Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

Someone is out to get me. I think it may be the chickens. Don't be fooled by their innocent look, chickens are fiendishly clever. They've hatched a plot to do me in while I'm riding, then Spider will take the blame and they'll be in the clear. They've even managed to enlist the help of the other horses and the U.S. Military. It's a full-scale mutiny!

It began with the Peanut Gallery (AKA, Vinny and Matilda) deciding to gallop around like colts during my warm-up. Very distracting. Then, as I was working on transitions, a cadre of very large, very loud and very low-flying military helicoptors flew over my property. Spider handled it all like a champ, though. Until my rooster and the neighbor's rooster decided to get in a fight in one of the pastures. I'm not sure who won, all I know is that there were hens running everywhere, including my arena. Spider is not really fully accustomed to the country life yet. Running horses and low-flying helicoptors are one thing, but 20 or so cackling, flapping chickens are a little more than he can take. We called it a day after the feathers settled.

But enough with the conspiracy theories, on to the work. After Sunday's issues, I made sure I did a very long, very thorough warm-up. Lots of free walk, lots of lateral work at walk and forward, forward, forward! After the warm-up we played a little game I like to do with young horses, I call it "How Many Transitions Can I Do On One 20m Circle". The rues are simple, I pick a spot on a 20m circle, then see how many transitions I can do before I get back to the same spot. It can be any sort of transition; up, down, within the same gait. It just has to be a good transition, poor transitions don't count. I haven't done it with Spider in years, not since I first bought him and started re-training him. It's a great exercise, though. It really helps with getting the horse on the aids and puts some jump in the transtions. Especially when you get up to five or so transtions. There's only a few strides to nail the transition, so you really have to have the horse forward and responsive. I concentrated mainly on trot to canter and canter to trot transitions because of Spider's issue from Sunday. He had no trouble taking the right lead canter from trot, but the first few times I asked for left lead canter he was resistant. He got better as we worked, though, so I'm going to chalk up his resistance to a bit of muscle soreness and being a bit behind my leg at first.

I was also thinking that now that he's home I've ridden him much more and more consistently than he's been ridden in months. I'm going to up his joint supplement to the loading dose for a week or so, and give him a bit of Robaxin tonight with his dinner. Hopefully he'll work out of this, otherwise I'll be calling the vet.


  1. Around here, the avian conspirators are the wild turkeys. I know the feeling.

    Had Tuck acupunctured for sore hocks and when I finally rode him today--he was lame do to a lost shoe soreness--had cantered just fine on both leads. Might be what Spider needs.

  2. Chickens can be very scary!

    Your transitions exercise is interesting - Maisie and I are doing an easier version involving more straight lines and "momentary transitions".

  3. I always knew I hated fowl. I'm glad you both survived. ;-)

    I think I'll try the circle game. I'll probably get two, but it's worth a shot.

  4. Maybe I won't get killer chickens at our new place :o)


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