Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reddums-monster (and Taran update)

I rode Reddums, for real (as opposed to just tootling 'round the trails), for the first time in ages. MC and Fuzzypony have been riding him fairly regularly, but he's recently pulled a few old, ugly tricks that I wanted to nip in the bud before they became a huge problem.

When I'm trying to work out a problem (in Red's case, locking his neck/head/jaw and leaving the arena), I want to set the horse up to fail. In other words, I WANT him to try his tricks on me so I can make a correction. Red's no dummy - he knows he's not supposed to pull crap like that and if he knows he can't get away with it, he won't try it.

Sooo, I took him out while Saga and Cash were eating dinner (did I mention that Red is now on a "diet"?), which pretty much guarantees some sort of misbehavior. Sure enough, he took off at a mad trot and the steering was sort of non-existent. He tried to throw in all kinds of silly canters, wonky gaits (remember he's a Foxtrotter, so his legs can move in all kinds of odd configurations), stopping dead, and just generally being a brat. I corrected each one and just rode on like it was no big deal.

Unfortunately, he did manage to "get me" early on - he tossed in a (rather pathetic) buck just before he spun 90 degrees and ducked under a low-hanging oak tree. I rode the buck fine but then had to hug his neck to avoid the branches - thank goodness for helmets! I yelled at him and then went back to work, "daring" him to try it again. He decided he'd better not, and we went on to do some very nice work.

We got in some good walk-trot transitions, although because he's gaited I think he will always shuffle his feet for a few steps instead of stepping right off into the trot. His trot/walk transitions were not as nice as he tends to be very abrupt and fling his head up as he sits down. I worked on making my downward requests very subtle and we made progress. We had some great trot, and I really focused on keeping him supple with my leg. He tends to stiffen up and lock if you're anything more than very quiet with the reins, but he's very responsive to leg. I actually got some real leg yield, which is fantastic because he often gets his legs tangled up when trying to move laterally (again, that gaited thing!). We even had a few good trot/canter transitions with nice canter work for a few strides, but then he would lose his balance and his canter would start to be "gaity". Not fun to ride!

I think the canter issues stems from the fact that he's gained some weight recently and it's affecting his balance. He doesn't look the least bit off in the pasture, and his trot is better than ever, so I don't think it's a lameness issue. I'm going to try to longe him regularly to help him strengthen, and as I mentioned he's going on as much of a diet as I can mange (which isn't much since he hardly gets anything other than hay). I would love to ride him more but I just don't know where to find the time - I've got Cash and Saga to ride as well and I just can't fit in three rides, plus barn and house chores after work. Can I please have another few hours in my day?


Taran continues to do well in his recovery. He's down to just oral antibiotics, 1 gram of Bute/day, and UlcerGuard (just in case). He's on the loading doses of Legend and Adequan to help the joint. The vet was unable to get any fluid out of the coffin joint to do a white blood cell count - which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that we don't what's going on in the joint. She wants Taran to stay through the weekend, and if he continues to do well he'll come home early next week. Keep your fingers crossed!

1 comment:

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed for Taran!

    I like it better when I can be prepared for antics as you were, rather than be surprised by bad behavior. That happened with Lilly a lot this year... I created situations that would make her ornery. Sounds like you're making progress with Red! :)