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January 2, 2015: Little Horses continue to do what Big Horses Do

Got going rather later today. Sad to say, but around here this is the rule rather than the exception. I stretched out. After, I got Hrimmi out. My ankles were still sore, but I was able to keep pace with her today. After, I did some agility with Raudi – she did everything I asked her to do, so after going through the obstacles twice, I called it good. Today’s obstacles included the pole (walk over it, wait, then back over it), two barrels (trot between them, stop, then back), the hula hoop (handler stand inside hoop, then have horse canter around), and the star pattern (go over the four poles resting on the tire, handler on the outside, then switch direction and have the handler walk on the inside).

It works very well to have the obstacles outside the pen, and have the horses do them coming and going/before and after rides. Otherwise, the in-pen sessions take too long. It also takes longer to set up and dismantle the obstacles. This way we save time and do more training wise with less time.

It seems like every month there’s an obstacle that requires more work on Raudi and my part. This month is the hula hoop circle. Okay. Right now I have to use the lunge whip in order to get her going. I’m going to use it in combination with the clicker for a few more days, then go to using the crop. Then I’m going to go to use my hand and give her a specific signal, maybe wave at her and say up up. Once she gets it, I will dispense with up up.

I worked with Hrimmi after I worked with Raudi. She did okay. When she’s focused she does even better than Raudi. Raudi simply does not care when it comes to lifting her feet over poles or hula hoops. Hrimmi’s biggest problem, or perhaps our biggest problem with Hrimmi, is that she gums the lead line. No, she chews the dang thing. I decided that perhaps we should put some Bitter Apple on the line. She picked up the line once the stuff was on it and then spit the line out of her mouth. After a bit she tested the waters again. We are going to keep putting this stuff on the line because replacing lines is costly.

I would like to try Hrimmi out in agility – large pony starter division this month. A worthy goal – and fun at that.

After doing agility, Pete joined me and the horses and we all went for a ride. I first put the bridle/halter combo on Hrimmi, and then the treeless saddle, tightening the girth really loosely. She didn’t mind at all. The motto around here still remains “little horses do what big horses do.” Someday Hrimmi will be a big horse and another little horse will imitate her. It very well may be Tyra fra Tuskast.

Pete ponied Hrimmi – she stopped often, and then even more when we got on our unpacked trail. Once we got home Pete and I had a lengthy discussion about this habit – it is hard on him because I get ahead of him on Raudi and then Tinni gets all wound up. And Hrimmi won’t go any faster. I finally came up with a plan. For the rest of this winter (when we go out together), I will ride Raudi and pony Tinni or Pete will ride Tinni and pony Raudi – and the one on the ground will walk Hrimmi. Then in the spring we’ll go back to ponying her.

Sometimes it takes time to figure out what to do when I run into stumbling blocks/obstacles. But there would be none at all if we weren’t working on things as we are, on a daily basis.

Next: 3. 1/3/16: Shinnying up the Learning Curve

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