Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chrome's Fourth Workout

Sorry I didn't post yesterday.  My best friend's grandpa was being taken off life support so I was babysitting her puppy all day.  :(

Today I did the fourth routine in Chrome's workout.  No pictures again sorry!!  This was a very easy workout since I couldn't do one of the exercises and I ran out of time.  It was a very, very busy day.

First we started with the pick-up sticks exercise.  I think with actual cavaletti poles that this would be soooo much fun!  Basically what you do is scatter your poles out like the pick-up sticks game, letting them lay in all different directions and even overlap.  Then you walk or ride your horse through them in all sorts of directions letting him pick his way through them.  This is one of the stifle exercises that I will be posting about in more detail later.  All I had was my PVC pipes and some are only two feet long so I was very limited in what I could do.  I put them out as best I could and walked him through them.  He only hit one once, but otherwise did a fantastic job finding his way through!  It doesn't even seem like he's looking at them, but he never misses a step.  So weird.  I think he watches his feet more than I ever guessed, it's just not as obvious as some horses.  I'll try to get a video of this when I have actual cavaletti poles.  It's going to be one of my favorite exercises (more like a game!).

Next we walked over the poles in a line like I described on the second routine.  It was at the very end of the day at feeding time and he was very relaxed and laid back (read LAZY), so he bumped it a couple of times with his toes before he remembered to pick up his feet (keep in mind just a minute ago he was walking through the crazy pile without hitting them, so I think a straight line is just boring hehe).  He also tried ducking around the two foot ones which he didn't do last time.  Brat.  I can't wait to get some actual poles so that when he's lazy he actually bangs his toes without them moving and learns to quit doing that.  Once he went over them a few times, keeping straight down the middle and not bumping them I called it quits.

The third exercise was something totally new for us.  Lateral work while walking.  I've only ever asked him to yield his shoulders and haunches while standing still, so this was totally new.  The exercise is turn on the forehand in motion.  Basically you ride or walk them in a straight line and ask them to step one hind leg in front of the other until they've done a 180 degree change of direction, keeping forward motion the whole time.  Since this was the first time I'm ever asked him to do this I was basically just doing leg yields from the ground and he was AWESOME!!!!!!!

I had him walking forward with me facing him (kind of like longeing only with me in arm's reach), which I haven't done a whole lot of.  Once he was walking ahead I put my other hand on his rib cage and asked him to move over, while tilting his head slightly toward me with the other and he did it!!  He was only reaching about to his midline with his inside hind leg, but that is huge for him with his weak stifles.  I did it in both directions.  I had to press his rib cage more firmly on his right side, but it's not like I was leaning into him or anything.  He was responding well to the pressure.  I can't wait to try that under saddle.  :)

So after doing that two or three times on each side (only about three or four steps each time-I didn't want to overdo it his first time), we did the backing uphill that we did in the first routine.  It was hilarious though because I got him lined up on the gentle culvert slope and turned to face him, asked him to put his head down, then went to ask him to back up and he did the leg yield again without me even touching him LOL!!  He is so silly.  I stood more directly in front of him and tried again and he figured it out.  He kept getting crooked, popping his head up or not backing straight so I had to keep stopping him, asking him to lower his head and back again.  We got about three steps on average each time.  On the fifth or sixth try he backed about six steps, straight back with his head fairly low, so I ended it on a good note and praised him big time.

Last I did the pelvis tuck (which I will get a video for you soon I promise) and he was fairly good.  He can arch his back really, really well (really impressive to me! Wait until you see it), but sometimes he's crooked and he likes to try to sidestep away so you have to release the stretch.  It's never been his favorite exercise.  I only did it a couple of times since it's hard work.  I can sympathize with him on that one.  I hate doing sit-ups.  :)

There was one more exercise in this routine, but I didn't do it because it has too many circles.  It's basically spiraling in and out on circles (not leg yielding, just spiraling).  I'll probably do some circles eventually, but not right now.  His stifles need a lot more strengthening before we do a lot of work on circles.

So that's all for today.  It was a really short, easy workout, but he deserves easy days too.  I'll probably add riding or walking him into this fourth routine when it comes back around, but I just ran out of time today.

It's almost the 19th and I'll do his assessment so we can see how his muscles change throughout this workout program.. The book said there won't be a noticeable difference during the prep phase that we are doing, but that it is essential to prepare them for the cardio phase.  :)  I'll try to get the pictures of the stifle exercises up tomorrow.  I hope everyone is having gorgeous weather and getting to ride!

P.S.  I haven't seen his stifles lock at all today.  :D  I don't know if they did yesterday since it rained all day and I stayed hidden inside with the puppy, but I didn't see them lock when I fed them.  Hopefully as his stifles get stronger they will stop doing that after the hard workouts.  Fingers crossed!


  1. All that work will help him mentally as well as physically, and keep you in charge since you are moving his feet. I think I'm going to try some of those exercises with my horses.

  2. I love all of this! I need to do more of the in hand work out stuff. I've done a version of the forehand one in school horse lessons.

  3. Ohhhh! My trainer gave me a great idea for raised cavalettis. She uses the long pieces of treated wood you'd use of a support beam on a deck or making an arbor. You cut wood up into one foot pieces and cut a v in them. It raises them just enough for good trot/walk cavalettis. And when your done it keeps your poles from rotting of you store them on ur wood chunks.

  4. You can also use limbs if you have bigger ones. Depending on the size of the PVC, it is actually pretty good to use as cavaletti or jump poles. I have 4 PVC poles myself that I bought before I got wooden poles and had used PVC for years prior at boarding barns.
    Keep working him, the more you work him the better his stifles will be!

  5. Super Ponies, I think I know what you mean! I've seen some like that. It would be so easy to do too! Thank you!

    Appy, the PVC is too small and moves too easily and I'm afraid he will step on it, shatter it and cut himself. I'm hoping to get wood ones soon. :)

    I'm glad you all are enjoying the exercises. I'm telling you this book is awesome. I got the pictures of the stifle exercises so I'm going to try to post it today.


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