Monday, December 27, 2010

Soul of a Horse

A few weeks ago, I read Joe Camp's book "The Soul of a Horse." Its a well written and interesting book about newcomeers to the horse world (Joe and his wife Kathleen) and their introduction to the world of natural horsemanship through Monty Roberts.

I really enjoyed the book overall, but there were some other take home messages as well.

I've struggled with John on trail rides in the past. His favorite thing to do in an "unsure" situation is to sit, spin and run the other way. This really bothers me.

Secret loves to challenge authority. She really believes that she should be in charge.

Remi is young and impressionable and sometimes impatient. I really want to train her well and not repeat mistakes I have made with the other two.

I have been using some of the principles of natural horsemanship that Joe Camp's book reminded me of to work with all three on ground work. Clinton Anderson says that if you are having trouble under saddle, go back to ground work.

I started with my main problem area on the ground - turn out and turn in time. All three are pushy to go out in the morning and pushy to come back in at night (if I followed all of Joe Camp's advice they would be living outside 24/7).

Instead of just getting them all out and back in as fast as possible, I take a few minutes with all of them. We halt, back up and relax. Put your head down. Pay attention to me. And then we proceed to the pasture or the barn. The first few days were challenging, they just wanted to rush out or in like we always do. But we're really getting there and making improvements.

Remi got it quickest. After one day, she got it. Puts her head down and walks quietly out and in. Secret got it next, she still tenses up sometimes but is quick to relax again. John sometimes gets it. He loves to tense up and a lot of the times I feel like he is only relaxing and standing quietly to appease me (so that I will let him go do what he wants). I'm going to keep working at it, with all of them, and hopefully John will truly relax soon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Secret's Feet

On September 24, 2010, I was grooming Secret to tack her up for a ride. As I went to pick up her hoof and clean it, I felt a weird lump on her leg. I looked down and found a splint, just under her knee.

All summer long, I had been watching Secret's feet and worrying about them. But I never did anything about it. She could not last in between trims without touching her feet up with a rasp. A few weeks after the farrier had visited, her feet would start chipping and cracking. In the end, they could not stand up to the pressure of hard work on hard, dry ground. My farrier said her laminae is not strong enough to suppport her body weight.

The splint never made her lame and it was never hot. But it is certainly there.

I gave her two and a half months off.

When I found the splint I thought, "Well, she will just have to wear shoes next year."

But as time wore on, I was not so sure that had to be the answer to the question. O ordered Glanzen 3 - a hoof, coat and attitude supplement made by Horse Tech Company. My horses have been on in it in the past, but I did not re-order it. She will need to be on it for three months before a difference can be seen in her feet, but I know that it cannot hurt her and it is worth a try. Plus it will be good for her coat and attitude.

I blame myself for the splint. I should have taken action over the summer when I worried about her feet. I am so used to having horses with good feet, and my lack of action caused Secret a splint.

On our first ride in over two and a half months, she was right back to her old tricks of arguing with me about whether or not she should really have to work. Same old alpha mare stuff that she always pulls the first fifteen minutes of a ride, but its getting really old. I ordered some Mare Magic - a supplement with raspberry leaves that a few friends have tried on their mares and loved. Once again, it cannot hurt her and maybe, we can get those first fifteen minutes of every ride back!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your holiday season is peaceful and happy. I took Secret out for a short trail ride today, she's been out of work for a couple months (a blog for another day) and it was her first time back on the trail (and only the second time I've ridden her in two and a half months). She puffed herself up and snorted and blew down the woods trail. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon!