Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

Peruvian mares mastering rough terrain very well

This afternoon Diadema and Topacio earned themselves a gold medal in walking rough terrain. Since we started to expose them to the real nature far away from the show arena they were used to they’ve learned a lot. Today we took them on a short ride but with a number of interesting obstacles.

First we had to cross the river with many round rocks of different sizes. They had to step on and between the rocks. Feel them and find a good step under the water. They both mastered this very well. The river crossing went as if they were doing this since they were born. On the hand they climbed up a steep slope filled with rocks with a lot of power from their hindquarters. It shows that they are both building up strong muscles.

Btw this particular river crossing is the very same spot where Topacio was confused and didn’t want to make a single step anymore only two weeks ago.

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Then followed a trail that led to a dry creek with many, many round rocks. Going down to the creek had its challenges. They had to use their “brakes”, figure out where to put their hoofs and do sharp turns. Downwards and upwards they did it with a lot of new earned confidence. We didn’t want to allow them to push the limits too far just yet and had to slow them down a few times.

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Here is our group resting. To the right is Carlos with his horse Baby. Our Peruvian mares are starting to walk faster through rivers and over rocks than his horse. At least they have the will to do it although we don’t feel comfortable letting them - not just yet.

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Topacio is looking quite nice with her long hair. We modified our saddles and can now use a breast collar which helps a lot in this kind of terrain. The saddle doesn’t slide back and forth so much. It is more secure and should avoid scratches to the horse’s skin as well. As you can see we started to carry a machete as well.

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Diadema is sweating far more than Topacio. She starts to sweat as soon as she leaves the corral. All her issues with being nervous and unwilling have disappeared. Yesterday we had a bunch of kids (about 8 or 9) visit the corral and she let herself touch all over her body without being afraid or nervous. So it seems that she has learned by now that humans are not dangerous. She is the younger mare and has been the last two years without much human contact out in the pasture. That’s probably why she had so many issues initially.

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After our return we gave them both a nice cold bath and then they were happily munching their food ration for the day followed by some hay.

Interesting to note is as well what Carlos told us the other day. They do lay down at night to sleep. I read that horses usually sleep standing but need to lay down for at least 15 minutes once a week to get some REM sleep. When with a herd some take their time of REM sleep while others watch. Horses who are on their own don’t do it because they are too afraid of predators and that might change their behavior. My conclusion at the moment is that they both feel secure enough in the corral and with humans around - plus they are a little herd of two - to allow themselves their REM sleep. I think that’s a very good thing.

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We are currently riding them with a bit. I’d like to change that and have ordered two bitless bridles from Canada. With a bit in the mouth it is difficult to drink water from a creek or feed along the way. We will be out on trails all the time and once we finally take them to the farm there is plenty of good food available. They will work hard and should be able to feed and drink whenever they feel a need for it.