Benjamin is most likely a coon-hound/shepherd cross. When we adopted him 7 years ago, he was 1 year old, very underweight, sweet and docile. After a few months we had nursed him back to health. He has been demonstrating he amazing athletic ability, strength, bravery, adventurism and dedication to fetching and swimming ever since. This clip says it all!
Toby turned 8 years old on May 15. I can't believe I have had him for half his life. We had a great lesson on Wednesday. We worked on settling him in the new arena across the street. He remembered that the barrel by the tree was scary last week because of moving shadows. So my coach put another barrel in the arena and he forgot to be scared! This gave him a new object to focus his attention on. He is very stiff and unbalanced in the canter on the right rein so we practiced that a lot. We must of done over 30 - 20 meter circles on the right reign. This allowed him to find his rhythm and balance. On the part of the circle going towards home he would speed up and on the part going away from home he would slow down. So I need to be proactive and half halt him on the fast part of the circle and squeeze on the slow part. This will help him achieve a steady rhythm and find his balance.
A few weeks ago, Toby threw his back out so I gave him some time off and a chiropractic treatment along with some nice massages with a lacrosse ball! He has been ridden lightly this week by my daughter and myself, so he seemed ready for a lesson, and I wanted my coach to look at him. We worked on getting him counter bent on the right rein to establish connection with the left outside rein. My left rein tends to be weaker and so this technique really helps both of us establish connection and collection. My coach took some surprise footage for me so here it is!
I am so happy my coach is allowed to teach again. Social distancing is really not an issue when it comes to riding because horses need so much space anyway. It has been fun working with Teddy on my own and then great to get the feedback yesterday on where we need to keep improving. We are doing well in our training and continue to push and improve in our balance work in canter. I learned a great tip to get Teddy moving. Put him into canter every time he slows down, to get him in front of my leg. Otherwise I am just nagging him with my leg and he becomes dull to my aids. I continue to work on keeping my shoulders level and using a kick instead of a prop with my leg when he falls to the right in the canter. This will really help my position. I'm also feeling the effects of trying to prop up 1200 pounds with my right side! It's time to use my aids more effectively so my body doesn't bare the brunt. He is also getting rounder and more collected in the trot which is a huge improvement!
Young Toby seems to have thrown his back out last week-end. He was very lame and could barely trot on the left rein last Monday. He has been improving everyday. I put the saddle on him a couple of days ago, but he was telling me "No, mom, I'm not ready to be ridden yet." I told him I understood and I want to see him move so I can assess him. He is moving very well but still slightly bracing in the hind end. Yesterday, when I went to get him, he was lying down and showing no interest in getting up. I asked him if he wanted a massage from his pole to the tip of his tail. He indicated yes and really enjoyed himself. He started farting which was a good sign of how relaxed he was.
Today, I did canter work with Teddy. Teddy and I have been doing a lot of canter work as that is the area we both need to improve on. I need to focus on not being counter bent with my shoulders on the right rein. I am pinning my right knee against the saddle to keep him from falling in. I try to be relaxed with my legs and leg yield him out rather than using my leg as a post. I also work on swinging my hips to go with the movement. It is very difficult to sit his canter sometimes which is why we need to do it so much. The more balanced and strong he becomes in his core then the more balanced I will be too. We are learning and growing together. It is a beautiful journey and I am so grateful for these two sweet boys in my life.
Sadly, lessons have stopped at our barn. But I am very grateful to be able to see my horses and exercise them because we are at a self-board facility. Here are video clips of Toby and Teddy free jumping. They love to jump and find the obstacles stimulating and fun. I am so proud of them and happy that they can stay fit. It is so important to play these days.
My first clip job on Teddy. I think he looks very smart with his racing stripe.
I find all the news about the corona virus to be very disheartening. But I was so relieved to get away from the internet this morning to spend time with my boys. Here's a picture just after an awesome lesson with my amazing coach. All my troubles slipped away as I focused on my horses and my body position so we could both feel good in our bodies. Horses are magic!
I enjoyed an intense Power of 8 group on Tuesday. We have established the format of doing a personal intention (for someone in our group or a friend who needs healing) and a global intention. With all the news of Covid-19, we decided on an intention to help keep everyone healthy. I wanted to share it, so you can hold the intention too!
"We feel connected and grounded and our immune systems are operating at our highest potential in every way".
May our mutual intent benefit everyone!
Beginner Animal Communication Class via Zoom.
March 2 and March 16 from 2 - 3 pm Pacific Time.
Contact me and sign up if you are interested!
I have been a Professional Animal Communicator since January 2016. I have been an animal lover and admirer for a very, very long time.