Well, what a wonderful week it’s been. The weather has been fantastic, the horses have all been great. I’ve lost 2 more pounds! (Down by 38 now). How much longer can this last?! LOL.
Last night I headed to the barn with the intention of working Chewbacca for 10-15 minutes. For a few reasons. He worked hard on Tuesday, for about 40, and I wanted to give him a bit of a break but still work him. And also, because I wanted to introduce some new things, and when I do that, I want to keep the first sessions short. I wanted to drive him, get finished, and have him look at me like “that’s it?” And I accomplished that and it was a great drive!
I have every intention of getting into marathons and combined driving. That means Chewie needs to learn dressage, which I’ll start working on next drive. Cones, which I’ll work on eventually when I can recruit someone to be my cone setter. And Marathon, which is a 2 part deal. Part 1 is simply distance. Which I’ll be able to do more of when I get Chewie out on the roads with the cart (taking my time on that for obvious reasons). And Part 2 is the obstacle course- or “precision navigating” as I like to call it.
Now, I’ve been working with precision navigating in the arena and “faking it”. Pretending there’s obstacles, and making turns and circles and sharp corners, even at the trot. Teaching Chew that he can always go forward and push through whatever I throw at him. He’s been doing great. However, in an arena with no real obstacles, it’s all imaginary.
So for drive #13, I worked him only at the walk, and only in the driveway. The driveway in the barn is awesome! It’s the PERFECT environment for starting what I wanted to start. It’s a complete circle, and there’s a hill, and there’s a rut, and there’s trailers & vehicles, with enough space to go around or between them. There’s 2 sharp turns, and it doesn’t leave anything to the imagination.
In a real obstacle course, if you hit your shaft into the obstacle, it falls down. In the drive way, if you screw up the tight turn past the manure pile, the cart is going to be driven into the wall of the barn. No room for error. It gave me the chance to really concentrate on how I was driving Chewie and getting him to really work around actual objects.
We went between horse trailers, made sharp turns, and navigated over the rut, through the manure pile, and up and down the hill. Chewbacca did great, and I ended quickly on a super good note. 🙂
The work continued, though. I took Dixie out for a drive and got eaten alive by mosquitos. After taking her briefly down the road, I got it in my mind to go out on the grass trails, and became a walking talking mosquito. I’m covered in welts, and needless to say, we didn’t get very far before we turned and cantered away from the trails. LOL.
Jesse, the other work in progress… was next on the agenda. And what progress there is. I really have to get pictures. Jesse actually flexes his poll and rounds on the bit. I love it. He is understand voice commands, and while we are still working on some bratty patience issues, he is doing very well with the words “whoa”, “easy”, “walk on” and “trot on”. He will listen to cues and adjust his stride accordingly, and has this great little jog. And when you ask him for me, he pushes forward and goes, and when he rounds on the bit and moves forward, he actually looks like a little dressage horse. He is a very nice mover as far as minis go, and is truly turning out to be an exceptional little horse with a lot of quality past training clearly in place. He needs confidence, and that will come with time and experience. He’s just a bit skittish, but he’s willing for the most part. I can’t wait to get him driving. His owner is going to work on getting his AMHA papers, which were lost when he switched owners several times. I guess he’s 9 and has had 3 or 4 owners. I see Jesse as being VERY competitive in AMHA breed shows if he has the opportunity. I also see him being extremely competitve in dressage classes, and I’m sure he’ll take to cones just fine too. At this point, I’m not sure if I see him becoming a kid’s driving horse, but that’s always possible after he gets consistency in the vehicle once I get him hitched.
And last but not least, my hours upon hours at the barn ended with Luke. I gave him a good grooming job, and he’ll get another one today after he’s worked. He’s got his only show this year tomorrow. Wish him luck!
Pictures to come!