09 December 2017

Training Time

Today, we got snow. There's no denying that we're on the way to winter and, as much as I'd like, that means a reduction in time outside with the animals and in particular, riding. So last week, knowing that the weather was going to take a nose dive, we took advantage of the warm temperatures and sunshine.
Jack doesn't usually get home until the sun is well on its way below the horizon but at the new school, the girls step off the bus a whole forty-five minutes earlier. So, we hurry and get outside so we can have a little family training time.
First, I get on. It's not totally out of selfishness. I mean, I invented horse obsession in our family BUT it's also a matter of safety. As good as our old Stoney is, he still has a few bucks and gallops in him. So, once he's had a solid workout and he's gotten over feeling his oats, it's the kids' turn.
That has to be one of the weirdest things Stoney has ever seen. A girl training another girl? Uhhhh.....
Of course, the whole time I'm riding, they're doing some training of their own, complete with helmets, lunge lines and whips. Stoney is sure he's hallucinating when he sees them racing around, neighing and snorting while the other gives commands similar to what he hears when we're ground training. Weird to him, hilarious to me.
They have to ride in my saddle so they get a lot of training time without using stirrups. Good for the balance.
We have a small round pen and though it's a bit small for me to really do any hot and heavy training in it, it's perfect for the kids. Stoney knows he has boundaries and the kids get their own turn on the horse.
For the most part, Zoey helps out by being extremely happy watching all the action from her stroller. It's her own version of farm TV.
We haven't forgotten about Dancer, either. Someday soon, she'll be our go-to horse to ride, so she gets equal training time. She's lovingly brushed and has her hooves picked out and when she's all groomed...
Henry's favorite part: brushing the tail.
...she gets exercise. She works up a decent sweat but she really seems to enjoy herself. Dancer is quite smart and picks up quickly on what I'm asking. Whether or not she wants to comply is another question. But, that's the name of the game when working with a creature with a mind and personality of its own. That's part of the challenge and fun of it all.
I've always loved Dancer's trot.
I'm trying hard to enjoy the season, which means a break from hot weather, torrential rains, and biting insects, but I am sure looking forward to when we come out of the cold and we can get in more training time!

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