Sunday, January 18, 2015

Longeing & Desensitizing Chrome

 I longed Chrome for ten minutes using the whip so you guys could see him moving out better.  I still think I see something weird, but I don't think he's lame.  It might just be some thrush sensitivity.  We will see how he is after I treat with White Lightning.  Anyway he ended up showing more than just lameness on the video.  He's been longed around a dozen times total in his almost six years of life, so he's very green at it and apparently opinionated too!  I left the longeing video mostly unedited (my mom was talking to me at one point while he was walking) so you can see what a turd he can be lol.

Did you see any lameness in the walk after he'd trotted?  I still can't really tell what it is.  I think he feels fine though so I'm going to take the wait and see approach and try not to stress myself out over it.  If I can't see anything tomorrow I might ride him bareback (in a bridle!) to see if I can feel anything.  Sometimes it's easier to feel things than to see them.

Anyway after longeing him I decided to do some whip desensitization since it's pretty obvious I've been slacking off on that.  He's definitely become a lot more sensitive than he used to be.  I miss my deadhead!  Anyway I spent probably fifteen minutes desensitizing him, but I trimmed it down because that gets boring!  I video editing software was being a major pain in the butt, so it's actually two separate videos.  It refused to do them together for some reason.  I really love the end of the second one because he shows me he still wants to be with me after I take the halter off.  He shows off his winning smile too so don't miss that.

Here is the first one.  Don't worry it's way shorter than the longeing one.

The second one.

Also for those of you who can't watch videos due to internet or work computers here are some snapshots for you.

He can look fancy when he wants to.

The goats made an appearance too so I hope you can watch the video!  It's funny.

Sadly he still cross canters.  :(

Here is some of him being naughty (I forgot to get snapshots of the bucking).

Some more trotting pictures.

This last one is where he pops his head up and scoots.

I can't wait until he looks calm and stretching down in the whole session instead of just for brief spells of it.  There are a few more pictures of him being cute below.

 I love how long his mane is getting!  
I hope he doesn't start rubbing it out this spring.

 I caught one of his best smiles on that last video.  So cute!

I hope you guys enjoy the pictures and video.  I'm sure having fun with my GoPro.  I've been wanting a way to record a longeing session for a long time.  I really wanted a nice session, but he gave me a naughty one instead haha.  It shows you how sensitive he is though.  To me walking toward him, the whip, the last dragging in the grass, me bending over, etc.  We will definitely be doing a LOT more desensitizing.  I hadn't realized how reactive he's gotten!!

Lytha from A Horse Crazy American in Germany shared a video from Warwick Schiller that reminded me a lot of Chrome.  Chrome used to be quiet and lazy, now he is responsive and reactive.  I have to find the middle ground with him again.  Here is the video.  It's short and doesn't tell you how to do anything, but it was eye opening for me.

Anyway I'll stop rambling now and I'll see what you guys think regarding the lameness and all of Chrome's shenanigans.  :)


  1. I can't see anything off about his movement, but I'm also not as used to watching him move as you are. What I did notice are steps of different lengths, but nothing consistent -- so possibly it has to do with a funny spot in the ground? Not sure.

    And seriously... a calm yet responsive, and respectful horse.. oh how I dream of such a thing. ;)

  2. Yes it would be a dream wouldn't it!! I'm thinking of it kind of like dressage. In dressage you are constantly fighting one sidedness, trying to get both sides of the horse equally strong and flexible. So in training a green horse I'm going to constantly aim for that middle ground of calm but responsive :-)

    I'm definitely not noticing anything consistent in his gait either. It seems worse on a down slope so I'm going to assume it's sensitivity from thrush. My farrier is coming out soon so if he's not better by then after treating with white lightning we will see what she says.

  3. Love the photos, the gopro seems like a good investment ☺

  4. I'm not a big fan of "traditional" lunging. I don't even like "word commands". I will have to video tape our ground work with the short and long rope with stick and string… I am not saying there is only one way, I'm just saying how happy we are with our newly learned (the past few years) ground work lessons. Cues correlate with riding cues - where we direct the "pressure". Also, when I lunge we only face out body on our horse and look at him only when we want a change of command. Otherwise my body is not "on" him but walking with and I am looking where I am going - just like riding… look leg lead - in a sense. I haven't posted to my horse blog in a long time, but I will try and get some new ground work up - I also notice he likes to put his nose out of the circle a bit - which is typical - but is defiantly a "I am in charge" type of attitude. Oberon does it a lot and we have been working on this for a long time. Just some thoughts and ideas. He is a sweet boy and this time of year they are all a bit spunky.

    1. …and I noticed you use the stick and string a lot. I suggest making it mean something - it seems a bit "nagging" to me. Direct him and expect him to keep up the pace you asked for - otherwise step into him and use it where his back feet are - make it mean something. I'm not saying beat him or whip him - just don't nag him with a constant "pressure" from it. And if he speeds up in a feisty manner - I suggest making him keep that pace for numerous rounds = tire him out and make him think twice about going at his own pace or he may have to run much longer than he ever imagined. Do you ever make him turn into you and stop and back up as well with a gentle light cue? Backing up is a huge control issue with horses, as I am sure you know. I don't mean to sound like a know it all - I'm just excited about all we have learned on the ground and how it has transferred directly into how he responds when we ride. I side pass him nicely on the ground now and he now is doing it in the saddle - same touch spots - just now I am on him. :)

    2. I think I mentioned (I hope) that I have only longed Chrome a few times in his life! Seriously in almost six years I have probably longed him less than twelve times. Before this month it had been a year since I did any longeing. He is green, green, green at longeing. I am too actually. The last horse I longed was over ten years ago and Chrome is the first one I've taught to longe from scratch. So I know we did a lot of things wrong.

      I was nagging him with the whip at first because he was being so lazy... I do that under saddle too. That is definitely something I need to work on. Unfortunately when I started walking with him that's when he got all jazzed up. He's only ever longed with me standing still so it confused him. After that I was just trying to keep him calm. I don't know if you noticed in the video but he slipped several times and his stifle locked once. That's why I don't normally longe (I was just doing this to check for lameness) and why I only longe for ten minutes. I probably won't longe him again for months unless he shows that weird stride again. I also can't ask him to back when he is excited with his head up because his stifle locks. The only backing he is allowed to do right now is when he's completely relaxed with his head down and only a few steps at a time. I also can't keep him at the canter on that small of a circle. I just did it to see if he would, but he slipped and I think that was when his stifle locked. He really wasn't supposed to be doing that so I can't keep him at that pace to teach him a lesson. Just that little bit I did yesterday has him sore today. He's not lame, but I can tell in the way he moves that it was too much, so he won't be getting longed again any time soon.

      He was definitely showing an attitude. I am going to work on that with ground work (not longeing) and working on my consistency. I'm bad about letting him get away with stuff.

      Anyway I'm not trying to make excuses. I know I need to work on my nagging and my consistency. I never meant for that longeing yesterday to turn into a training session, but horses being horses of course it did. I feel like I handled it decently without hurting him. In the end he was listening fairly well. I would love to see your ground work videos though. I've missed your blog posts!!

  5. The beauty of the way we (my daughters and I) do ground work - the circles are a very small part of it - James Cooler says it bores them and I want their mind engaged. I want that energy to be used on other things as opposed to going around and around in a boring circle. I realize not everyone agrees and that is OK. It is just one way of doing things and it has worked for us. I will be happy to video tape our groundwork soon. I very rarely get in the saddle without doing a short bit of ground work - just to "check his mind". With that said, Oberon has plenty of "miles" on him and is now eight year old I think and I CAN get on him without any groundwork. But, I feel it is still a good prelude to getting his mind in the game - as well as checking for soundness and flexibility. :) I hope you didn't take my comments as anything other than someone who really enjoys horses and sharing about them. I am also always open for comments ;)

    1. Oh no not at all! I always appreciate your comments. You've told me some about your ground work, but I'm a visual person and I think the only way I'm really going to understand it is when I see the videos hehe. Have you been following my blog during your break? Did you see the one where I set up the arena? Is that back pasture a big enough of an area to do the groundwork you do with Oberon? Also any tips for teaching him to go with me off the circle when I walk? When I start walking he gets confused and either stops or takes off like you saw in the video. Me walking is not good with him. That's why I'm going to start doing the desensitizing again. I hadn't realized how reactive he has gotten to everything now! Hopefully if I work on that every day by the time I see your videos he will be calmed back down enough to try it without being a dork. :)

  6. i LOVE all the gopro videos and video stills!!! hopefully whatever is going on with Chrome is sorted out soon! in the meantime, all that desensitizing work looks like fun :)

  7. I thought his movement looked good. No lameness that I can see, but like others have said, I'm not used to watching him move. He reminds me A LOT of Gracie when I first started working with her on the longe! Right down to the kicking towards me (naughty!) I'm glad he's doing better. Looks like the desensitizing went well. :) LOVE his smile at the end!!

    1. Thanks!! Yes he's very green on the longe. :) His stifles are still sticky from the fifteen minutes I did on this day, so no more longeing for a while. I have to get him exercising on straight lines again!


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