Friday, May 13, 2011

Lily update...

Well, I've been bitten by a horse bug, so I am close to purchasing a 4 year old registered QH in grullo color. Sale is pending a vet check, so I'll write more later. But it means I won't really have the room or time for Lily, so Breathe is coming to get her later today.

BUT, I did ride her yesterday and wanted to sum up her report from her brief camp with me.

Pre-camp summary from owner: Lily is described as a performance mare, 17 years old, with little work in the last several months, who has become anxious and hyper-reactive. She has never flexed her neck well from the ground. Round pens well with inside turns, slow to join up. Recently started to refuse being bridled with bit.

Training day 1: Horse refused to be bridled with bit. Popped lead rope during attempt, very dangerous move as I was fully engaged with horse. I never like a horse to behave in that exaggerated a manner while I am anywhere near the horse, and in this case, I was not forcing the bit, and I was literally next to and touching the horse with much of my body.

Horse was moved to the round pen, where she was VERY anxious, cantered out of control, sweating profusely, and had very little control to trainer's body language. Join up was minimal at best, even after about 20 minutes and with frequent changes in direction. Horse did not respond to moving in front of her driveline while round penning. All direction changes had to be done with exaggerated body cues.

Did not understand flexing exercises. Wanted to spin in place instead of remaining still for neck flexion. Ended session with small success at just getting her to stand still and give me her head for neck flexion with halter and lead at about 25% of full flexion.

Longed with too much energy. Wanted to canter despite quiet body language asking for trot. Did not square up well, hindquarters drifting. Fairly dangerous exercise with her energy level this high.

Training Day 2: Round pen exercises again. Still very little control, and too fast canter for the minimal stimulation the trainer was giving. Still, some improvement in getting her to trot AND canter. Good at inside turns, but there is no "submission" to her inside turns; she is just well practiced at turning that way. Join up still after 20+ minutes, but stays hooked on decently. Very distracted with stimuli outside the round pen.

Flexing better today. Still wanted to spin in place, but "remembered" from day before, and took less time to achieve still body position. Flexion at 50% of full flexion. Need to emphasize quick, obvious release to build on her neck flexion.

Longed with less energy, which is good. Not pushing her to work off her back end when changing directions to avoid over-stimulating, but eventually turns on her back end would be the goal.

Training Day 3: Left her tied for about 90 minutes.

Training Day 4: Caught her and brought her into barn. Nervous and anxious. My oldest daughter noticed "she isn't breathing". My daughter is correct; Lily is only taking shallow breaths. Had myself and my 2 daughters brush her all over to give her "hands on her body" desensitization while taking loud, deep breaths. Lily relaxed and started breathing.

Saddled with minimal fuss, but had to remind her to stand still with praise.

Round penned better. Still too hyper-reactive and not respectful of getting in front of her driveline, but less anxious. Not as sweaty. Better join up, walking towards me about 6 steps at join up.

Flexed better. "Remembered" to stay still with medium-gentle effort. Very responsive to praise and touch. Lots of try in her. Achieved 100% flexion after some time. Not consistent, but much improved.

No longeing today.

Rode her in bosal. Decently still on standing still for mounting. She bent her head to readily accept and place her head in bosal. Walked and trotted well. Good stop and back up with minimal effort.

I attempted flexing from saddle with bosal. At first, mad spinning in place. I was careful to keep legs off her. Got dizzy. When she stopped, I released. After several mionutes, she was flexing 100% to my boot while standing still on both sides. Repeated this exercise many times during ride.

Summary: Lily is an older performance mare with a lot of try and quick feet. She needs a job, and to be ridden consistently. She responds well to praise, and is a quick learner.

Currently, I grade her round penning at a C-. She needs to be relaxed, able to be controlled in to all gaits, including the walk. Needs to be joined to trainer and respect moves in front of the driveline.

I grade her longeing at a C+. She has too much energy and needs to work off her back end more with turns.

Her flexing went from an F to a C+. This was her most improved area, considering her owner said she had never flexed before.

I would also consider doing desensitization work to "sack her out". Also, remember to breathe deeply around her to ease her anxiety.

I estimate 3-4 months to bring her grades into A range, but I see no reason why she could not achieve this.

I also think Lily is best served to be a primary mount. The lack of work likely leaves her anxious and she becomes very undone. If she were ridden consistently and often, I think she still has many useful years of service. Her "try" is very good for a horse her age.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I left a comment before on your last post - it may have been eaten by Blogger. Your conclusion that consistent work is needed for her to be sane and to progress makes sense - she seems more worried/anxious than resistant - the holding breath is pretty typical. It's possible magnesium oxide would help her nervousness - I get mine from HorseTech - it improved nervous system processing. She may also be a horse that needs leadership and direction and can learn to relax into this - she may be nervous because she's been having to make too many decisions without human leadership.

She does sound responsive and capable if she can just relax and listen.