(In my last post, I talked about the need for all of us to get fit and lose some unwanted pounds.) In our quest, we started “Operation Horsey Boot Camp.” The plan was to get EVERYONE moving at the speed of at least a trot. If they moved faster, that was fine.
To start them out, I make a clicking-kissing-loudly sound that was new to them as their cue. At first they all ignored me. I expected this since they had no idea what I was asking of them. Then I started to move my arms in a rhythmic motion to put pressure on them to move. Image, Ember and Lady Gray all started to move away from me. But Abi stood her ground, just giving me a look that clearly said she was not amused. I made my movements bigger and continued with my verbal clicking-kissing sound. When she still would not move off, I raised a flag to increase the pressure of my ‘ask’. She finally turned and moved off in the direction I had pointed her in.
By this time, Image was not sure about all of this and stood there, just watching me. I thought it was interesting that once Abi was on board with my plan, SHE went over to Image and moved him in the direction I wanted them all to go in. I followed behind on foot as they trotted out to the pasture. I wanted them to keep up this pace. I was certainly not going to be able to keep up with them, so Terry was on the ATV gently encouraging them to keep moving. He was using a clicking sound and had a flag as well to encourage them to keep moving. It was not long before Lady Gray picked up her pace – she was having a ball. Ember tried to keep up with her, but her shorter legs just could not compete with the legs of a thoroughbred who was born to race. Abi and Image tried their best to keep up. By this time, they were all looping the big pasture in the back of our property. I blocked the entrance (exit for them) using rhythmic moves with my arms and flags to make sure they knew to stay in that pasture.
Lady Gray saw my intent and looped around the pasture again. She LOVES to run, so this was a treat for her. She was also a great encouragement and motivator for the others to get moving as well. When they had gone probably about a mile, I stepped aside from the opening and crouched down with flags on the ground, releasing the pressure. Lady Gray was the first to come through the gate, with the others close behind her. They all headed back to the barn. I slowly made my way back there as well. I was sure to approach each one of them and thank them for moving. I wanted to also make sure each of them was not stressed out by the exercise.
There was a lot of heavy breathing as well as a lot of ‘licking and chewing’. It was a good start on our quest to getting fit. (I don’t have many photos of our Operation Horsey Bootcamp since we are ALL MOVING and I need to concentrate on my own cues and movement.)
I have been careful to only use that particular clicking-kissing sound to cue them for this exercise. It is interesting that each time I make that sound, all four heads pop up and all attention is on me – waiting for the direction I want them to go in. As winter set in and the daylight hours became shorter, it became harder to keep this up. But as time and daylight allowed, we did our best to just keep moving…