Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rondo bears weight and Panama gets exercised

On Thursday, the day after our farrier appointment in which Panama annoyed me and Rondo pleased me, my trainer came.  We were original scheduled to work only with Rondo, but because of my broken finger, I hadn't ridden Panama in nearly 2 weeks, since well before the accident.  I figured it would be some time before I was riding again -- I'm going to try to get on again as soon as I feel comfortable taking this splint off, in perhaps a few more days or a week, but since Panama was already showing signs of restlessness from his "vacation," I asked my trainer to work with him, too.

Rondo was first up, and although we got off to a questionable start -- he's had 2 weeks off too -- he turned out to be pretty well behaved.  We took him indoors when it looked like he might be a bit fussy, so that his temper tantrums wouldn't disrupt another boarder's ride, and Leslie ground drove and lunged him in the indoor arena.  He is displaying a marked preference for going to the right (the exact opposite of Panama), and his cantering to the left can be rather explosive and scatterbrained, kind of like he's trying to gallop and scrambling so as not to fall down, all at the same time.  Other than that, though, he was pretty good.

When my trainer was done with that, she asked me to bring the big mounting block out into the middle of the arena.  She had to get Rondo over that first, but once he was okay with her setting it down next to him, she climbed up and desensitized him a bit to her leaning on his back, reaching across to pat his other side, and (ohmygod) waving her hand in the air over his back.  He is easily alarmed by things being over him, probably because he is used to being the biggest thing around (a problem little Panama definitely did not have at this age!).

He took it all pretty well, so my trainer decided to just sort of lay her weight over his back.  Keep in mind that all he had on was a surcingle and a bridle with a lead rope run through it like reins, but she wanted to get him a little used to the idea of bearing weight on his back, in the least threatening way possible.  (When he was living with my in-laws, their idiot nanny -- a guy -- once decided to try to jump on Rondo's back, bareback and bridleless and, of course, completely untrained.  You can imagine how that goes, and my trainer and I agreed that we need to make sure he doesn't feel threatened like that again when we are starting him under saddle.)  She laid over him with her feet on the block and her stomach over his back, and he took it all pretty well, so she had me lead him just a few steps with her draped like that.  When he handled that well, she had me lead him a few more, and he handled that well -- when she started to get a little unbalanced, he just stopped and waited while she used the surcingle to pull herself back up, and then I led him a few more steps.

I was pretty pleased -- he was remarkably level-headed about the whole thing.  I did get the feeling, though, that he was watching my reaction closely when she was leaning and laying over his back initially (before I led him).  He was watching me, but he had his ears straight off to either side, like he was paying equal attention to what my trainer was doing over his back.  He looked like he was saying, "I'm not at all sure about this, but you don't look very concerned, and you keep telling me I'm a good boy, so I guess it's okay."

Once we were done with Rondo, my trainer rode Panama outside.  He is always easily distracted when he hasn't been worked in a while, and he is also always easily distracted when we ride outside, so my trainer had to work to get his focus on her, but once he settled in to work, he was actually pretty good and not too fussy.  She did note that he was cantering crookedly to the right -- he always has problems with his right shoulder falling in when we canter to the right, but this time she noticed his left hip was cocked to the outside as well.  We aren't sure whether he's been doing it all along or whether he just started it, but she said to keep my left lower leg back a little when we canter in that direction, to push his hip into line a bit.  It's also possible he might need a chiro (he's never been adjusted before), but with all the medical and pet expenses so far this year, I decided to wait and keep an eye on it, rather than running right home to call an equine chiropractor (as I have to admit, I was inclined to).

All in all, a good morning, and I was happy to see both my horses worked, even if it made me sad that I couldn't do anything with them myself.  I'm just afraid that the reins (or lunge line, with Rondo) will catch on my bulky splinted and bandaged finger, so I decided to wait a little longer, at least until I stop wearing the splint -- but that should be soon now, as the doc said (on Monday) that I'd only have to wear it a week or two longer!



At May 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That is really nice to have someone who can work your horses when you can't. I was hoping to get my horses to a facility where they could also be trained while I was moving, but the trainer was on sabbatical. She only had time to board.

At July 5, 2012 at 11:25 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, it IS nice. Although my trainer and I don't always see eye to eye, she is fantastic and is always willing to work with me when I have reservations about anything she is doing. More on that in an upcoming post.


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