What an amazing day playing with the horses! The weather was perfect, so I spent time with 3 of our 5 equines.
Poco was first up. I gave him a complete evaluation from nose to tail and touched up his barefoot trim. A bit of defense physiology work, some TTouch tail traction, and some flexibility exercises for his pelvis and sacrum completed our ground play. Poco has been on vacation for several months after some dental issues and associated weight loss. To help Poco regain his strength and flexibility, we are riding just 20 minutes or so several times a week. I set up some TTEAM obstacles to encourage him to flex his legs and bend his body. First some simple ground poles…
This random arrangement of poles is called “pick up sticks”, which is great for developing eye-hoof coordination and proprioception.
This variation of ground poles encourages the horse to find his own straight line through the center of the poles. Drifting to either side causes the stride to become uneven and uncomfortable. (I bumped the far right pole – the angles should all match)
In between playing with the poles, I asked Poco for turns on the forehand, halt-walk-trot-halt transitions, bending, backing, and direct rein and neck rein patterns. After all these months, he remembered everything and gave me perfect responses with the lightest aids.
Ben also got bodywork and a pedicure. Ben prefers to exercise on the trail, so we went out for a quick ride down to the farm. (I promised him a break grazing the hay field before heading home) I’m finding that if I picture clearly when and where on our ride we are stopping to graze, he picks that spot and time.
Lucky and I played with sending away and returning, and seeing how subtle I could make my body language to communicate with him. We finished with some companion walking, which he is just figuring out. Lucky and I mostly play with Carolyn Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals these days. Lucky tooks his first steps of companion walking with me today, and the bond between us is growing. He also pays very close attention when I am playing with the other horses.
I feel very grateful for these equine teachers in my life. Their soft eyes, cooperation and calmness are a gift.