Monday, November 10, 2008

Off to the track we go...

We went to the track at Helensville Showgrounds today - about 12 minutes from home. We had to go on the inside track since they were making hay on the actual track damn it all... way too tempting for Garbo. He enjoyed the green grass patches every now and again, but he walked on again easily and calmly so that was good.

Here he is having a snack/break.

George texted me about an hour after we arrived and wanted to know if we had broken any records. Ahhh- No!

First I'll write about the ride. Then the floating.

We didn't go right round as they were baling the hay over the other side... so we used the 'straight' to do follow the rail with indirect and direct rein turns and transitions. He was lovely and forward and I am sure had I felt more confident about it, he would have gone right round.

We did some trot, and then some canter but in such a big space I was a little 'giddy-up - BUT just a little bit'... I must have gripped a bit at that point as he stuck his head down like he would buck... no idea why he does that!

Anyway - we tried a few more times, and I tried having a completely loose rein which worked great but after a few strides I kind of felt for the rein so I could stop him if need be, and stiffened up again. Oh well. Next time. It was a great ride all in all.

After that we went into this lovely little mown paddock with a fence all round it so we did follow the rail in there to cool down before loading again.

So now - the loading. Decided it was time to drive Garbo into the float from Zone 3 instead of leading him on. Amazing - it turned out he trusted me enough to follow me on but not to go on alone. There was lots of pawing on the ramp first, checking it out, and then he would get his nose and neck on, but not his back feet. Actually initially not even his front feet. It took about 20 minutes I think and we rushed the closing of the rails abit and off we went.

On the way back I concentrated on using phase one, energy up and pointing to the float and lifting the carrot stick then lifting it up and down, and quickly using it to turn his nose towards the float when he looked left. He didn't rush off which was great. It took a while for me to find the perfect amount of pressure - and what it was was hitting the savvy string gently on the ground behind him over and over until he took a step forward - even if it was a big stretch forward (at one point he had his front and back legs so far apart.

After I think about 20 minutes he was on, and it was his idea! About half way through this session he was yawning like crazy so I think it was a very very big step for Garbo today. I think he will sleep well tonight.

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