Monday, September 20, 2010

Brave the weather

I decided yesterday that if I carry on waiting for the weather to get better I may lose all of September as well. So not having played with Garbo since May (on any real scale) I re-read David Lichmans notes and took Garbo and my 22ft line to Woodhill Sands.

It's just round the corner from here, it's a naturally sandy surface and usually dry but it had a few puddles today. But no mud! He loaded well, on Pats scale probably a 2/10, i.e. he hesitated briefly and had a smell of the inside. Keep in your mind the wind was about 30 knots.

Maraschino didn't even look up from the paddock - just kept on eating.

We arrived and he unloaded too quickly for my liking - we'll make a note to work on that. There were no other horses there, but some grazing around the perimeter paddocks. He was walking fast along the sand pathway towards the arenas so I took the opportunity to drive him from Zone 5, focussing on moving him left or right or sideways as he decided to go see the horses or eat the grass edging. He moved sideways well with a tap on his side with the carrot stick and the feel of the rope on his side. I was standing behind his tail but close enough to touch his tail and I was thinking how many people would see me and wonder what I was doing! But you know what - I didn't care.

In the arenas there were all sorts of interesting things - flower pots, white boards, show jumps, cross country jumps, flags in cones, judge boxes, huge tress blowing in the wind, office, cafe buildings - oh and lots of puddles and horse email - otherwise known to us as horse poop.

I made a conscious decision to not react to anything he spooked at but to really keep his attention and focus on me. It worked really well. After 10 minutes he was completely confident and calm. I worked on Davids suggestion of doing circles but as soon as Garbo looks out (arching his body out) I would disengage him and politely ask him to go again. If he came in I would vigorously send him again.

It certainly got his attention on to me, and we worked a little with smaller circles and getting his nose in towards me, and hind end out.

I did lots of change of direction, then some touch it from the end of the 22 - like the show jumps, the start sign, the cone with the flag.

Then we did some stick to me - just because he likes it - we did it in and out and around the show jumps. They were a bit high to go over (about 5ft high), but great for sideways!

After a very quick hour, we headed back to the float and had a bit of a relax there. Then we loaded up and wet home, loading was about 2/10 again. I was able to ask him on from outside onto the float, but it wasn't immediate or fast.

On arrival back home Maraschino was looking up but not worried at all.... he called out once to say "THERE you are", and then just carried on. The top door rattled alot in the wind as Garbo was backing of the trailer and he rushed off so I took the opportunity to ask him back on, then a huge gust of wind did it again, so I asked him again, but this time just on to the ramp while I banged things inside, like the light and hit the side with the end of the rope. He volunteered to get up sideways on the ramp so I left it there and took him back to his bright green grass.


Cilla said...

What a great time out playing you had. I like that. . . horse email!
c x

Tina said...

Thoroughly enjoying your blog.
Great on on Parelli Central as well. Know what you mean about the weather, I am just out of Hamilton, we had a pretty bad weekend too. Put my horse and donkey in the orchard to give them some more protection from the winds and a great big tree came down!

Vicki said...

Yes, Cilla - Garbo just loves horse email.
Tina - I know it's been just hideous hasn't it - let's hope it improves soon - glad you are enjoying my blogs. I am so sick of the mud now. How's your place? OMG re the tree - were they ok? Wasn't an apple orchard was it? Lol