February 23, 2016
Last week we had weather conditions which altered or limited our cross country ability. We enjoyed a three day thaw and then back to zero Fahrenheit. Our 25 or so inches of snow settled a bit and froze. Now when we walk through the woods and across the pastures the frozen snow almost holds us up. This would be great if we could run on top of the snow, but the trouble is we break through the crust every couple steps, making wading through the snow a pretty uncomfortable ordeal. So now we are pretty much limited to the plowed roads. I like the cross-country tours for getting the horses used to all the odd, scary stuff encountered on a trail ride–a necessary part of training. Oh well, for now we’ll have to postpone the cross-country part of training.
Today it warmed up again and we had a fresh trace of snow. This allowed for a little grip so the roads are not as slippery.
Dune has been moving forward without my permission when I jump on bareback. Of course I can get on anyway but I thought it was a bad precedence to be moving out without being asked. I attempted to hold the outside rein while I jumped on so his rear end would move toward me, actually placing himself underneath me as I jumped. (I was mounting from the left side so the outside rein was on his right side). We had a little argument at first but I was persistent. After about 15 or 20 times of jumping on and off, he figured it out and finally stood still.
Every time I mounted him today he stood solid. We took our ordinary walk down the road. He was calm and pleasant. We worked on half-passes, halts and rein-back. He is very light and responsive. I wear these soft leather mukluks as winter bare-back riding boots. He responds very nicely to a light touch from the heels of these boots. As most horses on the half-passes, he is better when we are moving left and a little more awkward and sometimes worried when moving right. This means I have to double my time going right.
I have found half-passes valuable in some situations but mostly I want my horses to know what my legs are about besides just thumping them to make them go faster. I start using my legs for signals immediately on a fresh colt I’m riding for the first time. Dune has picked up on leg signals quicker than most.