun!!
It was brilliant because Sante has never acted like this around water. I ended wading in up to my bum, and was seriously contemplating swimming across the dam, but decided to take things easy, there are plenty of hot summer days ahead of us. I started to splash water on him, at first he was confused, not sure what I was doing, but then he figured that i was relaxed and laughing so took it as the friendly game.
And then he did the most fantastic thing - He laid down in the water and partially rolled!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloody awesome!! WOW WOW WOW!!! He's never done this! He's never shown interest in water, let alone the want to play in it.
We eventually wandered out and sat on the grass again to dry out. I half expected him to roll in the grass but he didn't. Eventually i put his bareback pad back on, and decided to walk at liberty out of the paddock.
Even that turned into a game. He would stop to eat grass, so i would playfully tag him, and he'd run forward to catch up, and so the game went, until i broke into a run and flicking him with the carrot stick, he ran after me, and then quick as a flash, tossed his head bucked and ran off up to the gate... which was open! I was laughing and laughing at him, he never would have done a thing like that a few months ago. When he got to the gate, he stopped and started eating grass again. As I approached him, he stood up straight, ears & eyes locked on me as if to say "What are we doing now? Whats next? What are we playing?"
I rubbed him and told him he was a dork, and we wandered down to the yards again.
The HIGHLITE of the day was yet again.... going back to the paddock.. I had 5 huuge carrots stuck in my jeans, and decided that i was going to see what i could get from him.
We did lots of stick to me and he did really well! So when we got into the paddock I decided to spice things up a bit. I was still in a completely playful mood, and was quite happy just to see what happened, so I decided to try circling game at liberty.
Our liberty in general is very good. He comes to me, does all the driving & porccupine games at liberty.. Yo yo needs improvement.. he doesn't see the point of me sending him out and then asking him to come back. I send him out and he kind of says "Why? I just got here?" And gets stuck.
But our liberty circling game has been crap. I can't play in the round yard because he loses confidence (is a traditional yard, high walls, and a bit to small for my big boy) and every time i play in a paddock. we get as far as the send, in the allow he just... keeps going... He will walk off.. walk to the gate, and every time i disengage the HQ, he does it and faces up with a look on his face as if to say "Well.. what now?"
Its just been a disaster, so I haven't played it. Until today.
I asked for the send and he wandered off, so i flicked with the CS and he faced up, I again pointed with my arm, then supported with the CS, I also had a smirk on my face and said to him "You want the carrot... you know the game"
At first he did an entire circle with his body bent in to me, kind of going diagonally around the circle. At first I accepted that and gave him part of the carrot. After he'd finished i asked again, and this time I didn't let him come in until he'd gone around looking where he was going, doing a true send. That got another reward. So we did a bit of backup, and then tried a circle again, out he went, two laps then back again. WOW!!
After more carrots, out again and this time i pushed the shoulder out, because he had been doing tiny little circles around me. So out he went, I asked for a trot and he ran off.
during this entire session I had been laughing LIKE AN IDIOT. I could NOT beleive that we were doing this, so when he ran off, I casually yelled after him. 'Don't be a donkey!" And asked for the HQ disengage. He spun around and looked at me. He was SOOOO intent the look was like "What can I do now?"
I stepped back and asked him to come in. He started to walk. I flicked my stick behind me and took a few jogging steps back.
HE RAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE RAN TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That got an entire carrot!!!!!!!!!! I was practically hyperventilating i was so excited!! He was just being so playful, and so confident and we were honestly just having so much fun!!!
After he finished the carrot, I asked for the circle again, he went out about 15 feet from me, and circled, I lifted my leading hand and said "trot". Into the trot he went, whilst maintaining the circle (My brainn was SCREAMING with excitement) Then he pinned his ears (playful dominance not agressive) so i thought what the heck, perfect opportunity to try change of direction. I turned towards him, and ran back, making sure to push my shoulder over to support the new direction.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!! He FLEW around thew his head and ran past me back onto the circle!!!!!!!!! I immediately disengaged him and bought him in. He was looking at me asking questions, so i gave more treats.
We tried again, and he accepted the trot on the circle this time with no ears pinned, So I decided to try change of direction. He did it again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this time though he looked at me, ears locked on me, did the change and ran through, all the while maintaining the trot.
I was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was just giggling like an idiot, I spent 15 minutes just rubbing him all over and telling him he was just brilliant, and we left on a really big high.
I cannot beleive we have arrived where we are! I simply cannot beleive it! Who would have thought that my horse could have got to this place.
WYOMING! - Well, here we are in beautiful Cody, Wyoming to spend a month with Farrah Green at Double Doc Center for Artistic Horsemanship. Me, Mo and Surreal have jou...
10 months ago