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Extreme Mustang Makeover – Leela Week 2
 By SuperLevi   •   28th Feb 2016   •   1,934 views   •   0 comments
Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

The second week with my Extreme Mustang Makeover mare, Leela was full of ups and downs. Progress always comes with steps forward as well as steps back. Now that she has been accustom to living in a stall and walking to the round pen, I’ve discovering how difficult it is to perform typical Natural Horsemanship on her. When your average horse can be driven into a draw through increased pressure, Leela would drive further away, having no desire to draw in, join up, or even face up. This is a skill that I’m typically proficient at and have good timing with, but she has been proving to be quite a challenge in that department.

Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

Week 2
Outside of the round pen, progress has been made in the saddle. Leela was eventually weaned off having a person stand in the middle with us. With each ride gradually the person in the middle would do less and less. The dressage whip has been a handy tool to keep her moving out without someone standing there with a lunge whip. It’s used as sparingly as possible, only to reinforce my leg as necessary to make my cues as clear as possible for now.

We did discover that she is very unbalanced in the canter and would get nervous and bolt forward when I’d ride her into a canter. So I’ll focus more on getting her better conditioned and strengthened so she won’t feel so unbalanced when I ride her.

Since I was only riding her at the walk and trot for the time being, it was suggested that I do some obstacle work undersaddle. Leela was doing excellent with the obstacles on the ground so there was little reason to doubt her capabilities to do just as well with me guiding her from the saddle. She did not disappoint when I asked her to walk over the tarp, across the plywood, through the cones, over the poles, and jump the barrel jump. Even if we were riding only in a round pen, for a mustang two weeks into training, I was still fairly impressed with her. A round pen is a safe place for me as a rider to introduce things to her without adding too much additional risk to an already potentially dangerous activity of starting and training a green horse. It’s also a place that she has been comfortable with and sets her up for success rather than failure.

The equine dentist came out to work on our mustang makeover horses’ teeth. Before introducing the bridle to a green horse, it’s always a good idea to know what is going on in the mouth and have the sharp edges filed away. Many problems under saddle can be prevented from proper dental work, so our job as trainers is always to do everything we can to keep our horses not only happy and healthy, but to avoid creating a problem that can easily be prevented from a quick vet check.

Extreme-Mustang-MakeoverBefore and after Makeover

Makeover
In addition to having her teeth done, Leela got her own little makeover which has dramatically changed her appearance and impression. I went ahead and clipped her whole body, something she tolerated very well. Recently she was shipped from Colorado to Florida and her winter coat was thick and unsuited to the much warmer Florida climate.

Lameness
This week I noticed that Leela regrettably was starting to go lame. Lameness can be caused by a variation of factors. Her left hind leg one morning was extremely tender and swollen to the point that we thought that she might have a painful hoof abscess. The vet was called out and he promptly took a look at Leela. He discovered that she had a condition called scratches, an infection of the skin caused by bacteria or fungus. With a shot of antibiotics and instructions to clean her scratches daily, her prognosis is extremely good.

Life for Leela has drastically changed even in this second week. She’s had her teeth floated, body clipped, riding on her own, and antibiotic treatment from a vet. I can easily understand how all of this is a lot thrown at a green horse, but surprisingly she’s taking it all in well. It will be interesting to see if she continues this behavior through week three.
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