Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recovery Day 1 - Groundwork

Ben is on stall rest for 4 days while his eye is being treated. That means that I have to get my butt out there and get the dude some hand walking time.

Last night I did just that. The weather was so junky- we started off walking the barn's wrap around driveway, and I had interested in walking him on the track - alas, the weather was just too gross to bear. It was that spitty heavy drizzle that makes it hard to even keep your eyes open.

So after 15 minutes of that, we went back into the arena.

In order to keep things interesting, I did more in-hand type work - walk/halts, backing up, and then moving parts of his body over laterally. We then worked on trotting in hand - which was kind of funny, but also enlightening.

Ben has a long stride and really can't adjust to a slow trot. I've felt this under saddle, and have felt like my half - halts were going unnoticed, so I assumed I was doing them wrong.  My trotting in hand definitely revealed that #1 Ben doesnt know how to trot slowly (either by physical limitation) on his own, and #2 he's not tuned in to me, at all, even on the ground.

So we worked on it. I lengthened my stride to meet him half way. He'd definitely respond to the pressure on the lead rope- he'd be a jumble of pace-to-trot-to quit. Hmmm. The more I worked on it, the better he got - and by the end, he could trot with me. We went around the arena and did 20 m circles, and on both sides. I was huffing and puffing, but it was good exercise.

We also worked on standing still. Funny things I noticed- when asked to do nothing, Ben's mind wanders. He gets mouthy, wants to explore his environment, and then realizes how itchy he is. He simply could not stand still without wanting to scratch himself, or nose something. So we worked on actively standing still - at attention. It was hard for him, but a good exercise.

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