Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Al and Mike at Uldrikson Clinic, Part Two

Once Mike had Big Al settled and paying attention, we walked down to the arena where the Uldrikson Horsemanship Clinic was being held. Mike brought him up close to a corral panel for mounting, but instead of getting on right away, just lets him hang there for awhile.

He's a different horse than he was an hour ago. He's relaxed and feels safe. So let's get that bridle on.

Mike starts doing all the ground work stuff again, but from the saddle. He's bringing Big Al's head around to encourage lateral flexion and suppleness and to help build in a fast one-rein stop. Big Al is probably just letting his big old tongue hang out while yawning with relaxation , but it sure looks like he's licking Mike's boot!

Mike reaches over to pet Big Al on the forehead. Good boy...

You can't see it in these pictures very well, but several other horses and riders are working on horsemanship exercises with Buddy. Mike keeps Big Al busy doing things so he doesn't have time to be bothered by the activity around them or to think about taking over.

Fancy stuff...

... like backing in a figure 8. (Thanks also to Buddy for teaching this horse a whole lot during the last three weeks!)

Lookin' good.

He's just scratching his leg here but his lines are so beautiful, I have to share the picture.

Standing over by the cow pen.

We had a couple of bad moments earlier but they turned out OK. When the cows were first brought up to the holding pen, Big Al had a huge emotional reaction, breaking into a full-body sweat and trembling in every muscle. Mike had me walk him back and forth along the fence, disengaging hindquarters at each turn, then stopping to pet, till he got over his worries.

Later on, a long train went past the length of the arena, fast, rumbling loudly and blowing its horn. Mike saw it early and got Big Al's head turned around so that, when the horse felt he had to go, he just spun around and around in a tight circle like a dust devil.

(Continued in Part Three... )


Anne said...

He's beautiful! What breed is he...

Nancy said...

I'm sorry, Anne... I just saw your question. We don't know what breed he is. The fellow I bought him from got him at a livestock auction. He's probably a thoroughbred or part thoroughbred, but with good thick bone in his legs and a fairly laid back attitude. He's 16.2h.