10.01.17: Don't Wanna

With winter the horses are confined to their sacrifice areas, and the result is that they end up being a bit spunkier than usual. The cool weather really is ideal for them rather than the heat of summer, and when the days are not too cold, the horses enjoy it just fine, and that combined with their confinement results in some pent up energy. Holly caught Storm and Jet actually playing tug of war with a lead rope the other day. Each had an end and they were pulling back and forth (oh to have a video camera all the time!). Jim headed out to check out a car and some wandering people the other day, and ended up chatting with some visitors for a while. Storm and Winston decided to kick up their heels a bit, and got Piper stirred up into the mix. He went into the pasture that borders Storm's to fix a blanket that had gotten a bit twisted on another horse, and Jet must have felt lonely and wanted to play, too. Jim played the "nip-nip" game with him, grabbing his nose and teasing him. As he turned to go, Jet decided it would be fun to grab the collar of his jacket and shake. The visiting couple thought that was pretty funny.
The other evening as Jim was bringing the horses in for dinner, he was walking down the aisle with Storm and they approached the little table where people often leave treats. This time it had a lot of apples that someone kindly donated. As they were walking by, Storm reached out and sucked an apple right off the table more efficiently than a hoover vacuum. The apple was just GONE. Jim said it was like the scene from Star Wars when Jar-Jar is stealing the fruit out of the bowl on the table. It was there, and then it was gone, and there was a distinct crunching sound.
Kirsten returns for the first time in 2010 and we had the first lesson with her, and told her last night when Nancy brought her up from the airport we were not going to be grooming Storm to be ready for an 8:00 ride time. He is just TOO filthy. He actually STINKS. There is so much mud caked on him that its just gross. We chatted for a little while before we all crashed for the night. She did say that she will be really interested in getting some video really soon, so likely there will be some trips to Florida in our future through the year. Since I have so little vacation, it looks like we'll be doing weekender trips, which is what she does here, so it shouldn't be too bad, other than being really tiring.
The morning came pretty early, but since we only had to grab him and put the bridle on, it wasn't too much to deal with. By the time Kirsten and I headed out of the house and down to the arena, Jim already had Storm down there waiting. Before we could come down the hill he requested the 22' line and the carrot stick since Storm seemed to not quite be ready to get down to business. Apparently he decided it was fun to see how tall he could be when Jim asked him to take the bit. So he asked him to move around instead.
We brought down the 22' line and Jim put him on the longer line and got him out and asked him to move around some. Kirsten and I watched, and she helped me to see when he was cross firing at the canter, and when he was counter cantering, both of which he was doing with relative ease. She moved two ground poles into his path on the circle, and that made him think a bit harder. Watching him get his brain organized to get his feet over the poles without tripping was really amusing. Once he began to settle down and his expression began to take on a look of concentration Kirsten set him on a 5 minute time limit, and Jim asked him to keep up the trot work for the duration. Storm began to get tired, and would trot most of the circle, then break down to the walk a few strides before going over the ground pole, and then Jim would have to ask him to step back up into the trot again. He was beginning to move much better towards the end of the time, and Jim was able to keep him moving at the gait without too much effort. When he finally asked him to stop to change directions, Storm was all too happy to do so.
He turned him and asked him to go the other way, and Storm expressed his opinion again, though with much less enthusiasm, and he was able to maintain the work a bit better. It was his tougher direction, but he began to make some changes and settle into a much more balanced movement and sustain it for more laps.
Finally when the second set of time was finished he was quite content to stand and accept the bit. Kirsten got him started with the long reins again was able to pick up right where she left off. Storm was responding faster to her requests, and was no where near as heavy in her hands as he had been in the past. She was able to spend some time really encouraging him to use his balance and shift his weight back. It was amazing to watch his shape change as he worked on re-balancing himself. When he is really balanced he looks like one of those giant roman horse statues.
She worked him for a while to the left really allowing him to find his balance and become more stable, and then she finally asked him to go back to the right again, and had to really support him a lot through the change. He was having a really hard time balancing, and was falling on the forehand again and became much heavier in her hands. His changes and shifts in the right direction were much slower than they had been to the left, but being his weaker side it was no surprise. He was making changes, just not at the same rate. He finally began to make some of the changes and was really able hold it and find more stability and balance with his weight shifted back.
It was quite amazing to see that he had no work since the last time she was here, and yet he lost nothing in the work that had been done, and continues to move forward under her monthly tutelage. I suspect that it will still be a while before I can really ride, so she'll continue to guide him through when she is here, and he should continue to progress just fine.

10.03.20: Cruisin' After a Break
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