Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chestnut Cob Chaos

The long wet days started to show in the Chestnuts. Those boys were starting to act cranky and got into trouble. Comrade especially would hear me call him and get excited thinking I was going to work him. I felt like the worst person ever when I could not.

 As Comrade started pushing Roscoe around more and making cranky Cob faces at the others, my mantra became "I have got to ride that pony!" Easier said then done this time of year. But after he pushed Roscoe literally through the stall guard I knew it was imperative. Roscoe did look hilarious standing there with a rubber thin guard over his neck and the wide guard below and both still attached to one side of the stall. He was like "Huh, what now?" He stood while I detached him and then went back to licking a bowl. Cobs are such characters.
 My mom had Sunday off which helped to get chores done sooner. She satisfied her jingle bell craving by taking Rosemary for a drive with bells on her harness. Unfortunately they had to cut the drive short because she is showing some lameness. Damn Mud.
Afterwards she and I went for a ride. I just put the bareback pad on Comrade to save time and she did the same to DaVinci. As we walked to the arena, I got glared at by Roscoe. Yep I was in trouble. I kept walking and tried to ignore him. For this ride I put Rosemary's bridle on Comrade to try out her boucher bit. He was full of energy, but not sure how to work with the different bit. He went back to holding his head and neck still. So I did lots of bending lines and some  counter bending to show him he could in fact still move those parts. With all his energy, I moved him up to canter. I could tell he was trying to figure out how to avoid the bit. From his butt to his withers was a great, but then he was stiff. We circled and I kind of exaggerated the bend to get him to soften. Back down to trot actually showed a difference from the beginning. He slowed his gait and stepped truer. His neck got that nice jiggle and he was listening.
Upside down, but this is the bit.

 The boucher works off the poll and it's effects we evident. I really liked how he was able to carry it through changes of direction. Normally he pops up, adjusts and then softens back into a frame. He was still energetic, so I asked for right lead canter. This direction has been a little sticky, but not this time. Comrade stepped smoothly into canter and carried the gait well. Still a bit stiff in his neck though. After a few laps and circles, we transitioned to trot. And for once Comrade sat down into the transition and pushed forward for trot, rather than diving on his forehand.
Ah, the little things that make us happy. We took them both for a trail ride and Comrade showed that he certainly had not worked enough. My legs said otherwise. I felt like I was walking bow legged when I got off. I guess I know I was down and around him :)

Now it was time to face the ticked off little boy. I backed him away from the gate so Comrade could go back out. With muddy ground, not fun. As I led Comrade in, Roscoe charged. I had to let go of the reins and watched Comrade run off with them dangling. Mean while Roscoe pushed out the gate and into the barn. Split decision, who to go after? Comrade stepped through the reins, answering that question. Just like with Roscoe and the stall guard, he stood patiently while I got his foot back where it belonged. I walked back to the barn to see Roscoe in a stall. I went over to "scold" him and while I was putting the bridle on the halter hook, he put his head in the bridle and tried to pick up the bit. I opened the door and held the bridle and he put it on. I snugged up the cheek pieces  and led him out to work in hand. All the while I am thinking to myself "I am just reinforcing his rotten behavior." But who can resist a horse that literally puts the bridle on himself. Surprisingly he did not seem to mind the boucher. We had to do a lap around the house alternating between backing and yielding his hind quarters to get him over his spooky, stupid moments.
Then we got serious. I asked him to circle and maintain the correct bend. Once he listened, I used my elbow to ask him to move over. To the left he moved off easily, crossing nicely. To the right he tends to fall in so it took more elbow. He still crossed well when he did the exercise. I am not super at in hand work, but between the two of us we made it work. Mr. Workaholic was just lapping it all up. Though it was not planned, it seemed to fulfill his need. If only he and Comrade could express their need for work in less aggressive ways. I will never mention that the most rotten one gets worked in their hearing ever again. They take it to heart.

Today Comrade is making faces at Rosemary and Winston. His bubble is really big and the boys are stepping carefully around him. If the rain would stop, maybe I can catch up on burning his energy.
While the Red boys cause chaos, they did end the year at the upper end of the Welsh standings. Roscoe finished, National Reserve Champion 3 and over Section D Stallion. He is second to the same stallion he was to as a weanling. Small world. Comrade finished tied for fourth 3 and over Section D Gelding. I never understand why they skip a placing when ties are involved. He actually has the third highest points, but a tie in second pushes him to fourth??? Now to find a good picture for the award ceremony.

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