Thursday, March 26, 2009

Longeing and Long-Lining

Casi took a long video last weekend of me working Halo on the long reins. However, either my camera or my computer decided to eat it. The culprit has not been identified, but the fact remains that the video no longer exists. I do, however have pictures of Halo longeing last Sunday. She was extremely well-behaved, and I was very proud that she was showing Casi how much she's learned.

As I've been studying a lot about horse feet and movement lately, I did notice something I'm slightly concerned about. Looking at the pictures I have of Halo longeing, she looks like she is landing toe-first, which makes for a shorter stride and puts excess pressure on her toes. I'm not sure if this picture is quite at the right place in her stride to catch it, but it does look suspicious to me.

Landing toe-first generally means there is an imbalance with the hoof that is preventing the horse from moving properly. As I mentioned previously, the last trim she got from the barn farrier was terrible. I'm not sure if it was that, or the monkeying that I've been doing with her feet subsequently that is causing the problem. On the bright side, ever since I rasped her feet and gave her a mustang roll, there have been zero signs of chipping. I think what I am going to do is see if I can get some advice and identify whether or not there is an issue.

Please excuse the longe line flapping in the breeze - the wind was carrying it off as I gathered it up. What a good girl!

After longeing, I worked with Halo a little bit on leaning weight over her back from the mounting block in the indoor arena. She's usually surprisingly still during this, especially for a baby. What I like to do with her is to first ask her to stand quietly, then I adjust the position of the mounting block and climb up on it. Next I pat her over the back and rump as future desensitizing should someone get on who knees her or kicks her in the rump by accident. She's very quiet about all this. You can see how concerned she is...with her eyes closed like she's about to take a nap.

One thing she doesn't like is pulling on her mane or a lot of pressure on her neck. We will have to work on that, because while there's no good reason to go hauling on her mane, it would be nice if she didn't toss her head and get crabby about it. The lower my hand is on her neck, like in the picture above, the less she seems to mind it. So it shouldn't be a problem in the long run. I would just hate to have a child get on her one day and grab onto her mane, and her head to fly up into said kid's face.

After I've patted her thoroughly and she's still quiet, I go ahead and lean my upper body onto her back. Good girl!


moosefied said...

Hi, I recently discovered your blog. I'm training a baby, too, but he's only 10 months old. Your information helps! I went back and looked at your first posts. Halo's really filling out and looking great! My colt looked bizarre for a while, but is also looking good. It's good to read someone else's strengths and challenges with a baby.

smottical said...

Thanks! I'm glad you found me. Halo is the only baby at my barn, so I'm a bit of an island out there. It's always good to talk to other people who are training young horses. I'm glad some of the posts were helpful - it's definitely helped me be able to chart her progress and realize consistent problems we have.