So many lovely things about Dante that I don’t have to work on! He stands perfectly still for grooming, bathing and for treating his wound. He is NOT a kicker or ansty. He is so very calm to work around that I’ll have to get a video of me bathing him while he is just standing about with no halter on!
Yes, there will be challenges – improving his gaits, his strength, his back, his hindquarters, teaching him about bending, improving his canter depart and much more, but it’s a HUGE RELIEF not to worry about retraining so many basics or worrying constantly about my (or husband’s) safety when working around him.
After putting a deposit down on Dante, (I paid in two payments 14 days apart before he shipped), he injured himself on the inside of his back right leg. It’s been healing and doesn’t seem to effect his ability to move, but it is slowly getting back to normal.
The other issue is I knew he needed dental, but because of the outlay on buying and moving him, I had to wait on it financially. It is now scheduled for this Friday, July 8th. Until that is done, I’m not comfortable about putting a bit in his mouth; it also turns out that my dressage bridle (originally bought for Dear One) is far too small. I’ll be needing a new bridle (Oversize) to fit his much larger head.
For now training consists of groundwork, him settling in and me learning more about him:
- Standing square. He has hindquarter weakness and to compensate for this lack of strength he collapses his hips. This is a common issue with many horses. The re-training is asking him to stand square by moving his feet one by one until he stands square.I accomplish this by tapping the leg I want moved with the tip of my dressage whip (dressage whips are longer then average whips so can be moved around the horse better for groundwork). To help him move, you can also tip the nose to the side you want to move and ask with a gentle squeeze back – or step towards the horses’ chest – to request a shift of weight backward. Once he stands still and is square, reward (click-treat, treat, pat, good boy, or a relief from work is just standing).
- Balancer – or shifting weight back. Another basic exercise is to constantly ask the horse to shift weight backwards but the horse does not move feet. This is very subtle and your typical horse may take a step back (if they do, ask with less). To ask for the shift back, lower the horse’s head slightly, step towards the horses chest. This generally will shift the horse’s weight to the hind quarters. Reward is to stand, pat, treat, or even better once done, move forward.
- Hill work. Up and down at a walk. If done at a trot, move up on a diagonal as this causes less wear and tear on the horses legs. Done after a walking warmup. Right now we have been doing 5 and I’ll be increasing to 10.
- Leading – Horse follows willingly behind. Dante is not aggressive or dominant but I want him first to follow behind me at a walk or a trot, depending on what I gait I request.
- Small Circles in hand – on a 12 foot lead. Dante does have an issue, being a bigger horse, with using his solidness to get into my space. This is most notable at the lunge so I am working with him to give me more bend on the circle and to keep a respectable distance from me. This is done with the whip in a “windshield wiper” movement between him and me.
- Backing up – straight and on a hill. He backs up easily but I am looking for him to back up without dragging his feet, without raising his head (nose at chest height). This means more mobilization of the hind quarters.
- Walkabouts. Visiting areas outside of the pasture.
- Standing still at the mounting block and during saddling. I noticed his wiggly worm ways when I was trying him out. This again is a common problem with many horses; most of which is anticipation by both horse and rider. I will be using the whip to move him around the mounting block and rewarding with a food treat when he stands still.
- Yoga stretches and Mobilization exercises. There is a series I did with Big Guy when I was rehabbing him after his pelvis fracture. I will be doing this with Dante to strengthen his hindquarters especially.
Health and Medical to do list:
Flymask to be bought (OS)
Test for PSSM to be done in August?