Sunday, January 15, 2017

Attitude Check

This was the first week that Casey had gone back into work after an injury. At the beginning of December she injured herself on her front left leg, right next to her belly. The vet had to make an emergency visit and he said that Casey had a 2 inch deep puncture wound. He said that she had stabbed herself with a dull object and after searching for said object (which did not exist), we decided that she probably had stabbed herself with her own back hoof. She was out of work for probably 2 weeks, but after that I went to Colorado for a week, and upon my return, Oregon got hit with crazy winter weather that shut down EVERYTHING.
She got all dressed up in her new ear bonnet for this ride

Considering that Casey had nearly a full month off, I was expecting her to take a while to get back into shape, but she has been doing really well. We started off with some casual, short rides and have been gradually building up the intensity of our work-outs. Her physical state is now close to where it was before (yay for Thoroughbred's crazy fitness levels!), but a surprising element is that she has come back with a bit of an attitude issue!
Smoke-breathing dragon!
She is feeling good enough to gallop around like a crazy horse

Our ride was a pretty standard hack. We started with a free-walk on a long rein, then trotted and worked on bending on a circle while maintaining impulsion. For all of this, Casey was being a doll, but then we cantered and post-canter she decided to be awful. She did not want to walk after the canter. When I insisted on a walk, she decided that the appropriate reaction was to jig her way into a trot. I then told her no through some half-halt and a deep seat and she started purpoising (teeny up and down "bucks"). When I reprimanded her with a stern no and half-halt she decided to full-out buck! She got into BIG trouble for that and afterwards didn't buck anymore (although the annoying jigging continued for a bit). 
She's so cute, but acted AWFUL today

This attitude issue is not ok with me and I don't really know why she thinks she will get away with it. I think that if I am just consistent with what I am asking and with reprimanding her when she is bad, then she will get over herself. The problem is mostly that she does not want to walk after the canter while I have rein contact. She will walk if I throw my reins away. This doesn't work for me though so we did some training.
No jigging at the loose-rein walk

I would ask her to trot, and then ask for a walk while keeping my rein contact. She would jig a bit, but as soon as she started calmly walking then I would throw my reins away and praise her to give her positive reinforcement. I figure if I am consistent with this, eventually she will figure it out. After that we can work on staying at the walk when I pick up rein contact, but baby steps!
Loose reins = happy walking horsie

After working on flatwork for probably half an hour, I decided to reward Casey by popping over some jumps. A 2'6"-2'9" course was set up in the arena, so I dropped a line of jumps into cross-rails and we went over that line each way and then did three or so jump lines at the larger height. She was very good for this. Casey loves to jump and so after working on some difficult flatwork, I like to let her do what she loves. We keep it short though, because tomorrow we have a jump lesson!

Post-workout snack time

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