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What do you do for fun with your horses when you can't ride or drive?

This topic contains 28 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Liz Liz 2 years, 2 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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  • Liz Original Poster Liz
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 17

    Hey Everybody!

    Due to some annoying circumstances (weather, health, etc.) I have been unable to ride or drive for a few weeks. I was wondering what everyone does for fun with their horses when riding conditions are not ideal? Lunging gets dull pretty quick, even when I lunge over poles or cavalettis.

    Since I have not been cleared by my doctor to ride or drive yet, I’ve been working on teaching Mirage to lay down on command :)

    I would love to hear what you do or see some pictures of winter time fun/training sessions (and maybe get some new ideas on what I can do from the ground!).

    Hopefully spring will come soon.
    -Liz

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Teaching a horse to lay down can be absolutely invaluable. I think of horses/folks that live in hurricane- and tornado-villes and what I would do in such a case. I have always thought that if my horses would lay down on command, I could have a big ol’ hollow dug in the woods, lay them down there and pray that the bulk of the debris blows over them instead of horrifically THRU them. Good on you, Liz, even if the task was brought on by winter boredom. Very useful tool for so many reasons.

    Does Mirage long-line? Where he already drives, it would take very little to teach him. An excellent activity but might require more physical application than you are currently allowed.. just a thought. Take him for a walk?

    I have retirees here and riding/driving has been a rare activity so just hanging with them has been a regular and anticipated daily gig for these guys for eons. We groom, chat, play, learn new/old things like not biting, how to eat gracefully, how NOT to bull thru the walls, doors, gateposts and fence lines, what the fork REALLY represents, put that down, get off the hose, stop chewing on your jammies, stop chewing on her tail, stop chewing on HIS jammies, get outa there, get outa HERE, I SWEAR I have no more cookies!, leave her alone, eat the dang hay, no do NOT tip the wheelbarrow over…again tho thank you much for waiting til it was full, wrong stall Dude, get outa the way, get outa the barn, get outa the rainsnowsleethailwindcold, where is The Baby NOW, why is Beanie in the barn..AGAIN, why is Pheets on the roof (really, Ponee, it was just the breeze!), those are MY gloves, where is the other one? STOP POOPING! PLEASE let me get the place in order before you all start again! MY hat…..etc. After all that is taken care of, then I have time to keep them occupied and entertained: sure: gate open, hay down, go play.

    You know… simple stuff. Daily stuff. Hope you are fine soon and cleared to get back to business, take good care of yourself, Liz, good to hear from you!. That little fella is just the berries, and better weather is coming. Mapale said so : D!

    The pic is of Pheety’s stall door. And that is the shallow end. I would love to be more involved with them, if I could get to them more easily : )

    Buds on trees, 50’s…..not soon enough here!

    Attachments:

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    One of the things I do in the barn is work on lateral movement. Another is (trying) to explain that clippers will not remove ears, the wash stall is not a gas chamber (not using water, just getting him to stand there for grooming), the smelly/slimy/sticky/goopy/spray stuff is not poison and other things of that nature. Annoying as it is, not being able to ride does free up time to work on other things that may seem trivial but can be important. Get out of the garbage can, don’t try to eat the spoon, no you cannot climb out the window, etc. You could perfect your piaffe (my horse won’t do it, but I try), do bending and flexing exercises. There are so many things to do with a horse that do not involve getting on, that there are probably entire encyclopedias on the topic. I even taught him to stretch his forelegs (one at a time) on command, which is a useful thing. Practice braiding, wrapping legs – anything that you might want to do but don’t always have the time to work on. Teach your horse music – I am usually the only person at our barn, so can play whatever I like. Joe Joe likes Queen, jazz and show tunes. Since he has become familiar with certain songs (his favorites, not necessarily mine), he knows when they are going to end and stops or changes gait or direction at the proper times when I do ride him. I don’t always remember that these changes are going to happen, but that is my issue, not his. Sad, to have a horse who is smarter than I.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    What do I do for fun? with my horses? Well that is the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Some of the things I’ve done:
    1 – stockpiled the mud I pulled out of their feet and tried to guess how much it weighed. I’m always wrong. It’s always more. If I was really creative I’d mold a pot or a bathtub or something out of the clay.
    2 – each day awarding the horse with the least messy stall an extra cookie. On days when it’s a toss up – no pun intended – they both get a cookie and I get to toss up.
    3 – installing lickety-licks in their stalls and watching them on camera as they devise new ways to defeat the rope. Mischief’s “stand there while I prop this on your neck, Carmagirl” wins the prize for most innovative.
    4 – taking the horses out of the pasture and working on liberty training – when they know they are truly at liberty and still do what I say – it always makes me burst my vest buttons – though mostly it’s go there or stay here and let me groom you. And there are cookies involved. I’m always amazed when I say “Okay – now put yourselves up.” and they go back into the pasture and wait for me to close the gate.
    5 – I provide my hats for entertainment to Mischief – while they are still on my head. I put them on and he takes them off and hands them to me. I don’t know how he does it without snagging my hair. (Not recommended with every horse – this one is superbly gentle)
    6 – the stall water bucket – different toy for different horses:
    Mischief – the water bucket is for taking down and flinging out of the stall.
    Carmagirl – the water bucket is for target practice. Amazing how she can get all the poop into one and none on the floor of her stall. I’ve tried putting an empty one in there just to collect poop – but she only does it if there is water in it. Go figure.

    Seriously I enjoy just hanging out with my horses because they are more than exercise machines to me. We’re buds. When I go out and sit in the pasture wrapped in blankets they come out to me and graze there, or stand there and nudge me for chin scratches or head rubs. I read about riding when I’m not riding – so I take a book and just go out where they are and read. And sometimes I snooze if the sun is warm enough, and a big wet horse kiss is my wakeup call. It’s all good.

    This endless winter has been a challenge to the spirit – and I take a lesson from my horses. Yield. This is a time for rest and quiet. It isn’t fun, but it has a purpose. Horses provide a great example to follow – when there is no grass in the pasture or it’s buried in snow, they stand there and study it and then go some place warm and wait it out. Abide.

    If there is a boost of energy I tackle one of these (my every winter to do list): Get the tack clean; check and replace worn parts. Soak it in neatsfoot oil or rub with Blackrock. Go through medicines and throw out the things that have expired, organize the others. Take inventory and buy new supplies. Get your fly predators ordered. Survey the pastures for branches or other trouble (ie., old anthills), walk the fence line and the bridle path. Clean the trailer, check the tires and the wiring, look for rust.

    I promise the weather will change, not so far out on a limb down south, but if we don’t do the resting and the assessing and the cleaning now, something might get neglected later on. Down time has a purpose too.

    Way cool that you can make your horse lie down, Liz, hope your healing up and can get back to working with your horse soon.

    Pheets – you and J-J always make me smile. Better than the best books on the subject, just sayin’.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    You and Joan Fry are the writers, Mapale, actually many folks write well here! I just ramble on like you are sitting next to me at the bus depot and we just chattin’. YOU guys, Joe-Joe, too, actually create clear pictures with the way you write : ) Thank you, tho!

    Joe-Joe, someone here posted something akin to “…until you’ve been chucked off an Arab, you aren’t a rider…” I tend to agree : ) It’s that Ara-Bean mentality, too smart for their own good sometimes, yet honest as the day is long. I hear your humour about Himself being smarter than you but, what better compliment than to be bested, and subsequently forgiven and still sought, by a well-established Arabian ? : )

    Liz, one day closer to spring, one day closer to getting cleared to drive : ) You hang in there!!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Pheets – you are so right. There is nothing to compare, at least in my experience, to being loved by an Arabian!

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    If genuinely loved by an Arabian, you can take it to the bank that it was duly earned and justified : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Thank you Pheets! I think I may have earned it with peppermints.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    I sense some skepticism about my promise of spring. So here’s a photo of my pasture last Thursday:

    Attachments:

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Wow – what a nice place you have (except for that pesky white stuff).

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Now here are the pictures of buds I took today:
    plum, maple, dogwood and the first flower of spring

    Proof spring is coming!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    My weeds are looking healthy – does that count?

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Oops one of them is peach not maple – and JJ that little blue flower IS a weed. You aren’t that far from me – this will be YOU in two weeks. We were 72degrees today.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Here’s the maple up against the magnolia tree:

    Attachments:

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Ahh, Joe-Joe. the fine art of bribery. It DOES work, I don’t care what anybody says : D

    Definitely a nice place, Mapale, lovely!! Hm…do you board?

    Yeah, minour skepticism, but Wyo and I will persist and sing our new favourite song: Spring IS coming, Mapale said so : D

    This is my barn, last night: Skeptical? Me? Not at all.

    Attachments:

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

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