Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Trotting Tuesday and a Wednesday Walk-About

Charlie and I continued our bootcamp on Tuesday with some solid flatwork prior to his farrier appointment (partly I did this to ensure he wasn't an anxious mess like last time, although I was pretty sure he'd settled in enough for that to be a non-issue...he ended up being a perfect angel). Achilles was interested in what we were doing and actually walked into and stood in the ring with us the whole time; Charlie didn't care.

Lots of geese everywhere, a view from the ring
We started with side reins, then I got on and worked on a lot of walking and circles. In the end it was probably a 35 minute workout with 10 straight minutes of consistent trot work. To the left was awesome, and Charlie was stretching down into it in almost no time. To the right, though, he was definitely stiff and sore. I met with quite a bit of resistance, some whip-around toe biting, and pinned ears, but I pushed him through it and kept the circles bigger in that direction until he relaxed a bit, then switched it up with turns in the other direction again to loosen his muscles. I'll have to work on softening him up on that side and keep doing the carrot stretches before and after each ride. Hopefully that's all it is.

Because of the workout and farrier appointment yesterday, I decided it was best to focus on mental (rather than physical) conditioning today. So I took some advice from a good friend and took Charlie for a walk. We went straight out the back of the barn, through the woods, and into the back field, then continued down the side of the large field to the left of the property and back down the driveway toward home. Less than a mile, but a nice jaunt.

This will be really nice in the warm weather
Charlie was overall really good, and we even saw multiple deer and geese! He jumped sideways at the first deer, and snorted at the others, but was more curious than scared. Couldn't have cared less about the geese, which is good because they're everywhere. I kept his attention with periodic "whoas" and "back," and stretches for cookies.
There's a deer dead center, watching
He actually only had one episode: when I asked him for the third time to step over a few logs and he decided they needed to be jumped. It was an excited "I-need-to-release-energy" rear-squeal-spin-kick-rear move that ultimately looped one toe dangerously close to the lead rope, so I dropped it and said loudly "Enough!"...and Charlie stopped and looked at me. I picked up the leadrope, asked him to walk on and step over the logs, calmly this time, and then we continued on our way without further incident.

Tomorrow looks like it will be a deluge, it's already raining right now, so Charlie will most likely have the day off. I'm not sure if we'll tackle the walk-about again right away, mostly because I want to ride and help build Charlie's topline, but I think it was a good exercise and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went.


  1. I'm so glad you're getting to ride and spend quality time with your pony! I bet he really enjoyed the walk and probably needed to get a little crazy over that log. If you've got hilly areas you can make him walk up and down and really sit on his butt, that'll help his topline too. Especially the walking forward and a few steps back and getting him to engage that hind end. That helped Brantley immensely and I think that's what really helped him get in shape to be finally put under saddle... Even though you're past those foundation points already :D

    1. I've been wishing for some hills but don't have any immediately nearby. I'm hoping once the weather clears and I can explore neighboring areas/trails we may be able to find some. I agree, that's one thing that would really help.