Easing into the New Year

by Lori Albrough on January 6, 2012

Levi (Elix) had an easy week for this first week of the new year. I worked him only twice this week, which is pretty unusual for me, but he’s doing well so I’m not concerned.

On Monday we were planning on getting back to normal after the holidays, and we came outside in the morning to find at least a foot of heavy snow had fallen overnight. Which is not so much of a problem, we’re Northerners after all 🙂 except that underneath the snow was water and slush, the whole mess of which kept jamming up and freezing solid in our snow blower! About then Alida called over and said that they were also having snow blower problems over at her place, and she wasn’t sure she could get back up her driveway, so she couldn’t come. Stefan cleared snow and I did chores rather than riding horses. It happens.

On Tuesday, the temperature had plummeted to -16°C (3°F). That is getting pretty close to my cut-off point for not being able to feel my hands when I ride. Given the invigoratingly frosty temps, and the fact that all my horses had had four days off in a row at this point, I decided to do a lungeing day and keep myself bundled up in long johns and ski-doo gloves.

Despite the cold and the number of days off, Levi was quite sane (actually, all of my horses were). When he is feeling fresh on the lunge line all he does is give his head a shake from side to side, and then he jumps up off the ground with all four legs, with a BOING! Picture a little lamb in spring and you’ve got the visual. Then he lands, and continues trotting on his circle as if to say “There. I got that out of my system”.

Lately Levi has seemed a little bit dubious about going by the arena door when I’m working him. He’s fine if I hand-walk him in that area though. He seems to be genuinely scared of the door when I’m not on the ground with him, but not terrified, nor unwilling to give it a try if I insist. Just dubious about it overall. I wondered if there was some strange wind noise out there that I couldn’t perceive, because one of the other horses was acting the same way. So on Tuesday I did a lot of my lungeing right down in that corner, and really insisted that he put aside his worries about the door and get to work for me. This was a good exercise, and I felt like we made a lot of progress.

On Wednesday, Alida was away for the day, so I was on my own and concentrated on getting the chores done and the horses had another day off.

By Thursday the temperature was back up to something more moderate, and I rode Levi. He went well. I focused mainly on the trot work and connecting him from inside leg to outside rein. I really like the suppleness he has in his neck and the spring he is developing in the trot as he learns how to use his back.

After I finished riding on Thursday, I was off to my coach’s place for a lesson on a different horse in the afternoon, and stayed over for another lesson on Friday morning. Hence the Friday off for Levi, and an easy week for him overall. It’s fine to give the horses an easy time, physically and mentally, every now and then. Next week we should be able to gradually pick the training pace back up.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beth January 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Lori, does Levi do the what I like to call the “snake” neck thing? Lex thinks he is a snake when he is feeling good and he does this move with his neck where he looks like a snake slithering along! LOL…glad he is doing well…we do the deer thing too! Actually he did it today on the lunge..it always makes me giggle a little to see his furry body jump up on all fours! My friend Joan said we should get him a tutu like in the ballet!!! Gotta love these yellow ponies!


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