The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
All this prompts me to recall that idleness is a horse killer.

On the EquineCushings (IR) listserve it's highly recommened that if you have an IR horse there are three things you must do. Get a proper Diagnosis, Attend to a balanced diet low in sugars and starch, AND EXERCISE THAT HORSE.

I walked Altea even when both she and I would have prefered not to. Cold, wet snow coming down, miserable temperature, but we walked. Sometimes she stopped and simply refused to go on. I know her hooves hurt. I know my feet ached. But on we went. I wanted her to live.

She never did trot, as I recall. It was just too much for her. And I certainly couldn't keep up a trot for long myself. Not on these old feet.

Now you should see her hooves. They are SO healthy that I even ride her a little bit and give Kate her first lessons from Altea's back. Altea even voluntarily canters on circles she is so full of health and feels so good.

I saw her play with Bonnie the other day, the two of them rearing and play fighting gently. How good that made me feel, and how worth the cold snowy hard roads we walked over the winter.

Donald

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:10 pm
Posts: 45
Hi Annie,

I know what you mean :smile:

The way I (mostly) dealt with this was by using Alex Kurland's 100 peck pigeon exercise, it's in her book Riding with the Clicker. When I started riding Jackson, we had to leave the field where he lived, and go to the field next door with knee high grass to ride. So the only strategy I could come up with was a version of this. I would mount up, and ask him to move off. Then I would click for one step, and treat. Click for two steps and treat, click for three steps and treat. Keep going until either I want to stop, or more likely horse dives for grass :) I didn't do quite what she did at this point, I just reset the counter in my head and started again. In about two days, we were getting up to 50 steps without eating grass. At this point, I just stopped - he seemed to understand that riding was about riding rather than eating.

This was a couple of years ago, and now we ride out on a very nice Sustrans path, that's bordered with delicious herbs - especially that lovely stalky one with white flowers that smells lovely when the horse eats it - I think it's called Queen Anne's lace. He still understands that riding isn't the same as grazing, but can't resist the white flowers, so I usually tell him to eat the occasional one by just pointing and dropping the rein on that side :D

He's in the fatty paddock at the moment with tender feet as we have too much grass, so I'm like you and want to keep munching while out down to a minimum :smile:

Donald, I would love to know how far you walked? Jackson is overweight and needs exercise, and I wonder how much is the right amount. If he feels he doesn't want me to ride, I'll walk him in hand (usually doesn't want me to ride because he's tender footed but is happy to walk the track beside me and even trot a little). I go about three miles a day, either riding or in-hand but the weight's staying stubbornly on him and I wonder if we need to go further.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
hhmmm if your horse is to heavy weight you can not walk this off ;) he have to restricted on food and then exercise too.
but 3 miles is not enough...
My little one is getting a bit to get fatty, getting rubineque as Josepha wrote in a other part of this forum.
and i go almost every day out with him for at least 20 km. and still not enough!!
you have to do both if you wanna succeed.
By humans works the same :D less food more activity.

i am part of those who are follow a course with Carolyn Resnick, i will ask this question to her and i wll write here how she thinks about this "problem' were i have to work on. It will take some time so the answer is not directly within a few days. The course starts at the end of this month. I hope i can learn lots of new things so i can learn him to follow my ideas and not always his.
I will follow sometimes his idea but about the eating part he had to lissten to me hahahaha...


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 12:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:43 pm
Posts: 598
Location: UK
Thanks for all your replies, seems we all get the same problem, and I guess that because were all here trying for the perfect relationship, we know it wouldn't be good to get realy firm or angry, especialy as we all realise that this is part of the horses natural instinct......to move and graze.

I have three horses, I do take a horse ot everyday, especialy this time of the year, somedays two horses a day, the problem is that you can get so hooked on excercise, then you stop and realise your haveing no fun, and everything has gotten a bit mechanical.

I am impressed by your 20km a day Inge, how do you find the time? I do quite a few miles too, but nowhere near that. My horses are on a hill too, so they do get lots of excercise, thats the trouble isn't it, they need restricted grazing, but not restricted movement, so if the paddock is too small, the horse doesn't get excercise, so for that I am pleased of my hill. We can only do our best this time of the year can't we. I took Misty out today for a very long walk, she is excelent, if I sense she is going near the verge, just a touch of the lead rope is enough for her to stop, and the word ah ah, I just wish storm was the same!!!

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
ha Annie,

i am yealous of your hills :-) but we seen them soon...two weeks form now....
how i find the time?? he can go fast hahahaha...
it will take about two ours to ride the 20 km. So it is not that long as you think.
it is one day ride and one day off. So i got the time for each pony.

but when i am bussy as now the last weeks for our holliday they don't go this far.
i am a bit too tired to do this. My brother inlaw and his wife have bought a new home.
so we helped them to make a nice new garden. Lots and lots of work. And everything is hurting me hahahaha...
not that good for riding as well, as you know...
and my little webstore takes some more time this week, visit a few people. They all going bitless for ever, yes...
Then i have less of thime for long rides. But a few days of more rest they like it....they have more time to eat hahahaha


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:10 pm
Posts: 45
Quote:
It will take about two hours to ride the 20 km. So it is not that long as you think.
it is one day ride and one day off. So i got the time for each pony.


Ah, Inge, we are not so far off that as it seems! Jackson gets at least 6km every day :) And there has definitely been a reduction in the waistline over the last week or so, I think the regular exercise plus less grass on the paddock is working. I am so glad :)

It is most difficult when, as Donald says, the horse is a little tender on their feet - then marching them longer distances feels a bit mean :blush:


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