Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Friday, January 31, 2014

Grace's Day of Review

Today I gave Grace a review day, to practice things she has learned and is good at.  This builds confidence and lets her think about the information without adding new material to process.  Plus everything at the facility is buried in six inches of snow and it's kind of wet underneath, so we're a little limited on athletic endeavors due to sloppy footing. 

Looking sharp in a leather halter

She seems very comfortable with the saddle, stirrups, and working on the lunge line.  I love how she's beginning to get more balanced and is using her haunches much better, just from a bit of practice working in circles.

Routine dictates that we inspect the mounting block before working from it.

Practice standing and mounting from the right.  Grace stands like a champ.

Practice standing and mounting from the left, also waiting like a solid citizen.

the views from up top!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cookie Elimination, Grooming Grace, Superbowl Prep

For a few days now Grace has been telling me that the new apple flavored treats I've been using are somewhat less than satisfactory.  She'll sometimes take them, but often looks at me with an expression of endless patience and then keeps her lips shut tight when I offer them.  I had no idea just how offensive they really were until I gave a few to Rain, our cookie-a-holic here around the stable.  She's been at Bit of Honey for a few years and understands that I often don't know things unless she tells me.  This is what SHE thought of them.

"These are TERRIBLE"
Point taken, Rain.  I get it that those are gross, and we will be switching back to our regular horse candy immediately.  Grace is grateful that you explained it in terms clear enough for a slow-thinking human. 

In other news, I was able to borrow a gorgeous jumping saddle from Jen with The Happy Horse Tack Shop in Fort Collins.  It was specifically made for a horse built like Grace, and I tried it on her this evening and it looks like it will work.  She was pretty wound up when I took her out to groom and do some tack fitting.  She was also pretty nervous about one of my clients who was here as well.  Looks like we'll be recruiting all of our friends and family to come meet Grace and give her goodies so she can overcome her nerves regarding meeting new people.    She also seems to be nervous about being tied.  If she's in her "safe place", her paddock, she is ok with the rope being draped over the post.  If she is out of the pen and I tie her, she stiffens and her head goes up.  She has pulled back a couple times, but I use a tying apparatus that lets the rope slowly slide through which prevents her from truly panicking when hitting something solid.  I have a setup to address just this type of issue, so we adjourned to the round pen.  She wouldn't stand still while tied, so I had her trot around in the pen, and when she stopped we would return to the hitching post I have set up in the round pen.  Eventually she realized she had two options.  She could trot, or she could stand and be groomed and eat goodies.  Being the logical and sensible mare that she is, she chose to stand quietly.   We used all the grooming tools and then tried on the saddle.  We did a little more walking and trotting while wearing the saddle, then did some mounting block practice.  By then the sun was going down and we were running out of daylight so I led her back to the hitch rail by the tack room, and we groomed yet again.  This time she was quieter.  My neon yellow grooming bucket concerns her some, too.  Horses see black, white, and shades of green and yellow (so they can identify plants when grazing).  Sometimes when a rattling grooming bucket full of tools is a really bright color yellow it concerns the horses.  Once Grace figures it out she'll be fine, just something to notice.  

Fergie is sporting the latest in equine fashion - a Broncos stencil on her haunches that expresses her support for the white horse team! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Snow Day

Grace has been working hard mentally, learning pretty much something dramatically new and different every day since she got here.  Because she is such a quiet temperament she tolerates the new things really well, but I want to make sure she has a chance to really absorb the information as well as have fun with me and enjoy a little recreation.

So I took her out in the snow, and tied her to the hitch rail to be groomed a bit.  Because of the snow  and inclement weather she was covered in icicles which I worked to get off using a metal shedding blade.  This tool makes a funny noise and grabs her hair when I drag it over her coat and snag ice, so she thought that was pretty scary.  To minimize her concern, we went back into her paddock (her "safe place"), and used it there until she was ok with it and standing calmly.  Then we went back to the hitch rail and groomed again there until she was standing calmly.  After that we went to the arena to work on ground manners, and she is doing fabulously leading at the walk and trot from both the left and the right.  We did a little mounting block work, but she was feeling frisky because it was so cold - a balmy 16 degrees!  Even though she behaved herself, I decided that she needed some free time to get her wiggles out.  I unclipped my lead rope, and walked away from her.  She followed me.  I stopped, she stopped.  I jogged, she jogged.  I walked, she walked.
Grace following me around

She did this for quite a while, staying right by my side, until I ran away from her, fast, and she realized she was free.  She took off!  MUCH needed play time.  Some prancing and bucking and playing, and when she was done, she came right back to me.  We resumed our follow-the-leader sans lead rope.  We went back to the mounting block and practiced lunging with a reattached lead line, with me standing on the block, then practiced having Grace stand quietly for me to lean on her and pat from both sides.  She did great, much more focused for having had a few minutes of playing.

Frolicking in the snow in the evening

Once I got cold we went back to the hitch rail and groomed again, revisiting the metal shedding blade and it was much more boring this time.  I put her back in her paddock and began feeding everyone dinner. 

Grace is starting to talk to me now, I get a little nicker whenever she sees me appear around the corner of the barn or I go in and out of her stall, even if it's not feeding time.  While I'm sure she still thinks I'm the weirdest human she's ever met, she at least seems to like me. 

Highboy was terribly jealous that I was playing with Grace in the arena doing the things that HE already knows how to do!

Taking a selfie with the 4 second lag on my phone.  Highboy moved in for the smooch!
Highboy's new winter blanket - this one is size 81".  He was size 76" when he arrived back in July.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grace's First Ride

No photos today since I was heeding Grace's counsel to be the trainer and not the documentarian.  We groomed at the hitch rail, got her tacked up in a bareback pad and her bridle, then headed to the round pen.  I don't have a saddle for her yet, so we just made do with what we have.  Once in the round pen she did a bit of walking and trotting, she totally understands the words walk, trot, whoa, reverse.  I had my wide mounting block in the round pen with us, so that merited an examination.  After she was warmed up I then got on the mounting block and continued to lunge her from there.  I like to do this so the horse gets used to seeing me up high while they are moving.

Then I asked Grace to come into the center of the round pen with me on the block, and she sidled right up to me.  Miles my border collie is a huge help with starting the horses under saddle.  When I'm doing the mounting block training he stands nearby and if I need help he'll go stand by the horse's head to keep them still.  I didn't need him for that today, Grace is very steady, so Miles just laid down a little distance from us to watch and await the call for border collie assistance.  From the mounting block I leaned over Grace's back and patted and rubbed her on both her left and right sides.  She had plenty of time to look at me out of each eyeball, and I leaned over from the left, then turned her around and did the same from the right.  Then we turned around again, and I put one leg over her back while standing on the mounting block.  I'm pretty flexible, so this isn't a big deal for me, but to see a boot randomly appear on the side opposite where I'm standing is always a bit disconcerting to the horse. 

When Grace was bored with me hanging on her and draping body parts onto the bareback pad I put my leg over, then hopped up.  Without stirrups it was a little bit of a scramble.  She scooted forwards a few steps, then hopped in a small circle, which served to bounce me into place on her back.  I had a hold of my reins and I just kept talking to her, she stopped right away and we just stood there for a few minutes while she collected her thoughts.  When she had relaxed, I asked her to walk forward using my voice commands.  She took a tiny step with her right front foot, so I praised her and told her how good she was.  I asked again for her to go forwards, and she took another tiny step with her left front foot.  Again, praise and pats.  When Miles saw that she didn't really "get it", he calmly got up and stood in front of us, looking at Grace and then walking forwards.  She put her head down and followed him.  Once I had her walking forwards Miles went back to lying down in the round pen by the mounting block.  Grace totally remembered everything we had done yesterday with the ground driving, so her steering was excellent.  Over the course of the ride we walked figure eights, did small and large circles both directions, reversed by walking through the middle of the round pen, and even started basic pivots.  We practiced some starts and stops, only needing a little help from Miles to clarify, and then I dismounted on her right side.  She heaved a huge sigh and I gave her a whole handful of treats.  SUCH a brave and smart girl! 

She was a little sweaty, but only around her ears.  I affectionately call this "brain sweat", since it seems to happen whenever a horse has had a really mentally challenging session.  One of the many perks of a draft horse brain is that they usually don't need to physically work hard to understand something.  If it's presented logically and in a calm manner a draft horse will usually just figure out what you want and go along with it.  Grace is wonderful this way, tolerating all the weird things this human has done to her in under a week, and even seems to enjoy the schooling since she comes to me when I call her from the gate. 

After we were done I was repairing some fencing with my sweet husband in the arena and I got a return call from Jen with The Happy Horse Tack Shop in Fort Collins.  I had called her earlier this morning asking about what her saddle inventory looks like for a horse like Grace, and left details on sizing in my message. We are SO fortunate to have Jen and Happy Horse Tack in our little horse community, she had a saddle that we suspect will work really well, and she'll be able to bring it by on Wednesday morning!  She was very interested in supporting the Equine Comeback Challenge, and thinks this is a great program to showcase how lovely horses from rescues can be.  If it fits and Grace likes it, I'll be borrowing this jumping saddle to use through horse expo in March.  I hope it works well, so poor tolerant Gracie won't have to put up with me scrambling onto her back every time to mount.  Exciting!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grace Ground Driving & Tack Fitting

I got lucky today, it was warm in the morning with no wind!  I took Grace out and tied her at the hitch rail next to Major while he ate breakfast so she can practice being tied somewhere other than in her paddock.  Major set a terrible example, when he was done his mash he was pawing and then tried to roll!  Grace attempted to untie herself a couple times, but then realized I would keep coming back with different equipment to try on her and she decided to just stand and wait for me to finish whatever I was up to.  I put Major away and tried a few borrowed saddles on Grace, but they didn't fit.  So on to the local tack stores!

Here is a diagram that I use when I take a horse's measurements for a saddle.  It's a little bit involved, but I thought the diagram might be interesting to look at.  This is my own system which I've developed over years of fitting tack to horses, and paying really close attention to what the horses think of different kinds of fit.  The measurements and lines give me the information I need to find a saddle that will likely fit the horse, then when I try it on the horse can give me her opinion.

This first photo is Grace's diagram.  An easy thing to note is how wide the red arch is.  This is just one of many measurements I assess, the width of her back immediately behind her shoulders. 
By contrast, this is the diagram for a Thoroughbred/Clydesdale mare who lives here.  Notice how narrow her red arch is by comparison!
We were done grooming and I determined that those two western saddles weren't going to fit.  I'd gotten Grace's measurements in preparation for saddle shopping.  I'm hopeful that I can find a saddle which fits her and she likes, then when she goes to her new home in March from the Horse Expo I can sell the saddle and send it with her.  That way I know she'll have equipment that is suitable for her, fits her and is comfortable, and it also spares her new family the frustration of saddle fitting.  I also always send the bit the horse likes with them when they go to a new home, too.

Next I put the pad and surcingle on her, got my whip and long lines, and we went to the round pen to begin ground driving.  I always do this with horses I put under saddle so that I have some kind of brakes and steering before I get on the horse.  Grace caught on INCREDIBLY quickly, taking her cues from both my body language and my voice commands.  Garmin the pony stayed at the fence line today to encourage her, and Miles ran his cheerleading laps as usual. Grace and I worked on walking, trotting, turning, stopping, and backing. She understands what I want and does it all like an old pro, this is the benefit of gradually building on information she learns incrementally. 
Garmin observing

Miles cheerleading
If you look closely at the photos, you can see that I have my long lines acting as reins, attached to either side of her halter and then threaded through the rings on my surcingle.  This mimics the way reins will work when I am holding them while riding her so she can get used to the reins and steering without having to also adapt to my weight at the same time.  I'm standing in the middle of the round pen holding both reins, the whip, and my camera.  I was feeling like I needed a couple more arms and hands.

After I was sure she understood braking and steering we went to the big arena to try ground driving there. 

No sweat.  We drove all around the arena, made circles in both directions, and drove over the ground poles and the tires from all directions.  The only concern she had was when I got a little too involved in capturing the "perfect shot" on my camera and I wasn't giving her enough guidance.  She merely stopped, put her head up in the air and looked at me over her shoulder out of her right eye, clearly saying, "Look, Kim, your first responsibility is to be my trainer, and as such you should be guiding me with instructions.  Your role as paparazzi comes second."  So I put the camera away and we continued on, not a hesitation on her part once I was doing my job. 

After we were done working I left Grace tied at the hitchrail while I hunted through my equipment in the tack room and found my oversized Stubben bridle.  The regular horse size has too small a browband, her face is truly percheron sized!  I put an english hackamore on the headstall and then adjusted it to Grace's face.  She looks quite fancy.  I like to start horses with this kind of equipment because it is similar to the halter in how it feels to her, and it is basically just a glorified noseband with reins on it.  She can learn everything I need to teach her (for the expo) without metal in her mouth, then when I add the bit later it will be the only new thing for her to get used to. 
"I feel pretty, oh so pretty......"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grace's Day Off

With the few inches of snow we got last night and the temperature not getting much above 20 degrees today, Grace got the day off.  It was definitely needed, she was starting to get that, "do I ever get a BREAK?"  look on her face.  I spent some time in search of a saddle for her.  She is BY FAR the widest horse I've ever worked with, and that's saying something.  She's wider than Pete, who was a wither-less quarter horse whose barrel was truly shaped like a barrel.  She's wider than Bear, who was a heavily built 16 hand paint and also had no withers.  She's wider than Gunther, the Norweigan Fjord whose personal mission is to pack winter weight on in such a way that he becomes wider than he is tall.

My go-to saddle for wide horses is even too narrow for her, as you can see in the photos from yesterday's work.  The front sits higher than the back of the saddle because the tree is too narrow in front.  It wasn't a big deal for a relatively loose girth and ground work - it wasn't going to press into her and cause pain or discomfort while she walked and trotted around riderless.  However I do need something different for her before we can begin her actual mounted work. 

I borrowed a couple western saddles that might be possibilities, and there is always my bareback pad.  Not fancy, but would be adequate for getting her used to carrying a human around.  We'll do some wardrobe changes in the next couple days and see what suits her.  If I get really stuck I can head to the local tack store, Happy Horse Tack, and see if they have something appropriate, or down to Loveland to the Latigo Lariat to assess the saddles they have in stock.

In the meantime, Grace is enjoying her day of rest, lounging in the snow which incidentally cleaned her up quite a bit.  Maybe it's on purpose in an attempt to prove my efforts needless with the spray cleaner?  She's also munching on the bottomless small mesh hay net full of food, and wondering if the border collies EVER stop.  (They don't.)

Throwback Thursday - Tonka and Penny

Throwback Thursday!  This photo is the only one I have of myself with Tonka, my first love. We met when I was about 6 years old, I was probably 8 or 9 in this photo. He belonged to my piano teacher, Mrs. Jones, in Stow, MA. She had another horse, a pony named Penny (who was also white). I loved them and I loved riding, and though they were the demise of my piano career they were the the horses who raised me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Grace's First Saddling & More Obstacles

Today was really beautiful weather, I simply HAD to take advantage of it even though I'm still fighting being sick.  First thing this morning the farrier came by to trim a few horses, and I introduced Grace to him.  She didn't need her feet trimmed this visit, but I like the horses to meet all the people who come by so they learn all kinds of humans are friendly and trustworthy.  I've been picking up her feet several times each day, and so it wasn't a big deal when the farrier did the same.  After the farrier was finished with the horses who needed him and had met Grace, he headed out to his next appointment.

I have noticed that Grace is more hesitant to approach people who are wearing gloves, so everyone who comes over has to put on gloves of some type and give her cookies.  Lest people be concerned, these are very small pelleted horse treats that won't significantly add to her calorie load.  I have put her on Platinum Performance vitamins with a handful of soaked beet pulp, since Platinum has everything a horse in training needs nutrition-wise and will make up the difference in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, lysine, and other limiting agents for even very high quality cut and dried hay.  She of course has unlimited timothy hay and water. 

Grace's workout today included an introduction to the spray bottle.  It was the first thing I've introduced to her that she thought was really scary.  Although she likely had been around spray bottles before, the one I was using was a dark color with a white label (contrast is alarming to horses), makes a funny noise (suspicious noises can be alarming), and smells bizarre since it contains a waterless cleaner that I use on the white horses when it's too cold to bathe them (scary smells).  The first squirts nearly sent her leaping over the fence!  I apologized and explained I'm not TRYING to scare the daylights out of her, but it's an unfortunate consequence of being a white horse that she needs to be scrubbed with smelly things.  Sometimes people chuckle at me when I give a horse the explanation, but I think the horses understand far more than we give them credit for.  Grace still wasn't happy about the spray bottle or the funky smell of the cleaner (I like it, smells like orange creamsicles), but she let me saturate a brush near her as long as I stood between her and the spray.  Then I would brush her with the moistened tool after giving her a cookie so she associates the spray and smell with treats. 

I get horses used to this kind of thing carefully, my first step is to let them hear and smell the spray while I stand between the horse and the bottle.  This position has a couple redeeming points.  First, if the horse panics and leaps away from the bottle, the horse is also leaping away from me so I won't get squashed.  Secondly, because I'm closer to the monster the horse can see that the scary thing would eat me first so she's more likely to be safe.  Thirdly the horse will begin to see that I will always protect her and be a buffer between her and something scary, which builds a lot of trust. 

After we were done messing with the spray bottle Grace was still stained, so forgive our odd colored photos.  Her mental health was more important than white hair.  I put the pad, saddle, and girth on her and we headed back to the round pen.

We did some more walking and trotting, changing directions often so she won't get sore from circling the same way all the time.  She wasn't bothered at all by the stirrups swinging around and bumping her sides after the first lap or two.  She is such a reasonable mare, as soon as she decides something is ok she doesn't stress about it anymore. 

We also do a lot of work with ground poles, which keeps her thinking about her feet and focused on what she is doing.  I never just run a horse around in the round pen, there is always a purpose in getting them to think and consider.  She's very good with the poles, she almost never hits them and is very coordinated in her hoof placement.  This is one of the perks of working with an older horse.  The youngsters take quite a bit of time figuring out that they have FOUR feet to keep track of, and pole work helps them with this but is quite challenging to young horses learning how to be coordinated.  An older horse like Grace has no trouble with this because she is mature and knows how her body works.

After the round pen we went to the big arena again, and just lunged at the walk to cool her out.  This is a big step for a horse because when we are in the middle of a large space there is no fenceline for her to use visually as a steering/balancing aid.  It didn't matter.  She totally gets the idea of lunging now and walked around like an old pro. The first time she walked toward a large pile of scattered poles she went right up to them and stopped.  She then turned her head and looked at me to ask what she was supposed to do?  I told her she could pick her way through them or go around, her choice.  After a moment to consider her options, she decided to go through, carefully placing each hoof between poles, and stepping entirely over some of the larger groups.  Smart mare.

We also went through the tires a bunch, there was no hesitation today.  She followed me over them the first time, and then was happy to go through them herself on the lungeline.  Once Grace understands something is safe and how to do it, she never worries about it again.

The last challenge for the day was a basketball.  My dogs LOVE fetch, and they have their own partially deflated basketball from Goodwill that they carry around with them.  When the ball is placed near the horses, some of the geldings will pick it up and throw it for the border collies.  It's standard protocol here at Bit of Honey for horses to get used to all kinds of things flying through the air...  sticks, tennis balls, frisbees, basketballs....  and most of them are retrieved and then dropped under the horses.  Grace wasn't too sure about this scenario, and she made some funny faces at both the basketball and Belle the border collie.  It wasn't overly alarming, though, and Grace and I were able to untack without too much concern.  I then put her back in her paddock, and boy is that sweetheart looking tired.  Her brain has been on overdrive since she got here, so it's probably just as well that the weather will be miserable tomorrow and she can have a little time to think and process all that has happened in the past few days!

Why won't the new horse play fetch with me?

the border collie stare

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grace By the Numbers

By the numbers...

2 - number of days at Bit of Honey Training LLC
Grace arrived here on Sunday and today is Tues.

45 - the number of days I have to train Grace before presenting, competing, and selling her at Rocky Mountain Horse Expo

4 - Number of training sessions Grace has participated in
Grace and I have been spending time together in the early morning and late afternoon, in that brief time of day that the wind slows to less than 20mph. 

15.1 hands - Grace's height at her withers, measured in hands (1 hand = 4")

76" - Grace's blanket size

About 20 - Grace's age.  I received an email from one of her previous owners, and using the information they gave me on her history, after reviewing her paperwork, after looking at her teeth, and after having the vet look at her teeth with her sedated for a better view, Grace is definitely around 20 years old.  This is unusually old for a horse to begin under saddle training.  It makes her name all the more appropriate, seeing as she'll need some grace to accomplish all that she'll be asked to learn.  We'll of course just go at her pace, and encourage her in what she is able to do. 

Does this saddle pad make my butt look big?
So far Grace is proving to be a living example of several old lady sayings.  She is Grace Under Pressure.  Her temperament is proving to be Amazing Grace.  If and when we find her a forever home it will be her Saving Grace.

Today we repeated the grooming we did yesterday, with Grace feeling slightly less timid about the grooming tools.  I made sure to groom thoroughly under her belly and just behind her front legs, since she has been most sensitive there and I want her used to the sensation so when the girth is fastened it won't bother her.  After getting her cleaned up I let her have some time to sniff and inspect the saddle pad, surcingle, and girth.  She wasn't worried, just curious.  She stood quietly while I placed the equipment on her and fastened buckles.  I then left her tied for a little bit while I went to the tack room to retrieve my lunge line and whip.  She stood like a rock.

I went back to untie her, and she wasn't sure if it was possible to move with this stuff strapped around her middle!  With a little coaxing she carefully followed me out to the round pen.  The geldings all grouped around again for moral support.  Today she was more confident and actually made some faces at the boys telling them she didn't need them after all!  We reviewed walk, trot, and whoa voice commands, and she had a great memory for the transitions between walk and trot.  Cantering is a little hard for her, circles are definitely more challenging for a horse than going in a straight line.  We got a couple strides of canter, and all of this while wearing the pad and surcingle.  She didn't worry about the equipment at all once she realized she could move normally while wearing it.

After the round pen Grace followed me into the big arena.  We practiced with me leading from her right and from her left side.   She was unsure about me being on her right, but got used to it fairly quickly.  She undoubtedly got the draft horse brain when she was born.  She is not spooky, not jumpy, not reactive at all.  If something concerns her, she takes a few moments to look at it, think about the situation, and plan how best to deal with it.  For example, we walked towards my tires that I keep in the arena for an obstacle.  She made some funny faces at them, trying to look at them out of all parts of her eyes.  A horse's vision is very different from a human's in that they always have upside-down bifocals on.  A horse sees up close out of the top of the eye, and far away out of the bottom of the eye.  That's why when something scary lurks on the horizon a horse will lift its head WAY up to see it out of the bottom half of the eyeball.  If something scary is up close she will tilt her head to look at it out of the top of the eyeball.  Grace is very thoughtful and draft-like in her assessment of scary things.  She looked at the tire, then stood quietly waiting to see if it was going to do anything.  The tire just stayed put of course, and I led Grace around the tires and the mounting block in a large circle.  As she relaxed I made the circle smaller.  When the circle got small enough she touched the mounting block with her nose and then tasted it.  Finding it not very delicious she continued walking around with me.  Then I started to cut my circle in half, walking between the tires.  Grace followed me.  After doing that a couple times I began walking OVER the tires.  She followed me after a brief pause to consider how she wanted to position her feet as she went over.  With enough time to consider the situation and reason through the challenge she is truly Grace Under Pressure.  This is the essence of the draft horse brain, they think things through slowly, but once they understand they don't worry about it again. 

When we were done in the arena we went back to her paddock to await the vet.  Dr. Allen Landes with Equine Medical Services is the primary veterinarian for Bit of Honey Training and is one of our most valuable resources with rehabilitating and training horses.

Dr. Landes, Grace, and Kim
He gave her a Rabies vaccination since we definitely have Rabies in the Fort Collins area and we want her protected.  Then I had him look at a cloudy white spot on her left eye.  She doesn't seem to have any vision problems, and on closer inspection it appeared to be a very old injury that had healed leaving only the small white spot as a scar.  
Investigating her L eye
Then we began her dental work.  By this time I had reviewed my information and discovered her somewhat advanced age, and I wanted Dr. Landes to give me his thoughts on her age by her teeth as well.  After a thorough oral exam and inspecting both incisors and molars he agreed that she must be around 20 years old.  

Dr. Landes did some light filing of the sharp points on her teeth using hand files (called floats), and balanced her mouth by filing her incisors.  He checked her TMJ (jaw joint) and it was fine, and measured how her incisors meet with her head in an upright position and also reaching down.  This careful assessment of dentition is one of the reasons we love Dr. Landes, because problems undetected in a horse's mouth can cause all kinds of issues in the horse's body and behavior.  Doing her dental today ensures that her mouth is ready for the bit and is comfortable for chewing. 

Tonight Grace and I will do some more grooming and perhaps introduce spray bottles in an attempt to get this white horse to look white!