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I Love Spring Skiing...

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
...but I am not a fan of the effect the spring weather is having on Huey. Which is compounded by the fact that he's been out of work since early December.

He's getting pissy. A couple of weeks ago he staged a little rebellion, started refusing the halter. No physical issues other than sap rising (he's up to date on vet, farrier, dentist, chiro). Little ornery bugger. I've spent way more time than I care to consider, obliging His Royal Badness to move in the paddock. If there isn't any ice, and the ground isn't swampy, and it's not frozen into huge ruts either, I can really move his butt, and it takes no more than 5 minutes for him to realize that it will be easier to stand and go in the halter than to whine and dig in his heels. If it's icy, or swampy, or big frozen ruts, it takes closer to 30, 40 minutes.

He needs to be back into work BIG time. I'd be chomping at the bit (haha) if it didn't correspond with the end of Ski Season. As it is, I'm torn...
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Thanks Vicki!

The lesson horse I've been riding all winter had a trip from an over-aggressive farrier, so his toes have been sore, poor boy. Just glad that's not Huey's farrier! So today I asked my trainer if he was still sore, the answer was "he was on Saturday" so I said maybe instead of going for a ride, I could give her a lesson ticket and she could give me and Huey some training in the round pen.

It seems he hasn't had this before. From the info on the ground, as it were, it looks like Mr. Performance Horse was primarily a vehicle for someone to Ride To Victory. He doesn't appear to have had basic bonding and groundworking kind of training. My trainer thinks he was just a totally natural jumper, and the limit of his training was to get groomed, picked out, saddled up, and turned out on a jumping course. Not, she says, to be a Member of the Family like I'm treating him.

But...this boy is smart as a whip, he likes me a lot, and he's eager to please. So into the round pen we all went (while we could use it...it's under 6" of snow since this morning, YAY!!! will be demoing skis on Friday!!). Sorry for that... so there we are, all in the round pen, and my trainer is teaching Huey how to know when to turn away from her, when to turn towards her, when to follow her around, etc. And she's showing me how to show him, too. Very interesting! She did most of the work while I watched, because she knows what she's doing and I don't, and Huey didn't know what to do either. But he learned, all right!

The coolest thing is that she's handling him, and working him, and the whole time he has one ear on her, and one ear on me, and if I said anything, I had *both* of his ears. Which is mixed, because I felt that he should be paying total attention to her since she was teaching him something, but at the same time, I realized he totally knows who Mom is (and it's me). I did my best to keep my body angled away from him and keep my mouth shut so I wouldn't confuse him.

And at the end of it all, she had him following her about, but he didn't really want to touch her (she said this was actually an issue) but when she handed the lead rope off to me when they were done, he stood behind me and rested his chin on my shoulder. Not in a pushy way, the trainer said, but in an Appropriate and Respectful way. And he wanted to blow in my nose. He's been so freaky for the last age and a half that I was just totally thrilled by this.

I think that getting plenty of time learning new stuff in the round pen is going to be key for the winters for this guy. He does not like being a pasture puff! He has made it very clear that he likes to work, and he likes to be thinking, and I just need to find a way to make that happen. Good thing the round pen is in the sunniest spot on the property, and loses snow and ice cover soonest because of that.
 

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