Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 25, 2009

It's been a couple of weeks since we've posted. We continue to work LBR under saddle at the walk and trot in both the main arena and the practice arena.

We are averaging about 6 rides a week and would say 4 of them are flawless while the other two have their challenges.

LBR has gained weight since we added alfalfa to his diet. In addition to becoming stronger, his personality is starting to shine. While generally happy to be handled/ridden/groomed, at times he can be so STUBBORN. His focus continues to improve, but we do have days that require round pen work to get focus.

He's standing nicely while cross-tied in the grooming stall so one person can go over to a ride and leave him alone while they gather tack, supplies, etc. or they just take a break from the heat and rest on the bench.

We're considering some formal training to take him to the next level as we may not have the skills/times to get there.

He loves his carrots now - stops at the truck/car to get them on the way back to his paddock. He is alone in his paddock now as he was being mean to Romeo and the other horse they tried to put in the paddock is like Houdini and kept escaping (he has a know issue of doing this so it wasn't because LBR was mean).

This month has been insanely hot in Central Texas 22 out of 25 days so far in July have been over 100 degrees. We (at the stables but not at the house) got rain for the first time since June this week...LBR really enjoys his mud.

We stopped feeding the "Weight Builder" this week and will watch his weight closely. As he's getting the alfalfa now, we don't expect to see any weight loss.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12, 2009

We headed to the stables earlier than normal today - around 7:30 a.m. The caretakers were just beginning to feed so our big adventure was going to be riding before LBR had his breakfast.

Gary headed to the paddock and brought LBR back to the main barn for grooming. LBR was not very happy about being groomed/tacked before breakfast. When he was brushed he would toss his head and was very distracted by each bit of commotion (horses being tacked for lessons, barn being swept, etc.). Oh well...our new phrase is "get over it".

We headed to the roundpen and Gary rode first. LBR eventually focused and paid attention. After about 10 minutes, Gary headed to the practice arena.

LBR was good at the walk and although he would get distracted, he quickly refocused. After a bit, another boarder joined Gary & LBR in the practice arena. LBR was distracted, but still responsive.

Cindy rode LBR for a while and challenged him with many distractions. She rode him along the rail while another boarder rode next to him outside the rail and he did very well. She followed the other rider in the arena and LBR started following nicely (about 4 lengths behind) at the walk, but for some reason about half-way down the length of the arena, LBR started turning is head sideways and making faces....all Cindy can assume is the other horse farted?

LBR trotted well, but unfortunately Cindy's stirrups weren't adjusted so she didn't take advantage of his efforts to strengthen her posting.

LBR would not back....we might be going to the D-Ring snaffle as he was much more responsive to it.

After the ride, Cindy led LBR back and we groomed and rinsed off. FINALLY (according to LBR), we headed to the paddock and LBR got to have his breakfast.

All in all, today's ride was about "getting over it" and went very well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11, 2009

YEAH!!!! It's Saturday and Cindy got to head to the stables in the morning with Gary.

There were many boarders out for lessons/riding this morning. Cindy headed to the paddock to halter/lead LBR back for the morning. She found him alone - no paddock mate, Romeo.

He still had about 1/2 of his grain and was eating as well as a beautiful flake of alfalfa (about the size of 2 normal flakes due to freshness and density). Cindy put the alfalfa in the hiding spot and waited for LBR to finish his breakfast. He is the slowest eater - any distraction and the head comes out of the bucket for a long look around.

After he finally finished (only a few crumbs left), Cindy haltered him and headed to the main barn for grooming. LBR seemed anxious to find his buddy Romeo and stopped/whinnied several times as they made the long (1/4 mile) walk to the grooming stall.

LBR stood nicely for his pre-ride grooming. He still crossties without any issues.

Cindy led him to the round pen for warm up and LBR was his usual distracted self. After about 10 minutes he focused and Cindy dismounted and headed to the practice arena. LBR stood nicely for mounting and they headed off for the ride. LBR was a bit unfocused, but not too obsessive about it.

He has developed a desire to exit the arena at the far end (where we come in from the round pen) and there was a bit of a battle. For the first time, he got a bit light in the front end (no rearing - but probably one or two steps away from it). Rather than get too "mad" at him, Cindy kept firm gentle pressure and commands and he finally walked on.

After this small battle, LBR rode perfectly. Cindy walked along the rail for a while and then asked him for the trot. He didn't want to trot at first, but when he did it was PERFECT. Cindy worked him on the rail and on the diagonal and LBR kept a consistent even gate. LBR came back to the walk nicely and trotted/walked/whoa'd well throughout the remainder of Cindy's ride.

Gary rode at the walk for a bit and LBR did well. LBR seems to have forgotten his "back" command so Gary had a little bit of a battle with that. We will be working him more on the ground and under saddle with this command.

After the ride, Gary led LBR back for sponging/grooming and a nice rest in the main barn (it is cool in there in the mornings with a nice breeze).

Gary led LBR back to his paddock and we placed his alfalfa in the shelter (two sided/covered) so he could get a break from the sun.

Cindy can't wait for the fall when she can spend evenings and more weekend time with LBR. It was 95 degrees by the time the morning visit was over at 11:30 a.m.

July 10, 2009

Gary had a meeting during the morning, Cindy was worked and due to the continued excessive high temperatures neither felt up to going to visit LBR in the evening (only 102 degrees - but it's Friday and it's been a long week).

July 9, 2009

Gary headed to the stables in the morning and led LBR to the main barn for grooming. The foals continued to roam the common area and practice arena.

Gary groomed and saddled up LBR for a ride in the practice arena. Unfortunately, LBR was a total goof-ball and distracted by the foals. After a battle of the stubborn red-heads (LBR & Gary), LBR behaved a bit better.

Gary also lunged LBR in the roundpen to reinforce lessons that he knows well.

After the ride, Gary bathed LBR and let him graze for a bit in the common area before returning back to his paddock for his alfalfa.

July 8, 2009

Today, LBR got a break from workouts as Gary had an appontment during the morning, Cindy was at work and it was 106 degrees at 5:00 p.m.

July 7, 2009

Gary headed to the stables in the morning. Tuesday is "farrier day" and it was time for LBR to have his feet trimmed again.

Gary went down to the paddock and haltered LBR. His biggest fan "Giselle" (a filly born in March) was hanging out at LBR's gate again. As Gary led LBR to the main barn, Giselle followed. She would fall back a bit and then run and catch up. LBR was obsessed with his new friend but Gary kept leading him thinking that Giselle would not follow all the was to the main barn....he was wrong.

The caretaker attempted to put a rope around unbroken/trained Giselle but she spooked and LBR got very aggressive/defensive of her. Gary ended up having to lead LBR back to Giselle's paddock and the caretaker stayed there w/ her while Gary led LBR back to the grooming stall.

The farrier this week was different from the one used previously. Gary & he got along well and LBR behaved surprisingly well considering all of the commotion with Giselle. The only thing LBR did was steal carrots that someone had left in the stall where the farrier was working.

His front feet are almost totally recovered from the days on the track - no more pancake feet.

July 6, 2009

Gary headed to the stables in the morning to beat the heat. LBR's paddock buddy Romeo is back in the paddock with him.

Gary moved LBR's yet to be eaten alfalfa to a hiding spot for after riding and led LBR to the main barn for grooming. Gary started LBR in the practice arena but due to the distractions of this year's foal crop (all playing in the common area and practice arena - 5 foals in total), Gary headed to the round pen.

LBR regained focus there and they had a good ride in the round pen. Afterwards, Gary sponged LBR down and took him back to his paddock and gave him his flake of alfalfa as a treat.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

June 29 - July 5th, 2009

This week has been very hectic for both Cindy and Gary so our posts are limited to this single recap of the week. The week started out with Monday & Tuesday morning Gary rides with LBR being a bit stubborn and pulling/chewing on the bit. Tuesday evening, Cindy went over for a ride and found the same stubborn/totally distracted horse. There were many of this years foals playing in the common areas and LBR was a inattentive to the rider.

Wednesday, Gary had the same experience so he let LBR "sniff" all the foals surrounding him and continued with a fairly productive ride.

On Thursday morning, Gary switched back from the "D-Ring" snaffle to the eggbutt and had a much better ride (he warmed up in the round pen first). Gary continued the exercises in the practice arena on Friday w/ the eggbutt and LBR showed rapid improvement/return to his normal self.

On Saturday, Cindy & Gary both headed over and Cindy had a great ride in the practice arena (after warming up in the round pen). On Sunday, LBR was better than ever with multiple horses/distractions in the practice arena. After about 30 minutes of riding there, Cindy took him on a trail ride into one of the stalled horses vacant paddocks. He got a little "up" but behaved perfectly. Gary then rode him back in the practice arena for a bit before heading to the groom stalls.

LBR was started on alfafa hay this month to try and put the final 30 pounds on.

He's getting to be such a nice companion for both Cindy & Gary. Attached is a video of Cindy leaving the practice arena and headed to the paddock for the trail ride. Our apologies for the video quality.