Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gringo was a GOOD boy.

The title sums it all up in a nutshell. Yesterday was Gringo's first "training lesson" in over umm 5 years, if I'm not mistaken. And he was a very good boy.

We ended up starting off with some basic w/t/c on the lunge, no side reins. Gringo was his typical self in doing this, really not caring one bit about the whole ordeal. We were not able to manage to get the left lead canter when we first started out ... but I think that had a lot to do with him being unbalanced.

Switching to the right, he was a bit better, but more unbalanced (still managed to get the correct canter lead though). Once the side reins were added though, it became apparent that we needed to adjust the side reins. So, the right inside side rein was shortened by two holes ... we left the outside side rein alone. With just that little bit of shortening, Gringo was able to flex and bend and become a little bit softer to the bridle. We had some REALLY NICE trot steps. Very lofty. So much in fact, that he was over-reaching and nicking himself. I guess I need to dig out some bell boots/splint boots to help protect his legs.

When we switched back to the left rein again, the only adjustment I needed to make was to his right side rein. We ended up moving it back out two holes to where it was previously. Going to the left, we worked on getting him to left his front shoulder (left front) and sit a bit longer on his hind legs. This will help him from pounding that bad leg (left front) into the ground.

It's truly amazing how a lunge whip can really get a point across. With Gus, it's like you need to beat him to get anything accomplished (he's that bad with regards to forward movement ... his ideal world is revolved around eating and standing around). Gringo's definitely different in that case. All I needed to do was pickup the whip and point it at his hind end and boy did it start moving out. He easily started tracking up when the whip was pointed at him. It also helped to point the whip at his front end ... and wiggle it a bit. That in combination with "half halts", we got him to lift his front end just enough so that he had to sit more on his haunches. Success!

With side reins on, and going to the left, we did manage to get a few nice left lead canters. However, he did end up falling apart and breaking to a trot nearly every time he approached the end of a 20m circle. We did manage one full circle before we called it quits.

After the lunging work, we started on ground driving/long lining. I haven't attempted this since before Gringo left the barn the first time. So we started off really simple. I was at Gringo's head with a lead, and B was working the long reins.

First she was off to his near side, just a bit past his surcingle. Eventually she was off his off side, same distance. Then she was behind him. He got really nervous when he couldn't see B anymore, especially once I was out of the equation.

The two of them managed to do quite a few laps of the arena, in both directions, without too much fuss. It's definitely something Gringo does not enjoy, but like with everything else, I do believe he'll become much better once time progresses and he becomes more comfortable.


Gus, well, Gus was a bit neglected last night. He managed to sneak two apples out of me and got some nice pats. Nothing else. The plan is to work with Gus (and Gringo) Friday after work. Gus will be outfitted in full lunge gear ... then maybe I'll hop on for a quick walk ride. Gringo will get lunged again as well, or that's the plan, at least.

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Milestones

Well, this past Tuesday, the boys and I reached a new milestone. We all learned how to pony. Gus was the pony-er, Gringo the pony-ee and me? I was the overseer (aka rider). It was a lot of fun. Gus was a SAINT. Gringo decided to shove his nose up Gus's butt and well, Gus didn't appreciate that at all but he was so good about everything. No pinned ears, no kicking, no squealing, nada. Just one very good boy. Gringo - hmm, we despite it all, he was a very good boy too. He just wasn't too sure about all the fuss I was making on the top of Gus's back. And he despised trotting behind Gus.

I plan on doing more pony work in the future as it kills two birds with one stone and allows me to work both horses, abit non-traditionally.

Wednesday was lesson day and it went fairly well. We started off lunging (in which Gus was good) followed by some shoulder stretches at the walk. After that, we did and leg-yields. Gus was a really good boy for everything, but we figured out that all the stretching in the front end ended up making Gus really sore. He sorta worked out of it, but was still quite uncomfortable.

We proceeded to trot work after that, doing SI at the walk from like F to P, then trotting across the short diagonal to S, then S to H SI again. Rinse and repeat on the other side of the arena.

Canter work was more or less the same thing. Except I *think* we did SI at the trot from say S to V, then from V to P we cantered, then from P to R trot, then rinse and repeat. We had some nice moments ... definitely still have issues with the right lead canter currently - as it's more difficult for Gus to maintain that lead for any length of time.

On another note, Gus has lost a dramatic amount of weight in just a short period of time. C, the BM, asked me on Tuesday if I had noticed any weight loss on Gus and literally just minutes before I was debating as to whether or not Gus had lost some muscle in his hindend. Well, my suspicions were confirmed when she said that they had noticed a few horses drop a lot of weight seemingly overnight. Gus just happened to be one of the unlucky ones. Gringo was not.

I did do some work with Gringo again on Wednesday evening. We attempted to lunge, but quickly cut that short when he ended up lame. So instead we did some in-hand work. As usual, Gringo was a good boy.

I got some pictures ... but as usual, they aren't uploaded yet ... 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's been ages ... again.

Life has been busy these last few days/weeks, so unfortunately G2's blog (and the boys themselves) have been neglected. I thought I'd manage to get caught up (and ride) this weekend, but unfortunately that hasn't happened either - though I am managing to update the blog. Yah!

So, I did end up having a lesson last week - first one in two weeks due to cancelling the week prior due to my trip down south for a wedding (which was way too much fun). The lesson went well enough. We worked primarily in the walk, doing the shoulder stretches for a few laps - eventually converting those to turn on the haunches (least I think that's what they were ... as the haunches stayed stationary and we pivoted around) or walk pirouettes. Gus was a really good boy though much better behaved going to the right I think, then he was to the left. Anyways, a great exercise and Gus was very cooperative.

I also rode sans spurs. Honestly, didn't make a difference whatsoever whether I was wearing them or not. Gus still ignores my leg. So, lesson learned perhaps? We can refrain from spurs for the time being since they don't accomplish anything but a horse who just keeps shutting down mentally.

Gringo's been on the back burner as of late as well too. He did have a couple in-hand workouts the last couple times I was out, but that's about it. He's great on the lunge so now I really need to work on getting him used to me working him in-hand and also ground driving. That's our goal for the next couple months.

Both boys had their hooves done in the last three weeks. Gus's were done back on the 27th, Gringo's on the 14th of November. Both were good boys, as usual. Although Gringo had J do his hooves for the first time in ages ... that would be female J. She said he was good, a bit jumpy, but good nonetheless.

Here's the photos, Gus first.


Alright. Now Gringo's hooves.

And some other fun photos of Gringo ... I don't think I've posted these yet. If so, just ignore.

More updates to come.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hmm. That's about all I can say about Gus, right about now.

So in talking with B over the last couple days, she's mentioned that she, too, has seen the cribbing/windsucking going on with the tire. Gus has been at it so much, that he's actually relocated the tire about a foot from where it was originally. And this isn't no tiny little car tire. It's a huge tractor tire. Sheesh! B also stated that she's seen Gus laying down a lot more then normal as well. Gus does tend to lay down a lot, and if I'm not mistaken, his sleeping habits tend to increase in the fall/winter months. We're still not sure what's up with Gus, so he's just going to be monitored for the time being. FWIW, B did as Dr. N about the tire issue and she's at loss as to why he'd be doing it.

I did end up riding today though. Gus was a really good boy. Nothing unusual at all. He was stiff starting out, especially since I didn't lunge again but with our typical warm-up (shoulder stretches, flexions, etc) he worked out of everything. I was very proud of Gus. He was a good boy today.

I decided to put him in his heavier blanket. The main reason is because I'm going to be gone for the next week due to my best friend's wedding this weekend. So, because of our weird weather, I opted to go heavier then lighter. Basically, he's wearing 20g more fill then he was prior. I'm pretty sure he'll survive. Plus he's got his neck cover on now. So that should help keep those muscles nice and loose. Hopefully.

Gringo was a good boy today as well. Well, as good as to be expected. I opted to just do a quick lunge session with him  to see if he's sound. He is. I truly thing his soundness will always be and on again, off again kind of thing. We ended up lunging in just a halter and while he did as asked, he didn't necessarily behave as obediently as he's done in the past. Down transitions too a LONG time to come around, but eventually they happened. We even had the correct canter lead most of the time (left lead is a lot easier then the right).

I did end up measuring Gringo today. I haven't sticked him in ages. Surprise, surprise. He's about 15.1 1/2 hands. When I first got him, he was a smidge over 14.3, I believe. Pretty sure he's done growing now. He should be anyways, since he's nearly 10 years old.

Gringo is still rocking his Centaur sheet. It's a great sheet that I got this past spring. Gus had been rocking the same sheet. What I love about them is that they provide mid-neck coverage. And they have a decent length drop. So, while Gringo's sheet is too big, by about 1 size, at least he doesn't look like a fat guy wearing an A-shirt.

I haven't done an update on grain/supps in a while, so here's what the boys are on currently.

Grain: 3/4lb twice a day
Supps: 10g MSM
Hay: 3 flakes twice a day (probably 30lbs)

Grain: 1/4lb twice a day
Supps: 10g MSM
Hay: 2 flakes twice a day (probably 20lbs)

I'll give an update again next Wednesday. Here's hoping Gringo behaves himself for J on Wednesday and the boys don't cause too much drama between now and then.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tire Cribbing?

WTH? I went out to the barn yesterday to drop off board and say a quick "hi" and "bye" to the boys and found Gus has a new found passion. Cribbing/windsucking on his hay tire. Seriously? WTH!?!

I talked to B and she said C (the BM per say) noticed Gus doing that on Friday ... so as much as we can gather, this is a new thing. I guess that's good to know, but still frustrating as to why he's doing it to begin with. I'm going to attempt to locate the old crib strap ... I hate to have to use it again, but seriously, he can't be doing this again.

Gringo is still doing well. He's not running to meet me at the gate anymore but he still seems happy to see me, which is good. He's getting his hooves trimmed by J (the female J) on Wednesday, so I HOPE he's a good boy. C is mostlikely the one who's going to handle him and she really doesn't like Gringo. Horses can sense that so I do hope he's on his best behavior. Unfortunately due to my work schedule and the fact that I'm leaving for Georgia on Friday morning, I won't be out at all until after my trip. I'm hoping J can tackle some of the issues I've been having with Gringo's hooves and bring them back up to par.

Speaking of hooves, Gus had his done about two weeks ago. I have pictures ... just need to upload them. Maybe I'll get around to that this evening. I'm hoping to get in a quick ride tomorrow afternoon as that's the last chance I'll be able to make it out before the trip. Both boys need to have their grain replenished and I think I'm going to change out Gus's blanket ... we'll see.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wednesday's Recap

So, it's Friday. Finally. And I totally forgot to write a recap on Wednesday's lesson. So, here goes.

Gringo was still slightly off still on the left front (the same leg with the old fractured coffin bone). So instead of lunging, we worked about 45 minutes on in-hand work. He was MUCH better Wednesday then he was the day prior with me working with him back  by his withers. I think it's a totally new sensation for Gringo to have me not walking by his head ... so in time, I think he'll improve. He's still slightly better working in-hand on the left then to the right. But again, time should tell and I have no doubts that he'll improve.

After the in-hand session was done, we did some mounting block work. Gringo has definitely improved, though marginally, with our mounting block work. On Wednesday I was able to get him to willing walk forward and STAND STILL at the mounting block. Whohoo. Success! I also was able to but a bit of weight on his back with my leg - and he just stood that. It was a very proud momma moment for me. He was even good with me bumping him in the rump.

Gus's lesson went really well as well. Same ol', same ol' as far as material covered. But he was a good boy, yet again. Working with him on the lunge, the first time since last week, was interesting. Holy cow was he god awfully hideous looking when first started out. But, we made progress and soon enough he was moving a lot freer in the back and shoulder.

Undersaddle, we did the shoulder stretches and flexion circles again. I have to say, I love those shoulder streches. They are FABULOUS!!! A definite must for Gus, every ride, every time. The trot and canter work was really nice on Wednesday. I couldn't have been more pleased with my old, arthritic horse. Definitely a good, positive lesson.