Tuesday, October 11, 2016

what's up with Chuck (the third)

Fun fact: from high school into my first year or so at college, I dated a series of guys named Chuck. So when I told my mother last month that I was considering buying a horse named Charlie, my stepfather chimed in with "Oh, would this be Chuck #3?!?" Ah dad jokes lol...

all dressed up!! now he and Dino can match in their sparkly hats!!
Anyway I've been running around a bit wildly for the last week (was in Houston), thus explaining my absence in reading and commenting elsewhere... I'll catch up eventually! For now tho, here's a summary on what's been up with our favorite new be-starred bay face.

so handsome tho!
Basically most of our rides look very similar - we're definitely settling into a routine. And Charlie is figuring it out. Tho, sure, he's a very green horse and is a little different every day. It's almost like you can see him trying out different responses to see what works.

Charlie occasionally interferes in a.... weird way lol. these wraps are equally weird, but they work. good 'nuff for me!
I began carrying a crop with him after the first couple rides bc he'd occasionally get a little sour and stuck, sometimes even going into slo-mo reverse instead of moving forward. And the gate is often a sticking point (especially when tracking right. bc racehorse).

the olympics selection committee better be paying attention! 
But strategic use of ground pole exercises have seemed to help a lot - changing the conversation from me "driving him forward" to "giving him a place to go." He sees the ground poles now and understands to move forward to them. Plus obviously any ground pole or cavalleti exercise has the added bonus of helping him build strength through his back and hind end.

barn window vistas of Pig bc i wanna
He's never seemed to care particularly about ground poles and isn't averse to stepping all over them haha. But whenever I go through these exercises with him, I try to channel trainer P from OF, whose mantra is to "let them figure it out." Repetition is our friend. And guess what? He's figuring it out.

BONUS: Idaho barn door vistas at dusk!
He even tackled his first (itty bitty) vertical this past weekend (pictured above). Just trotted on up and over it again and again, generally knocking it down with his hind end every time. But nbd, we just kept trying, letting him figure out where his feet were throughout.

A couple times he figured out to jump with his front end but still trotted with the hind end (still taking the rail in the process) but he finally was able to trot it without knocking it down. And then actually jumped the thing (tiny tho it was) quite nicely for our final effort. Good boy! Obviously we're officially a force to be reckoned with lol.

it's static dust season, yo. ugh.
So that feels like a positive development. More than that, tho, I'm happy to report that Charlie seems to be moving away from that sour stickiness that colored his first week or two under saddle. He's becoming much more forward and accepting of the "GO" aids.

I strongly suspect that this is directly related to how Charlie feels physically. He seems to be much more comfortable now - decidedly less sore and much freer and looser through his back.

skinny tb is still happy tb :)
Lots to be happy about with that! Tho of course a more comfortable horse who is happier to go forward means that our issue with slightly dull brakes is a little more obvious lol. Especially in the outdoor on the left lead canter - this horse can really get on a roll lol.

ENGAGE; Giant Crazy Race Horse Mode!!
So far it's been ok tho - the steering still works even if the brakes aren't great. And he's not exactly "running away" with me so much as he's just.... going pretty fast lol. Let's call it a work in progress.

"haha just kidding, i'm a good boy" - Charlie
It's obviously a lot easier in the indoor bc it's a much smaller space and forces him to stay a little more manageable if he has any hope of making the turns. The indoor also helps rock him back off his forehand a little more (tho he's still VERY heavy up front for now - let's call that another work in progress) so he's sliiiightly more adjustable.

maryland is so pretty sometimes!
All the same tho, omg his canter. I just love it. Even when it's heavy up front (and he trips and I think we're both going to lawn dart straight down through the earth's crust all the way into China, and perhaps continue off into orbit on the other side....) it just has SUCH a nice rhythm and feeling to it. It's hard to describe, really. And in fact I didn't think much of his canter when I went to look at him.

But riding it is something else entirely. Like that feeling where I just want to put my heels down, get up in half seat, and plant my hands on his crest and just cruise forever. Plus, while we've only navigated exactly 2 ground poles at the canter thus far, he's absolutely nailed both of them (and one was quite skinny!).

So yea. No real groundbreaking updates - and still no more media of me riding him (insert infinite sad faces here). But we continue to take small but meaningful steps forward. And I continue to be very excited about where things are going!

48 comments:

  1. That face! How could you not love it? Things seem to be going along nicely and he seems a very honest and uncomplicated guy. I'm curious about your boots- they might be what I'm looking for for Irish....

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    1. Pretty sure I bought him for that face - who could resist?!? And the boots are Professional's Choice pastern wraps, bought from state line tack online (totally meant to include that in the post lol). They're just basic Velcro on neoprene, one size fits all. But they seem to cover the problem area well and don't move much. I haven't used them long enough to know if they rub or create other issues, but they were inexpensive and already fee like they're working so I would say they are worth a shot!

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  2. Hopefully this one sticks ;)
    Charlie sounds like he is doing really well with you!

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    1. He is doing well! Adjusting and coming into his own personality more every day!

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  3. I think he's got to be the cutest Chuck. No contest.

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    1. Lol that's exactly what my mom said too ;P

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  4. "And he's not exactly "running away" with me so much as he's just.... going pretty fast lol."
    Ya'll are on a roll this morning at cracking me up while I'm the gym so everyone things I'm nuts 😂 love this update!

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    1. lolz we try to tell it like it (sorta) is over here ;)

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  5. I have a few friends who have horses that need those wraps for riding, so interesting haha! But gosh, he is a gorgeous boy. I will forever be stalking you guys. GET AN INSTAGRAM.

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    1. ha maybe one day! for now tho it'll just have to suffice that i treat this blog like a photo album lol

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  6. Adding a few Teddy's brushes to your arsenal will help with that static dust problem ;)

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    1. as will a damp rag :) and, actually as will my beloved $10 horze brush that i should probably do a review on as well!

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    2. Also I hear dryer sheets work well on static too?

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  7. i need to come visit ASAP. and take lotssss of pictures.

    i know SO many horses at my barn who interfere that way and need those pastern wraps. i think it's hind end weakness? or just horses being dumb horses.

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    1. yas plz come visit!!! and indeed, the hind end weakness is REAL. see comments on "so heavy omg up front" and "tripping so extremely that we may lawn dart directly through the earth's crust" haha.

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  8. Haha, "our issue with slightly dull brakes is a little more obvious". Oh it comes and goes. Penn and I have often had the discussion: "You wanted more. I gave more. Why do you want less now? MAKE UP YOUR MIND HUMAN!"

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    1. lol basically! i spent almost all of our first couple rides encouraging him to move freely forward that he's not at all clear why i want to now put caveats on that !

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  9. Loving that bridle on his adorable face!

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  10. I'm going to call him Chuckles forever, and I'm not sorry.

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  11. YAY CHARLIE!! He is so stinkin' cute. I love that he 'runs away' now that the go button is getting more firmly installed. So funny!

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    1. honestly i would rather have to work harder to 'whoa' than to 'go' so i'm relieved that this particular tide is turning lol. tho i was never quite successful in installing a half halt in isabel... perhaps Charlie will be easier? lol

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  12. Progress is progress! Glad he is having fun with the ground poles :0)

    I didn't get an actual 2point time for this week, I worked on shorter sets.

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    1. shorter sets are still good too! that's basically what i'm working on as well. and yea i'm thrilled that he's enjoying the exercises!

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  13. Simon had to wear those wraps on his hind for about a year because he interfered all the time. They're weird, but they work!

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    1. yup basically! i'm just glad they exist - i literally never even knew pastern wraps were a thing until Charlie started interfering and i began searching lol

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  14. Replies
    1. ha where were you when i was trying to come up with a title for this post?!? lol

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  15. Glad everything is going so well :)

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  16. Replies
    1. i seriously can not get enough of it!!!!

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  17. He really is so handsome! Loving the slow but sure progress!

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    1. thanks! i'm trying really hard to just take it as it comes, and see when he's giving me an answer in the right direction (even if it isn't all the way where i want it to be yet)

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  18. The lightbulb phases of training are always my favorite. How one minute they just GET it. Looks like you're having fun!

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    1. definitely so much fun! while i'm admittedly missing some of the stuff we're not doing yet (mostly relating to off-property adventures) he's giving me plenty to be happy about, and plenty of confidence that we will in fact get where i want to go (eventually)

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  19. Replies
    1. i <3 his face, esp bc he's so amenable to face hugs :D

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  20. Seriously he has the cuuuuuutest face!!

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  21. He has the sweetest, softest eye!

    And I am totally digging that bridle on him!

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  22. Just popping in to say how totally adorable he is! He looks like the sweetest!

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  23. This totally sounds like me last winter but you do a much better job making it sound interesting! I also love the drawing on him in dirt, might as well make the best of it

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  24. Consistency and routine are music to my ears!

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