Monday, December 22, 2008

A "warm" day and a lunging session

It's been so cold lately that when it got up around 20 degrees this morning, it actually felt warm — probably partly because it was also nice and sunny.

I went to the barn around noon to remove Panama's blanket. (I only blanket under 15 degrees, because I want him to maintain his winter coat.) He was being a bit of a jerk at first and kept walking away from me when I tried to approach him, but he didn't hold out for very long. I think now that he's learned it works with some people (i.e., the property's owner), he's testing me to see if he can get away with it, but every time he puts less effort into it.

I'm also thinking part of the cause may be that I'm not messing with him enough, so I decided that the (relatively) nice weather made a perfect opportunity to rectify the problem. I tied him up to remove his blanket, and then I shifted directly into our grooming routine. I brushed his coat, brushed his mane, and picked out his feet. Although the braid in his tail is getting fuzzy, I decided not to rebraid it just yet, as he was still acting a bit jumpy.

After grooming Panama, I tried to play with him a little bit, but he wouldn't run — he just stood there and stared at me. So I grabbed the lunge line and took him into the back pasture to work him a little — just to make sure he remembers what "trot" means!

We lunged for about fifteen minutes — not long, but long enough. The pasture is covered in snow and the ground is frozen solid, so I wasn't going to have him canter, but he was behaving so well that I changed my mind. He rewarded me with a remarkably controlled canter (considering how long it's been since I've worked him) and only slipped his footing twice, despite the snow.

I can tell when Panama is enjoying his "work," and this was one of those times. He carried his tail high the whole time, and tossed his head playfully the first couple of times he cantered. Every time I praised him, he looked immensely proud of himself.

Unfortunately, tomorrow isn't supposed to be as nice, but Wednesday and Thursday (Christmas) are, so I'm hoping to be able to lunge or even ride him again soon!



At December 26, 2008 at 12:39 PM, Blogger Cheryl Ann said...

I'm hoping, too, that we get a break from our rainy weather and I can take my horses out for a lunge next week!

At December 27, 2008 at 5:20 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Poor weather is so tedious, isn't it?

The problem we've had here in Denver lately is that on the warmer days (i.e., 30-40 degrees) it has been ridiculously windy, because there is almost always another storm blowing in. And that wind always makes Panama looney. Hopefully I'll be able to lunge him again tomorrow, though, as it is supposed to be around 50 degrees!


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