Spike's Diary

    Groundwork Training: Session 4

    Spike and I had our fourth groundwork session this weekend and I was so happy with how he went. In my last post I mentioned that I had started working Spike again and things had been a little up and down. In the few years I’ve owned to him I’ve come to expect that but I have to say this session I was pleasantly surprised. It was almost as if I had my old Spike back (weehee!).

    When we got to the farm Spike was lying down in his paddock and my mind immediately rushed to conclusions, as tends to happen when you see horses lying down… especially when they’ve colicked before. I was super worried because the last time he colicked he was on pain killers for three days and had to be tubed. This time though it turned out that I’d just interrupted his mid morning nap. He stayed down for a while and let me sit with him and pat him (which I love), and then when Dj rattled the treats packet he was up in a flash (or at least as quickly as he can shift himself lol).

    After giving him the treats I put on his halter and lead rope and lead him out of the paddock. The last few times he has been super hesitant to walk up the laneway but this time he only stopped to look around once, and with a little reassuring he was quickly moving again. A massive improvement on last time when he stopped a handful of times and required a huge amount of coaxing to get moving.

    When we got up to the roundyard I took his rug off and let him chill in the roundyard while I got myself ready. I follow Warwick Schillers methods, or at least I did before I fell pregnant and stopped working Spike, so that is of course what I have gone back to. I don’t think I need to give you the whole spiel about who he is, most people would know about him and his no-nonsense, straight to the point training approach.

    Spike and I started as we always do with hooking on, this would be his fourth hooking on session back. He was so much better this time than previous sessions and it was reassuring to see the work paying off and just how much he had remembered from 12 months ago. By the end of the session we had a lovely forward and relaxed trot, with some beautiful turns. His inside ear was locked on and he was being very responsive to aids.

    He is a bit fat at the moment (sorry mate!) and so after about 20-30mins he was starting to work up a bit of a sweat and so I decided to stop there and move on to desensitizing. I’ve introduced him to a tonne of different objects and noises previously and so he wasn’t at all phased by anything I did when I was working through desensitizing. I would at some stage like to try doing similar sorts of exercises in different places around our barn, in the jumps area or the dressage arena, just to get him used to being exposed to things in different environments.

    Once we were finished the desensitization I moved on to lateral flexion. He was fairly good with this, although a little resistant so there is some more work to do there as well.

    Overall I am SO happy with how he went and, as good sessions do, I now feel more motivated to continue to working toward getting back in the saddle.