Meanwhile Back At The Ranch, December 2016

So what have the horses been up to while I’ve been moping [Headspace]? The big picture remains a hopeless disaster. On a small scale, they are doing quite well.

Field walks
With Milton, our walks wander all over, in a different patterns, incorporating regular loops [Two Horses] and hills [Hillwork], to keep him from getting bored. With Rodney, we do the same small path, over and over [Progress], to keep him reassured. Rodney recently added a second, slightly more adventurous path to his repertoire.

Ground Work
Both are lunging with double lines or ground driving. We use the saddle from Milton’s driving harness [Equipment]. The large middle strap of a harness is called the saddle. We thread the line(s) through the ring(s) on top, known as terret(s).

Double lunging has one line directly to the bit and the offside line through the offside terret. Ground-driving has both lines through the terrets. The latter is more flexible, allowing for changes of direction without having to restring the horse, but easier to overdo. With great power comes great responsibility.

Rodney is working on walk-halt transitions, which he finds difficult. He stops, but then drifts forward, as if he has popped out of gear. Milton nailed his walk-halts by the third lesson, although he occasionally gives us the hoof, just to remind us that he is a Thoroughbred. Greg and Milton have moved up to trotting in hand.

In either case, I am amazed at how much learning can be done with long lines. If I suddenly had a riding horse tomorrow (ha!), I would still keep this in the rotation.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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