Monday, January 18, 2010

Snow stings!

Well I got a ride in, barely. S was off work for MLK Day, so I headed out just before noon and rode with her. The wind was whipping when I got there, and it started snowing on us a few minutes after we set out. We rode for about an hour total - we got cold and the horses stayed dry. The wind was flinging tiny little snowballs in my face and it kind of stung.

I can't get Dixie to trot out (or gait out, for that matter!) I've been trying for a couple of days now, and she gives me the most WTF look when I kiss and jog ahead of her and try to get her to trot with me. Maybe I should longe her in a circle to remind her that kissy-noises mean "speed up!" then kiss and run in a straight line?

I keep meaning to get pics of her lovely feet. That white line is tight, tight, tight. She's keeping her walls worn down too - I'd be worried but it's picture-perfect for just-trimmed feet. Except that she hasn't been trimmed for five weeks! Maybe the ground will freeze again this week and I can get some clean foot pictures. Everything's muddy right now and it's hard to get a clean shot.


  1. I've lately been trying to get Peanut to trot out too. It's always embarrassing during vet exams. Sigh. So, I just started running and holding a cookie out beside me. Like the proverbial carrot hung in front of the cart horse, it really did the trick. He's started to move with me without the cookie, although now it's hard to keep him out of the canter. Silly boy. I have never met such a food motivated horse.

    Fabulous news regarding the feet! Especially considering where she began! :D

  2. Teaching the trot-out:

    Start with the longeline. Work the horse at a trot, cueing verbally. I use a combination verbal cue, first by asking the horse, "Ready?" wait two beats and then (jiggle gently on the line followed immediately by) "Let's go!"

    When the trot is secure on the longeline, use the same cues ("Ready?" =jiggle line= "Let's go!") and go forward in-hand. Sometimes it helps to sing something jaunty to get them to understand that we aren't running away, we are just trotting out and trotting back.

    For reluctant movers, use the same set of cues and add a longe whip to your tool box--wielded either by a helpful friend who will run behind, or by your outside hand, reaching back to tap (or whack) the horse's butt at the same time you say the word "...go!"

    Important: do not look at your whip, your hand, or the horse's butt. Look at the place you will trot to, and go there!

    Sometimes the tap turns into a whack-whack-whack until the horse moves forward. As soon as she steps into a trot or gait, quit whacking. If she slows to a walk before you cue a walk, tap or whack until she moves forward again.

    Keep the trot-out short at first--10 or 20 feet is okay. Hand over a cookie, then change directions and cue it again. It will improve, I promise.

  3. Yuck. I remember those days. I was driving carriages out in blizzards. It hurts!!

  4. Ouch! I feel your pain...I've been pelted by hail a few times out on the trail and after awhile it feels like someone's slapping you in the face. Here's to Spring! :-)

  5. i've never had a horse look at me like she does you, when you ask for a trot out. i have no idea what to say. i can speculate that i'd carry a crop, a long one that i can flick toward her hocks as i run forward. but i'm just speculating.

    i am annoyed by that CTR rule that any whip used must be in hand for every vet check. so i noticed lots of CTR people carrying whips for their trot outs. cuz ..why? they knew that if they needed it at some point, they would have had to carry it for every trot out prior?

    i have had a tired horse be shooed away by the vet, and that is embarrassing.

    i'm dreaming about vet checks now, no thanks to you *grin*.

    in the international rides i've crewed at in europe, the trot out is almost never done by the rider. no, the rider needs his recovery time.


  6. Great directions, AareneX - I will try that!

    I used to live in downtown Memphis, and I felt SO sorry for the carriage drivers in winter. It was always windy, cold (well, 40s, not TOO cold), and damp, and they had hardly any customers. And you had to just sit there! At least when I'm out riding, I can get off and walk when I get cold.

    Lytha, are the Europeans more race-oriented? AERC endurance seems so laid-back - if you want to race, fine, but if you just want to finish, you'll have lots of company too.

  7. I want to see hoof pictures! :)


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