Working Anyway

I’m very sick. My husband ordered me home and to bed!

But.

It’s nearly forty degrees outside! After windchill’s that far below zero this is beyond a heat wave. Getting started learning new things is too exciting to not go play just because I’m sick. I stayed in yesterday. Today we had things to accomplish.

I kept it short. Looking at the video from last time I realized I had gone on far longer than intended. It doesn’t seem that long while you’re working on it. I added two more tubs to our pattern. Old lick tubs have got to be one of the best things ever to have laying around. Now there are four, in a circle, as close to a circle as four tubs can be. Last time we practiced walking around the outside of two. This time we walked around outside of all four. After a little pawing and stumbling about he picked it right up on both sides.

I may have to switch to a lower value treat. I have a stock pile of apples that the kids have eaten on slightly. I hate for them to go to waste and Rusty does love them. So I chop them into pieces and he loves them. Too much. His fierceness is great when apples are used. With nose tucked to chest worse than any rollkured horse, ears flat against his head, he walks beside me radiating purpose, intent, and, well, fierceness. I don’t remember him being this bad before?

He is doing good fierceness aside. I click as he goes around outside one tub. Feed him outside the next. After one good round both ways we stopped and went through one test. It was interesting. The tests I’ve watched have all been quiet rather plodding quarter horse types. I don’t mean that in a bad way just such an opposite of what we are. He zips while walking the same speed as me. Not sure how he manages it. There are definitely things we need to work on. That’s what I love about trying new things. You find the holes in your training, things that need improved on.

He was not able to stand still. Every time we stopped he started pawing frantically. I knew we needed work on treat manners, starting in the middle teaching fetch instead of at the beginning has led to a few small issues. I never had good enough reason to fix it before. Like lunging, now I have a reason to. Walking next to me isn’t a problem, stopping isn’t a problem, backing needs some work. He swings his butt out. Manners and precise control seem to be our biggest things and I am enjoying working on them.

Here’s a copy of the test we tried out. It seems very simple, and is, mostly. Can you do it?

PURPOSE: Tests provide the horse and handler
the ability to develop a partnership as they begin
the first steps in building a foundation to perform
Classical Dressage maneuvers.
Leading from the left side, walk 4-6m
(13-20′) in a straight line
-Straightness; balance; quality of the
walk.
Halt, Salute
-Straight, willing, balanced & square
halt
Back horse 5-8 steps, halt
-Lack of tension, diagonal pairing of
footfalls; straight, balanced & square
halt
Perform a 360 degree turn on the
forehand, moving the haunches away
from the handler
-Willingness; balance; correct footfalls.
Halt. Switch to the right side of the
horse
-Straight, willing, and balanced halt;
immobility during change
Leading from the right side, walk 4-6m
(13-20ft) in a straight line
-Straightness; energy; quality of the
walk.
Halt
-Straight, willing, balanced & square
halt
Back horse 5-8 steps, halt
-Lack of tension, diagonal pairing of
footfalls; straight, balanced & square
halt
Perform a 360 degree turn on the
forehand, moving the haunches away
from the handler, Halt
-Willingness; balance; correct footfalls.
Straight, balanced & square halt
Walk a 6-7m (20-23ft) diameter circle
clockwise and halt where the circle
started
-Size and shape of circle; Quality of
walk. Willing, balanced, and square halt
Switch to the left side of the horse
-Immobility.
Walk a 6-7m (20-23ft) diameter circle
counter clockwise and halt where the
circle started. Salute
-Size and shape of circle; Quality of
walk. Willing, balanced, and square halt

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