Saturday, March 14, 2009

Merrily We Gait Along

Kathy and I decided to meet up early this morning and ride our gaited horses together. That way we can each observe the gaits of the other horse and share strategies and training tips, while also conducting a happy session of 'critical information networking' i.e. barn gossip. We put down cavaletti on a circle and worked on getting them to lift their feet and tuck under a bit more. We also worked on stopping them midway over the pole and trying to sidepass down the length. Which caused both our horses to reverse and back over the pole to get all 4 feet on the approach side.

It was a beautiful morning and we did beat the crowd, which was beginning to gather as we finished our ride. On a day like this, the sun brings up the horse's native fragrance: Montana with his cinnamon spice notes, and John with his green-grass just got mowed smell. I bought them a huge tub of soft peppermints at Sam's Club last night so we are provided with treats for a good long while.

We tried to get a good photo of the two horses' heads together, since they are relatives and best friends - but of course they did everything but pose nicely. In the picture above you see Winston chewing on John, and John enjoying it.

Here they are just standing there wondering why we have stopped halfway back to the hitching post and their treat supply. I'm sure they discuss how crazy we are as soon as they can do so tactfully. Two sweet guys.


Mrs Mom said...

Just look at the two of them hamming it up there! LOL What a pair of fine handsome boys you guys have. Please slip Big John an extra rub from me! ;)

Pony Girl said...

They look like good buddies, and both are such handsome devils. What'd you discover about their gaits?

Flying Lily said...

Mrs.Mom: Will do!! And thank you my kind friend.

PonyGirl: Well on the gaits: They can both get 'pacey' and both can be quite sluggish at the start of a work session in the arena - neither one cares much for arenas. They are 'open country' horses. So we work on forward and rhythmical. Ground poles help them pay attention to their feet and tuck up their bellies somewhat. And not trail their hind legs out behind so much. Anyway that's the hope!!

Funder said...

Oh, man, a buckskin paint! One of my favorite color combinations. Sounds like a fun day!

Kat said...

Your John looks very much like our KMSHA/KNGHA mare, Sophie. She is a granddaughter of the great MPH sire Goldfinger and her full brother is standing at stud in Idaho. Wondering if they might be related?

I have yet to meet a gaited horse that prefers the arena to the trails, as a friend of mine says "these are USING horses".

Sounds like you are doing great with the gait work. Strength and flexibility work are so important to the quality of gait and to your horses health and well being. If it hasn't come up yet, the "bible" of natural gait development is Lee Ziegler's book "Easy Gaited Horses". If you have only one horse book, IMHO, this is the one. Well make that 2 books, Tom Dorrance's "True Horsemanship Thru Feel" ought to be there too!

Have Fun!

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