Sunday, February 12, 2012


I realized the other day that I hadn't ridden in like three weeks because of the rain and snow, and I haven't been able to do much training with Starbuck either since the arena's been so soggy.  So I decided to take advantage of the crappy weather to do lots of bodywork with her, using the different techniques in my new Tellington Jones book.  I think that this is good for our relationship as she starts to see me as someone who can make her feel better, it's leading me to get to know her better, and above all rubbing on a warm fuzzy animal in her straw-lined stall is way more comfortable than running around the barnyard dodging puddles.

We've also been inadvertently working on leading since what we've done more than anything else is leading her to different fields and paddocks so she could at least stretch her legs and socialize with her horsey friends and wouldn't be so stir crazy when I could start working with her again.  So we've gone to the top of the barnyard, to the orange groves accross the street, to the field down the road, to the parking lot... you get the picture.  I've started carrying a short crop with me when we walk anywhere and I think both that and all this "practice" is making all the difference-- she's only run past me once in the past few days and today we led up and down the scary side of the arena several times without any problem!

The other change in our training is that I decided to start hand-feeding her treats every now and then, mainly when working on things like ground-tying and lowering her head, or after a particularly successful exercize.  I'm glad I spent time without using treats at first, but I think using them now may help motivate her and keep her more focused on me.  We'll see how it goes, if she gets pushy I'll have to re-think it.  But both yesterday and today she did really well and was much less bratty than she's been lately, it was really a pleasure to work with her and we learned something new-- trotting alongside me while I jog without getting ahead of me.

All the photos below are just because I'm so proud of how pretty her hooves are and want to make a record of it, so I can keep track of any changes.

Front hooves, side view:

Hind hooves, side view:

Front right hoof:
Left front hoof:
Right rear hoof:
Left rear hoof:

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