A Blog About My Journey Riding and Training Sora, My Soulmate

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Further Goals

Yesterday I had a lovely time with Sora. I worked on her hooves, mainly getting the quarters down on her front two feet. This is something I was neglecting and that my trimmer reminded me about last time she was here. They are looking much better and I'm hoping to take pictures to send to the trimmer soon. I also worked a bit more on the back feet but I've learned that if I don't push it and go at Sora's pace she is much more willing to do more the next day so I was careful not to push her past her comfort zone. We also did a few simple movements like yielding her shoulders away and then into me, backing with me and some more with her front feet. I had a lot to remember about my body positioning and she was a patient (fairly patient anyway :-) teacher.

I also came up with some more goals for the new year. The first is to reduce the amount of treats I feed Sora and to build up more time between treats. Mainly I just need to be smarter about this because I don't always pay enough attention and then Sora gets two handfuls of grain for a simple trick and when she does something really spectacular I'm completely out.

I did make one big change with treats this winter and Sora is getting Purina Senior as treats instead of the unhealthy snacks she was getting before. The senior is a low sugar palatable feed that Sora loves and the grain instead of cookies tends to be easier to feed without getting fingers caught in an anxious mouth. It's also so much healthier thanks to the low sugars.

My other new goal is to push her more when I think she is getting a behavior. Too often I settle for just the beginning of the behavior because I'm so amazed by my incredible horse that I don't want to push. However I realize that if I ever want to make any kind of real progress its time to see what she can do and begin pushing her gently to work harder for rewards.

Hopefully everyone in the midwest will survive this incredible ice storm we are supposed to have. As if our weather hasn't been crazy enough this year already!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Forward Movement

reNow that the new year is close I feel like it is a perfect time to make some goals for myself and Sora. Now because grad school is over I shouldn't have any big distracting events that take me away from her so I should be able to concentrate on my girl and really make some progress.

First I want to make sure she is really strong, fit and moving well before I ever get back on her. Luckily the timing is right for this because I wasn't planning on doing much more riding until she gets to be five in May.

To do this I am going to go more methodically through the AND exercises then I have in the past starting with teaching her to lower her head while she is moving. For an Arab this will be tough :) but because of the endorphins it creates it will not only calm her but do a lot to strengthen and stretch out her back.

Another big goal is to get her more comfortable with things on her back. She has always been touchy with the saddle and even though she is good about it I can tell she is uncomfortable. Since I've never really ridden her and she hasn't spent much time with a saddle on so I don't think its discomfort, just a lack of experience.

I also need to work more on her hooves both with perfecting my technique and also making sure she is more comfortable with her back hooves. Luckily I have a patient and helpful hoof trimmer so working on my technique should go well.

I'm sure I'll think of more so I think I'll add a couple every day until new years and then make a master list.

Finally, over the past couple of months while I've been so busy I can barely see Sora other then at feeding times I've been inspired by my friend Hannah. Here is an incredible picture of what she is doing with her horse Mia and a link to her training journal which is also incredible.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Baaaaaack!

I am officially done with grad school. It's incredible and I'm so excited and it hasn't even completely sunk in yet. I'm going to be back updating this blog and keeping up with everyone else.

Thank you to all who have stuck with me through this extremely quiet period :) Happy Holidays everyone!