Actually, contrary to the title, there is NOT going to be a bullet list of reasons Farley wasn't going to be able to canter. Mostly because:
a. I relented at the end of the ride and she got to canter
b. I WILL break my habit of turning everything into a neat bulleted list of 10 categories.
So. Went for a ride the other day. Tess, Farley and me riding along on an afternoon that was heat training just standing in it.
When did Farley stop traveling forward? In a straight line?
And by forward I don't mean that she is not forward in speed, attitude but rather the "forward" as the nebulous "in front of the leg" and thus can remain connected from back to front.
A horse that is not connected can do all sorts of naughty, unexpected things. So yes, it's a bit disconcerting that Farley has decided to be both energetic and fast, yet refuse to be in front of my leg and "forward".
The energy bleeds out in all directions. There were a couple of unexpected "downward transitions". There were sideways spooks that while didn't unseat me let me know exactly how little her walnut sized brain was focused on the task at hand.
And the fact that she moves differently on different diagnols and this is even more apparent when she's not travelling correctly ANNOYS THE HECK OUT OF ME.
As an OCD person I like things to be even and equal. You know when you smash your finger against something and you have the impulse to smash your other finger so they can be equal? Yeah.....exactly like that. So....let's review things Farley was doing that drive me nuts
1. not traveling straight
2. Inverting when asking for a half halt
3. Ignoring my leg
4. Behind my leg
5. Not traveling evenly
NO WAY was she going to get to canter with this behavior.
Yes, I know that she wasn't bucking, rearing, stopping, backing, or doing all sorts of "dangerous" behaviors. So what's the big deal? So....in my world letting a broke horse engage in the above behaviors is just as bad as a rearing or a bucking problem. It's just more insidious. The above problems not addressed are why you progress to bucking, rearing, stopping, and falls. The above problems not addressed can lead to unevenness, lameness, being off, funky muscle development, and poor position in the saddle. The above problems not addressed leads to a horse that isn't fun to ride, and a sense that you aren't in control, even though you can't "put your finger on it" - because technically they are going to speed and gait you are asking.
Oh, and by the way...
...while "chase the white dog" is a great game to play normally......"catch and chomp the white dog" is NOT, and that's the feeling that was emanating from Farley that the game was going to rapidly turn into.
I thought all sorts of nasty thoughts at Farley
1. This is why I can't do a ride and tie practice with you right now - I can't be certain you will behave yourself.
2. This is why you are going to end up with an ugly muscle underneck
3. Half halts and leg doesn't mean throw a hissy fit.
4. Horses that refuse to go forward at the beginning of the ride, and have to be thumped do NOT get to canter home.
5. I swear I'm going to start carrying a crop on our trail rides.
6. If you eat my dog I will sell you to Canada
EEk! Couldn't help myself and a bulleted list snuck its way in. Actually more than one.......
I should probably check myself into "bulleted list overuser anonymous".
Any hoo...the three of us managed to finish the ride intact, even though Tess needed serious cooling at the end.
Last afternoon ride for Tess unless I clip her, and considering that she has degenerated into barking and spinning circles as I mount up at the start of the ride in excitement, she is NOT going to be a happy dog about this policy change for the rest of the summer. She may LOVE food and our runs, but she LIVES for our horse rides.
Why not clip her? I'm worried about the sun. She has very pink skin, very white hair and spends a substantial amount in the sun. It's fairly common to see skin cancer on dog's stomachs who lay on their backs and sunbathe, especially if they have a lighter coat color and pink skin. The skin is more sparse on the stomach which is why it's common to see the cancer there. Shaving Tess would expose her body to a similar risk. I thought about giving her a modified "trace" clip and shave everything that wasn't on the top of her body......but the issue is that she tears through, under, and over the brush on the trail and the combination of her thick, loose-ish skin that is a breed characteristic, and the hair is protective. This is less concerning than the sun issue but still needs thinking about. Tess already has a short-ish coat that isn't excessive - and like clipping horses I tend to be conservative about clipping a "working" dog that has a "normal" coat. In most cases I feel that hair is protective and there has to be a demonstrated need to cut it off my dogs or horses. If it was the golden retriever? I would clip. They've been bred for excessively long coats and his job is to longe around the house and yard, and the coat would grow back in before hunting season this fall/winter. The German Shepherd whose job it is to stay and home and be a companion? She has conservative coat, but if she got hot I would shave it since she doesn't really have a job that requires the hair for protection. The Brittany? Not sure clipping is the greatest idea. The Endurance Arab? The nominal cooling effect I might get from clipping IMO isnt worth the loss of protection or functional effects of the various types and areas of hair that are cut off.
Dogs are so inefficient at cooling in hot weather I'm not sure I could take enough hair off of her to let her go on our afternoon rides anyways, unless we were riding by the river.