Sunday, January 4, 2009

Steve Holt!, week 4

What do you think, Steve Holt!?
Shall we attempt bareback and bridleless?

Maybe I should label this "Steve Holt!'s Incredible Week"!

Let's just get right down to it, shall we?

1) Trailer loading. The first attempt was beautifully executed. He went in and out several times without a hitch. The following day wasn't so pretty. We battled and put several divots in the grass as he jumped away and I sent him in a flurry of circles. His hooves broke through the icy snow, he slipped, I swore (oops) and he worked up a sweat. I finally got smart, pulled off the blanket and tossed my rope around his sorry hiney and drug him in. Next attempt at loading? Stepped right up behind me without a moment's hesitation. Since then? Toss the rope over his back and he walks in on his own.

2) First trailer ride since coming home. This is the reason he didn't want to get back in. He was nervous. But the second day's ride was smoother and we couldn't feel him jostling around nearly so much. When I open the door now, I find him with a mouthful of hay. Can't be too nervous if you're munching.

3) He doesn't bolt out of the trailer, but waits for me to give him the okay, waiting patiently inside the door.

4) I mounted. I rode. Three rides were taken this week. The first two at the riding club, the third here at home. The home ride wasn't the best. Footing is slick and I didn't warm him up like I have the other two rides. There was a bit of tension there, whether it was from him or me I dont' know. Likely me, although neither of us was sure about the footing. Once around and I climbed off. Just wanted to be able to give him another building block.

5) He's learning to trot in hand. His leading has always been relaxed at a walk, but encouraging those trotting steps, as you know, can be a challenge. But he's figuring it out quickly enough. Too bad my legs can't keep up with his big trot!

6) Walking around cones. Cones, as I mentioned while training Sandy, can be tricky for a horse who's never seen them. Steve Holt! doesn't mind, however, and walked perfect little figure 8s around them with me, followed by backing near perfect figure 8's afterwards. This was a bit surprising to me given the limited amount of back up we've done. Like, say...none.

7) Back between poles. I set a couple of poles out in the arena the other day and led him in between, then asked him to back out. Nice, straight, bumps.

8) Sidepass over poles. Never been asked before. Once he realized what I wanted, as in both front and back, not just shoulders or hips, he sailed down to the end without so much as a tap from my finger. I led him around, backed him through, asked for a pivot and sailed down the opposite direction. Can we say smart boy?

9) Standing tied. He's done it at home, and he's done it a the hitching rail at the riding club.

10) Letting me walk behind him. He's been nervous, as they all are, about me being behind him. Standing at the rail at the riding club last week, he'd swing his hind end quickly as I walked from one side to the other. Then he realized what I was doing, and I can now put my hand up on the dock of his tail and walk around without him becoming worried.

11) I was able to put the bridle on without having a halter on him yesterday. This is one of those really big deals because he's still sensitive about his face, and pulling that headstall over the ears while he has the ability to just bolt away was a sign of great progress.

It's been a big week for Steve Holt!, that's for sure. Two things that still need work: Feet. I can run my hands down his legs and ask for the foot, and he'll pick it up, then move off. I try to let go before the move off happens so that it's as painless and stress free as possible, and it seems to be helping. The other thing that needs work is a huge hole...the whoa. I'm considering doing some ground driving so he can get used to me asking for that while not at his head. If I had someone who could be there each day like I did with Sandy, the whoa transition might come easier. Perhaps the roads will clear enough to make it down to see Curt, and perhaps even Jay, this next week.

Speaking of Jay...I spoke with him the other day and he told me he's buying JoJo. You recall JoJo, don't you? I rode her last year when I began taking lessons from Curt. Big brown mare with oodles of talent and athletic ability. I loved that mare, but she's always been Jay's girl. I was really happy to hear he's buying her.


Pip said...

Wow you've come so far. Bet your dead proud of him Tracey

Pony Girl said...

Sounds like really good progress! I really admire your dedication during the winter, to get out and work with SH! I think he sounds like a quick learner and a smart horse. I think he's going to be great!

Linda Reznicek said...

I don't know who I'm more impressed with--him or you. Amazing!

CTG Ponies said...

You are making amazing progress!! I look forward to watching you as a team.

Connie Peterson said...

What an amazing horse!! Congratulations on your work with him.

Rising Rainbow said...

Wow! I keep saying that but you and Steve Holt! are making such progress, I can't think of a better word.

That "whoa" button always is tricky. Even when you think it's there it can end up not.

I'm glad to see the weather isn't slowing you down too much. You guys are doing great!

gtyyup said...

Fantastic week Tracey!! He really is a sharp lil''re doing a great job!