Virtual Management

Training Journal

If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.

Awareness of the outside world. Time: First Clone of Endangered Przewalski’s Horse Born in Conservation Effort to Save the Species by Madeleine Carlisle, September 6, 2020. The breed is also known, less colonially, as the Takhi.

The ride is virtual. The management is real.

Last week, I talked about Rodney’s attitude & my learning to manage same. This week, the physical side. (Learning? After 10 years? Aggg. But I digress.) [Virtual Attitude]

First, we bumped up his Ulcergard from every 10 days to once a week. It is obvious when he is due. He gets headshy during grooming and timid at feeding time. When he is feeling good, he acts it. I try not to contemplate the liquid cash we are syringing down his throat. [Finding The Solution, My Horse is Weird]

Then, we start out each ride with a lap around the pasture in hand. He can be as creaking as he wants in body or mind, and I don’t have to ride it. Let him warm up a little on his own. Oddly, bridle on/bridle off makes no difference to his mindset. Saddle on, yes, a signal that riding is about to happen. Bridle doesn’t appear to carry the same baggage for him.

A while back, Milton had a solo day and got a mile up on Rodney. After three pre-ride, hand-walk laps Rodney has caught up. We will continue to do the pre-walks, but not count them towards our total, unless Milton gets ahead of us again. BTW, getting off and walking or running next to your horse is legit for real Tevis, so this counts.

We also do lots, and lots, and lots of walking during our pasture laps. We’ll trot for a bit. He’ll get knotted up. We’ll walk some more. So much walking.

I can also test his frame of mind with his willingness to stand. He’s generally good about halting and standing for a short while. If he pops out of gear, then I know he is still anxious, even if he seems relaxed otherwise. When calm, Rodney has an epic stand.

Another sign of heightened tension is when he won’t graze, even if I deliberately stop him in a patch of greenery that is at mouth level. I know, I know, horses shouldn’t graze while being ridden. I figure, if they can grab a mouthful of grass while while doing what I ask, good for them. Usually this means catching a bite on the fly at a walk. I knew one hyper-talented mare who could graze at a trot.

Gaits Update
Both horses have been doing excellently at the walk, trot, and even canter. Not much of the latter, but a few cute moments. Unfortunately, both horses have also had surprise meltdowns. Too tired, too far away from the other horse, too close to the other horse, too uphill, too whatever. Pow. Hopping around like a demonic bunny. When I say tired, I mean they may have been trotting for a few minutes. Most horses would opt to wind down rather than get wound up.

How did we end up with two horses who both respond to the slightest hint of adversity by turning into psycho kangaroos? This is a subject of much discussion chez nous.

Virtual Tevis [Archives]

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

4 thoughts on “Virtual Management

  1. Both positive stressors vs negative stressors – I’ve had both and even a combination. It’s interesting behavior wise especially when you are more used to one vs the other. They are always teaching us.

    And did you see this in that link “The group is attempting to revive at least six endangered or extinct species, including the Wooly Mammoth” – uh, wow!

  2. Gotya beat. Priney could graze at a canter. Of course at her size, a lot of greenery (and brownery, she’d eat almost anything including salami sandwiches) was at mouth level. (For those – almost everyone here probably – Priney was 13.2 hands tall [Priney is short for Princess])

  3. “How did we end up with two horses who both respond to the slightest hint of adversity by turning into psycho kangaroos?” Over the years I’ve had some truly exceptional trainers for both animals and humans. (Myself) The most difficult advice I’ve ever had to learn to embrace was also the most honest, and that was: “You get what you train for.” Pretty much without fail, any time I’ve found myself wondering why the heck one of my animals or even my own body is doing (or failing to do) this or that, I don’t have to look any farther than what I’ve taught it. Yes, owning that sucks. But it also can change.

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