Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trail Lesson #2

Yesterday, Guinness and I participated in our second Trail Obstacle group lesson at a friend's natural horsemanship barn (non-PNH). I believe that there were 10 or so horses in attendance.

There were many obstacles set-up including: cowboy curtain (carwash), tarp, backing around barrels, bridge, pedestal, sidepass rail to pick up jacket, ground poles, drag, and gates.

We took turns doing the following tasks while everyone else watched: cantering up a hill on the right lead, backing around barrels, sidepassing to the jacket, and trot-emergency dismount- trot in hand - remount.

Guinness did great with everything except backing around the barrels. He did it - but I had to support my reins & body cues by tapping his chest with my stick. (This was NOT a fear issue since he had done it quite willingly online earlier in the evening.)

Also during the evening, we practiced mounted turns on the HQ, yielding the FH, and sidepassing. He improved greatly! He was tacked up with a halter and bareback pad (to aid in communication). Plus, for the first time in years, I wore my prince-of-wales spurs (see photo). I'm sure that Guinness knows how to play porcupine from the girth area, but he was either choosing to ignore my cues or my leg cues weren't focused enough for him to understand. I am also very conscious of how I use my legs and never "kick to go." So applying these little metal nubs was a perfectly appropriate phase 4. I anticipate phasing them out as he begins to respond appropriately at lower phases.

This morning, the vet came out to pull out the root of his broken front baby tooth. (See The Ball and Tooth & Gap Tooth Grinning posts.) His permanent tooth was coming in out of position behind it. It popped right out. I'm supposed to apply thumb pressure a couple of times per day to the permanent tooth to encourage it to shift forward a little.

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