Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ground poles 4 lyfe!

Ok so I'm delaying the Plantation post again, still bc of Charlie. Sorry y'all! But you're just gonna have to cope. The thing is, I'm taking a disproportionate number of photos of the horse considering what we're actually working on. And if I don't post them quickly, they'll surely overrun my poor cell phone haha.

turns out cross ties in the big wide open aisle are more comfortable for him than cross ties in the wash stall. noted.
We are obviously still very much in the "getting to know you" phase. Ya know, considering Charlie came home four days ago. I want very much to give him a structured routine, but it's a bit tricky bc his turnout situation is changing every day.

coat needs work. thank goodness this guy enjoys grooming and spa sessions!
It's all going in a good direction - he graduated quickly to all-day turnout, and then to over night turnout. No pasture mates yet (he's still technically in the quarantine period) but that will be soon too. It still means that each of his days has unfolded slightly differently.

i <3 that dopey expression
He's also getting exposed to different levels of activity in the barn - from days with no lessons (Monday) to days just jam packed with lesson students everywhere (Tuesday). Generally I'm of the mindset that exposure is good for him. Yes I want him to have routine - but yes I also want him to be able to adapt within that routine.

already king of mirror selfies
It's just making it slightly tricky to get a good baseline on him. He is generally a quiet horse, but he is still kinda maybe expecting to go run a race. And it's interesting to see what triggers that race type response. Like the wash stall - in my experience, wash stalls have proven to be safe and effective places to start cross tying green or antsy horses.

Maybe bc it's a more closed off, well defined space? Idk. Whatever the case, that rule doesn't hold for Charlie. Maybe bc he's just too big for the space and it feels cramped? He's definitely less settled in there tho, esp compared to the aisle cross ties where he could probably stand quietly for hours on end.

surveying his accomplishments!
For now I've been trying to keep the riding experiences fairly consistent too. Given the state of his feet (still in race plates up front, barefoot behind until tomorrow) and general training level, the simple act of going through the motions somehow feels more important right now than what we actually do under saddle.

So after getting dressed, we go hand walk a few laps around the indoor (including walking in hand through ground poles, which Charlie stumbled through once but has navigated easily and without much consideration since) and then I hop on and off we go!

wait - that's all? i'm used to, uh, ya know, moar.
I move into the trot work pretty quickly, with the idea being that I want to get Charlie accustomed to contact and it's easier to do that with him moving forward. It's tricky bc he starts out a bit braced (this has been exacerbated by residual body and hoof soreness) but then eases into it, and then becomes quite heavy. Back and forth from tense bracing to heavy in my hands.

looking forward to when he has friends
It's actually a good feeling tho. It feels like he's thinking. Like he's paying attention to me. I spend a lot of time reminding myself to stretch down with my legs and heels (the better to not get pulled out of the saddle when he gets heavy and then trips, Emma!) and he always notices when I rebalance myself.

oooooooh soccer field!
Charlie actually is quite responsive to the legs. Not hot hot like Shen, but definitely not dead. A nice happy medium for my style of leg aids. He also steers surprisingly well. There's stickiness by the gate and an occasional half-hearted nap if I wasn't planning ahead. And the appearance of a horse in the arena is cause for distraction (tho as a point of pride - most of my rides have been during turnout and he's been a star).

hand walking in the outdoor, smelling the roses flowers
The brakes are a titch dull, but they most definitely are in there. Mostly I just need to remember to give the 'whoa' aids as clearly as possible with my whole body, not just bracing my seat up out of the saddle and pulling, bc duh that doesn't work on anything lol.

freshly banged tail ain't bad!
Actually - maybe my favorite thing about riding this horse right now is that he gives me a very strong feeling like I need to be correct. I need to be stretching down in my legs and up with my upper body, sitting straight and evenly on the horse, with my hands and arms and elbows and whatnot all in the appropriate places behaving themselves.

sweet face!
I need to be balanced to help him balance. I need to lift my shoulders to help him lift his. It's actually not at all the feeling I expected from such a green horse - we always hear about green horses wreaking havoc on a rider's position (and that has DEFINITELY been my experience with horses like Bali and Krimpet) but for whatever reason this guy is somehow already going such that my position has a very clear impact on him. Giant tho he may be. I like it!

choppy but good 'nuff bridle path
Another thing about him that I'm happy to report: he's neither incredibly wiggly nor stiff as a 2x4. There is a certain degree of one-sidedness, sure, but honestly not much more than you would expect in most horses. Mostly tho he feels like a very clean slate that is already prepped to take my aids as best as I can give them.

a hat for Charlie!
Our rides follow a similar pattern each time, with our most recent (last night) being definitely the best. He physically felt the best and most sound (least sore) since coming home. And we weren't particularly pressed for time. Lots of trotting - mostly staying large around the arena working on straightness.

We circle a little bit and change directions, and I aim for creating a rhythm that is unchanged by whether we are going toward or away from the gate. And something that really stuck out last night: I need to look for good pleasant moments of softness for when we take our walk breaks, rather than when things get tense or choppy and I become eager to change the subject. Just gotta keep going, keep riding him and showing him where I want to be, then reward with a release and walk break.

more circles in the indoor
Oh, and usually we walk the set of three ground poles that are apparently permanent residents of the indoor, and introduced trotting the single pole two days ago. Last night tho? We trotted the three like legit professionals. Good boy Charlie!

I legitimately can't wait to get him over to OF for a lesson with trainer P. Still some work to be done before then tho. Like maybe riding outside once or twice. Or. Uh. Maybe cantering? And, um, practicing with the trailer.

No big deal tho. It's all ahead of us!

59 comments:

  1. He sounds like he's settling in really well

    ReplyDelete
  2. He has such a cute face! I'm literally so excited to watch your journey with him :) How big is he? I feel like he's one of those horses who is huge but looks like a little pony because of his adorable face lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol he is plenty big haha. 17hh but with the advantage of being quite proportionate and easy to sit on. Plus his face really is not huge at all, which helps!

      Delete
  3. I just love him already! Welcome to the ground pole club :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. He sounds like he has such a good head and foundation on him. He is going to be great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really what it feels like! Esp once he figures out that his racing career is over and that we have a different set of expectations he's only going to settle more.

      Delete
  5. OMG I LUVS HIM AND WANT TO MEET HIM. I'm so excited for you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come meet him!!!!! I pretty much adore him too :)

      Delete
  6. Charlie. *swoon*

    GREAT news about how comfortable he is to ride and in such a way that it makes you improve your position! That's a kickass perk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! One of the biggest unknowns (among many, let's be real) was how he would actually feel to ride and whether I would actually like his way of going. Not exactly insignificant details! Thankfully tho he is so far so good on that score!

      Delete
  7. He is totally adorable! Love that he has such a great brain so far, can't wait for more Charlie stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm definitely appreciating his brain. It's clear that the key will be keeping him connected with me, esp during hand walking sessions around new and exciting locations etc, so we are working on that. But he feels like a horse who WANTS to be settled and be good.

      Delete
  8. What asset guy and he landed himself a pretty wonderful new life too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure hope he feels the same way! Probably he is impatient to make friends but that will happen soon enough

      Delete
  9. gah hes precious. love his face in the bonnet. i want to squeesh his little face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Omg his face is super squishable tho!!! I show him every grooming tool before I use it and he asks me to plz use each on his darling little nose. Curry comb? Scritchy hand mitt? Body brush? All must do duty on scratching and brushing his nose and lips too lol!

      Delete
  10. Not going to lie Charlie>>>>>>>>>>>than plantation! So cute

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha I definitely feel ya!!! Tho the plantation pics are pretty badass too, just gotta get off my but and EDIT!!!

      Delete
  11. 17h will start to feel small before you know it! People always tell me Chimi looks massive and I'm like- oh I guess he is… he feels normal to me 😂

    You really found a cool horse with Charlie- and I love his name- who doesn't love a Charle?!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha i had no idea Chimi was that big! the horse really doesn't feel that big, esp under saddle. and so far he has good manners to handle, tho i can tell my some of his mannerisms that previous handlers have been quite firm in making sure that stays the case. which is maybe useful for me to keep in mind bc it's one thing to get dragged or pushed around by something Krimpet-sized, and quite another when the horse is Charlie-sized. regardless tho, he seems like a good dude with nice manners!

      Delete
  12. Screw plantation. Just wanna hear about this guy. Omg. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lolz there's sure to be plenty more to come!

      Delete
    2. I second SprinklerBandit! :)

      Delete
  13. This makes me so happyyyy!! He looks PRECIOUS in his sparkle hat, and I'm so thrilled that he is turning out to be such an awesome horse to ride so far! Having a 'clean slate' like Charlie is just fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i definitely like the 'clean slate' aspect too. obvi it makes it hard to predict how he'll respond to new things, but i've just been expecting him to be ok and he's generally responded accordingly! also yay for sparkle hats!

      Delete
  14. Sounds like a solid guy! Can't wait to see how you and Charlie progress!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The shiftiness in the wash stall might be because the size reminds him of a saddling stall in the paddock at the track. But really, who cares because so cute, especially in that hat omg!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think that's exactly it - it definitely makes him think a race is coming. he starts sticking his tongue out and wiggling it all around like he's anticipating getting it tied down lol. we're working on it tho!

      Delete
  16. He looks to be settling well! What a cutie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so far so good with the settling. still more work to do but we're getting there!

      Delete
  17. I'm so glad he's settling in well! Can't wait for lessoning to get under way. You lesson a lot more than I and my measly once-a-week budget can manage, so I compensate by vicariously enjoying your lessoning. :) I've got a clinic this weekend, a clinic the second weekend of October, and then (possibly) some Halloween Parading at the tail end of October. Winter, alas, is coming...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha well my lesson budget was never encumbered by actual horse ownership before so we will see how that changes now that i pay board lol.

      Delete
  18. I don't think we ever start the young one's in the wash rack but maybe washracks are different coast to coast #wouldntbesurprised. Glad he's taking everything in stride!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. for whatever reason i've seen horses that were otherwise not ok to be cross tied do well in a wash stall. maybe just bc there was nothing behind them or next to them to look at, as opposed to an open aisle way? Charlie definitely prefers the openness tho

      Delete
  19. I love his face. His little roman nose is my fav.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i love his face too! it's a very pleasant profile :)

      Delete
  20. He sounds like he's coming along splendidly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so far so good! just trying to take it one step at a time :)

      Delete
  21. Girl. Do you need a bridle? I have 5, I can send you one. That beast is too majestic for that mismatched look you got going on. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lolz i have five or six too.. they're just all... special. this mismatched bridle is actually all one brand (stubben) and in pretty good shape, tho it's slightly roomy on him. i picked up some darkening oil for the noseband in hopes that it can bend to my will and be made to match the rest... but if that doesn't work then yea. Charles will need something better haha

      Delete
    2. I will see what I can do for you. We can't have his pretty head wearing something like that.

      Delete
    3. ha awesome. poor guy. he really needs all the help he can get now that he's with me!!

      Delete
  22. Wait - did you get a new one?! I'm so out of the loop. He's precious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, yes i did - just this past weekend actually. 'tis apparently the season! :D

      Delete
  23. Trotting three whole poles! Woot, woot. Sounds like he's settling in really well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I could look at Charlie pictures all day, he is so adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just catching up on blogs, and omg, he's SO cute!!! Congrats!!! Is he your first horse?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am just so happy for you! And I love your commitment to move on from the ponneys! 17 hands?!! Sheesh!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Aw, he sounds like he has a good mind and a sweet personality!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am so glad he is doing so well, so soon! The getting to know you phase is fun but also a little anxiety-making. I actually took your advice and cross-tied Crimson in the aisle last night. He was much happier than the enclosed crossties too. Maybe these big guys get claustrophobic. Thanks for the great tip!

    Also, jealous that you get to ride your guy already! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. These posts are so fantastic to read. Like I can't contain my excitement. I am seriously the heart eye emoji the entire way through your post

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've always been a big fan of slow and steady with the green beans, especially OTTBs, as they get used to a whole new lifestyle

    ReplyDelete