Dante seems sound enough to get back to some basic work. I still think he seems a little off but I’ll need a helper to trot him off so I can view him from behind and lately I’ve been on my own at the barn.
Taking into consideration that he injured his muscles around his stifle when it locked, I’m hesitant to do any trot work unless he presents it of his own accord. He knows how he is feeling, and when I tried to get him to trot to see if he was sound a few weeks and ago and he was reluctant, sure enough once he did trot he was still lame.
Today, I was back to doing some simple exercises:
1.) Head down cue. He will lower to touch a target but he is not linking that to the verbal command of Down. So I’m back to trying to reinforce that. I am also looking for a longer duration of his head down before rewarding (Clicker Training).
2.) Halt, with weight back – Asking the horse to unload the weight on the front/forelegs and to shift weight to the hind without moving. Horse is standing square and from this square halt – weight back position, move into the Head Down with a Forward Stretch.
3.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (at Liberty) – This is done at walk, using a target. I’m looking for the nose to be pointing forward and the head to be low – imagine the horse grazing and reaching out to grab grass that is just a little in front of the head’s natural, dropped position. He was super eager to get back to this and gave me trot of his own accord.
We are working on STRAIGHT LINES only until I get the okay from the vet that he can be worked harder. I’m looking for duration on this (Targeting, Clicker Training).
This is the rudimentary beginnings of Straightness Training and Art2Ride though without the bend. The bend (or working on a circle) might put too much strain on his recovering stifle, so until I get the all clear from the vet we will be doing straight lines only.
4.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (in Cavesson, with one rein) – This is done at walk, using a Cavesson and lungeline attached to the center ring. I’ll be moving Dante into a Cavesson so I have more control of his balance, weight of legs, amount of bend and Stelling of the head. This will help him also start learning the signals via the lungeline connected to the Cavesson nose ring.
5.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (in Cavesson with two reins) – This is done at walk, using a Cavesson and reins attached to the side rings (one on each side). Husband bought me these long 64″ reins from my Wish List for Christmas so I need to set them up with a clip so I can attach them easily when I want too.
I won’t be working on Haunches In until I know he is A-OK via the Vet.
6.) I need to review my Masterson Method info and start loosening his hindquarters. I should have been doing this through December but life gets very hectic that month and I felt overwhelmed already so just gave Dante the month off after his injury.
7.) I really need to take him on some nature walks. That is dependent on weather and time.
For the Holidays, I bought these cordless clippers for myself. I love cordless over corded clippers sooo much but my old pair died some time ago and I never replaced them. When I bought him the trainer was letting his fetlocks go hairy trying to grow “feathers” and it’s obvious he doesn’t have any real feathers so I’ll be trimming off that hair come spring and making him tidy.