Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Illustrated Verson

ok - let's see if this helps to get a visual. It is physically impossible for me to be the photographer and the one working Sammy (I value my camera way too much for that) but thought this would help. I worked him today with my saddle instead of the surcingle. He has not tried to drop and roll for several sessions so I thought my saddle might be safe. I ran the long lines through the stirrups which were run up. This put the lines down lower than with the surcingle but he seemed to handle it just fine.

This is where I started from. I tacked him up in the cross-ties and fed the lines through the stirrups, unhooked him then we're off. I'd rather start from here than lead him because if he did decide to drop and roll, I'm already in position to do something about it.

Then it's just a short walk (around the golf cart in the above picture and to the right) to the arena and through the gate.

Today we turned right and went along the fence line. But there is no real pattern or plan, just wherever the mood strikes me. I'm usually aiming for some shade. The days are getting shorter so why isn't it getting any cooler. Temperatures are still in the 90's and it's very unpleasant. Hot and humid, I'm over it!

Then we went in between the jumps that had been set for a gymnastic. It gives us something to aim for and a chute to guide us. It was a bit harder to steer with the lines lower but we adjusted. He had no problem going through these jumps in either direction.

Sometimes he pretends this blue thing is something scary. Today he jumped 2 feet sideways just to be silly but then just continued on.

Then we aimed for the standards with the ground poles between them. He didn't hesitate and walked right over them. He had to step big because there were actually 3 poles on the ground. I was very pleased with him today. The saddle didn't bother him a bit and going around and between the jump standards were no big deal.

Another visual, this is my view when we are doing our thing. Just pretend he's wearing a saddle and bridle.

And since we had to lead him back to his stall right by the mounting block, we took advantage. He was a bit bothered when Remy climbed up on the mounting block with Allison, he's just not ready for THAT dog and pony show yet. But Auntie Sarah gave him some good advice. Doesn't he look like a sweet little boy? This was right before he tried to see if she tasted good.

And this will be my view one day. I was leaning all over his back and aiming between his ears. He was a very good boy and we were done.

Look how long his tail has gotten! It's almost not even a baby's tail anymore. We're taking it slow but progress is being made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're still here

I haven't posted for a while but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. I like to post pictures of our journey but have come to the conclusion that it's very hard to take pictures while you are actually doing the work. It really helps to have an assistant....unpaid of course. So, now you'll be subjected to a lot of blah, blah, blah and only a few pictures.

Sammy has posed a few challenges lately along with some help from Remy. I don't know how this happened (well, maybe I do and it was my fault but I'm in denial) but Sammy decided that rolling in the arena was the best way to scratch those itches. And we all KNOW how Sammy loves to be scratched. So one day, down he went, surcingle and all, in the middle of our ground driving. Now, I know it was bad, but he caught me completely off guard and all I could do was laugh and keep him from getting tangled in the long lines. But while I was laughing, I was also thinking, uhoh, what if he decides to make this a habit.....nah. A week went by and out we go again, and we hadn't made it through the gate before he was down for a roll. Ooops. His saving grace was that he wasn't doing it as a disobedience, it just felt good. He got right up and went to work like a good boy, no complaining. But now this had to end. I just needed to find a way to explain it to him that it was not allowed....so out comes the weapon. Armed with a longe whip off we go, I was ready for him....or not. I left his head, to step behind him and before I could pick up the lines, he was down. Sammy 3, me 0. Next up, I recruited a helper. Anne stood at his head while I got situated with the lines and whip outside the arena and in we went. He was a very good boy for about 10 min and then, he made his attempt.....I caught him 1/2 way down (making an horrible whip cracking sound in the process) and up he went and we continued on as if nothing had happened. And he hasn't tried it since. So, even though Sammy was ahead in points, I may have won the game.....til next time. I am staying ever vigilante.

The next challenge has been Remy trying very hard to help. The sight of the ends of the lines dragging on the ground behind me was just too much for him. Sammy and I were walking along and all of a sudden, I feel a tug from behind. I yell at Remy, try to shoo him away but back he comes for more. I took my eyes off Sammy (for just a second, I swear) and before I know it, he's turned completely around with the lines in his mouth. So there I stood, both of them looking at me with each end of the lines in their mouths as if to say...."what? what'd we do?" Thankfully Sammy is a very good boy, I took the lines from his mouth, scared Remy away and off we went again. I'm not very experienced at this ground driving thing but luckily, my mistakes have been forgiven. He is a testament to the wonderful temperament provided by Escapade and Lily.

But now, hopefully those puppy days are behind us. Remy is walking along in front of or beside me as I ground drive Sammy. He is our guard dog. Here he is waiting for me to get Sammy from his pasture. He's getting to be a big boy.
And Sammy comes to meet me like always.
And this face!!! Oh my.
Today, we did serpentine loops in a pasture (not the clay/sand temptation of the arena but a bigger temptation of lots of grass to eat) I'm able to use much less rein pressure to get the turns and I'm learning to use the outside rein so we don't just turn in circles. This ground driving stuff may be as much for me as for Sammy. When we were done, I lead him up to the permanent mounting block and Bernandette (a wee tiny thing) leaned over his back from way high up there. He almost yawned....we're getting closer.