Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Excursion

Yesterday was a very inspirational day! So it was with great enthusiasm that I embarked with Guinness today over to the local riding stable to fool around. Even though it is Easter, there were several riders utilizing the indoor arena. Instead of venturing in there, we opted to explore the horse trails.

The stable is experiencing a land-crunch, so they are logging some of their woods in order to open up more pasture land. Knowing that the workers were unlikely to be there on Easter Sunday, I felt pretty confident checking things out. Guinness was much more alert then he customarily is at the local wooded recreation area, but was still totally Left Brain.

While out in the woods, we came upon a large log jump. I asked G. to hop over it, which he willingly did, however his hind feet didn't clear the log and he landed on the fetlock joint of one of his hind feet. Ouch. He backed up a bit and tried again successfully. After a minutes rest, I sent him again with more energy and he cleared it with room to spare. (Fortunately, no sign of lameness during the rest of our walk.)

We meandered around and up a steep hill and eventually arrived at the outdoor area. No one was using it, so I released Guinness to explore. We played Circling Game and Yo-Yo at liberty, and then I encouraged him to roll and he did (it helped that the footing was dry, coarse sand). The gate into the arena will be *perfect* for practice opening gates while mounted.

While at the upper arena we ran into a horse that used to board at my place several years ago, "Blink," and his new owner, Mike. Mike seems to be a really nice guy. As we chatted, I filled him in on some of Blink's past. Turns out that Blink still bucks under saddle sometimes, but that Mike kinda likes it. ;-)

Guinness and I then mosied back down the steep driveway, utilizing the Sideways game on both sides. I was being very particular about him staying at the end of the 22' rope and moving correctly - but in exchange I sent him to some luscious patches of clover. He was very willing and motivated.

When we arrived back down at the indoor arena, I sent G. into a box stall from about 15' away. He went confidently in until about Zone 3 and then hesitated. Once he went in, he turned and faced and waited, then I drew him back out. The next time, I followed him in and then turned him and backed with him out. (The coolest thing was that I used the stick on the opposite side of him to guide his rear through the door.)

Then we headed back to the trailer, where he waited patiently as I put his leg wraps back on. He loaded right away and I closed everything up except his window. He quietly munched from about 15 minutes while I chatted with a friend and then we headed home.

It is SOOOO exciting to be permitted to use this facility over the next 4 weeks. I realized that I've never kept a horse anywhere that had multiple arenas with jumps and other obstacles! I feel as though I've come up in the world. :-) This will be an ideal place for us to develop our mounted skills and I already feel things coming together!! I'm going to leave the trailer hooked to the truck so that I can load up to return around 7:00 am tomorrow.

I can't recommend enough taking a young horse to explore new places while online and putting the games to purpose. There is nothing better for improving our leadership in their eyes.

Happy Easter!

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