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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gogo and the Vacuum

Actually, that title is way more exciting than the actual event. Gogo had never before seen a horsey vacuum, so I pulled ours (the barn's) out yesterday after she rolled in the mud to see what she would do. As expected, she did not look at it when it rolled out, nor did she care about the actual hose. She did not even notice when I turned the thing on, and she didn't even care when I started sucking the dirt out of her skin. Didn't move a muscle, or even notice what I was doing. I even vacuumed her head, ears and cheeks and forehead and all. I love my horse.

Our ride yesterday was not quite as good as our ride the day before. She had a few hissies for no apparent reason, and I got a little up in her face about it, but once again, when I finally let go and pushed her forward, she stretched right out. Well, in the walk and canter anyway... the trot was a little bit more hit and miss. We had some awesome leg yields, some great counter-canter serpentines, some really nice canter lengthenings, and fewer transitions than we should have done - transitions REALLY help her. Actually, today I wanted to take her out on a long walk hack but it was very dark by the time we finished work, so instead I lunged her again in the chambon. She was AWESOME! We went right first, her soft way, and did a million transitions - boy, do they ever make a difference in her. She goes SO much more forward, she comes well over her back, and she listens. If you just let her trot or canter around for a long time, she sort of drags around after awhile, looking to get out of work, but with a ton of transitions they is always forward and attentive, waiting for the second I ask her to change what she's doing. Going left is a slightly different strategy - I want her to do longer trots and canters without so many transitions, mostly because the forward and the STRETCH I was getting out of her today was better than any she's ever given me with the chambon before. It was AWESOME!

This strategy of two days dressage, one day something else, two days dressage, etc, works out very well for us.


dp said...

I never knew there was such a thing as a horse vacuum. I probably wouldn't live to tell the tale if I tried to use one on my wretches.

Gaining weight soon? Is she preggers?

Andrea said...

Oh yes, the horsey vacuum.. they make all different kinds of them and they're GREAT when your horse has dried crusty mud all over them, sucks all the leftover mud-dust away! And yes, because they're capitalizing on one of our greatest lazinesses, they cost like $600 apiece. Yikes.

And no, sadly she is not preggers. She just lost a little bit of weight recently when her nice delicious fall pasture wore down to nothing, and unfortunately the grain I've been buying her for the past 2 years does not exist on the east coast, so we've switched it to something else, which will probably fatten her up a little TOO fast. I hate fat horses!

JJ said...

I don't think my horse would let me near him with a vacuum, although one does sound very useful to get all of that mud he likes to roll in off.

My horse also is lazy when just trotting or just walking, and not really on the aids...I am going to try your strategy of lots of transitions to see if he improves any.

Andrea said...

Transitions do WONDERS for lazy horses. But the catch with them is that they have to be prompt about it - carry a whip if your horse will tolerate it. If a light squeeze does not give you an immediate response, give a little smack with the dressage whip, which (hopefully) will wake horsey up and get him to move off briskly. When he does, bring him back down immediately and ask again with a light squeeze. The idea is that you train him to move off right away, as soon as you ask, with the lightest of aids. Prompt upwards transitons are awesome because then the horse is always thinking about when you are going to ask him for more, and waiting just on the edge to do it.