10.03.20: Cruisin' After a Break

Its been a while... And reasonably so! After more than 40" of snow within 6 days, it took a while to dig out! So Kirsten's visit for February had to be canceled, and the horses have stood around in the pasture for 2 months.
Interestingly enough, that didn't make a difference! Everyone's lessons for the day went super well, and everyone seemed to pick right up where they left off. Our lesson was late in the day, so I hung out doing chores, and watching lessons over the course of the morning and afternoon. I noticed that all day Storm was all over the pasture. First he was by the gate, then down in the bottom pushing somebody around, then up in the run in shed, then down eating the stubble of grass that has started growing, and then on to something else. I guessed that was either a very good sign, or a very bad sign!
We got him out almost an hour before his lesson started and put some elbow grease into grooming. He desperately needed it! After producing another small pony on the floor, we vacuumed him off and then finished tacking him up. He was plenty cooperative and was content to eat grass while we watched the rest of the lesson before us finish up. Jim led him into the ring when it was our turn, and put the bridle on him and they got started. Nancy had gotten a box of sidewalk chalk, and so Kirsten drew lines on his hindquarters to help make it easier to see how he was moving. Jim began working him in the long lines to begin with and Kirsten helped him through some of the exercises to work on developing his feel and Storm's responses. The cool thing was being able to observe him working on releasing some muscles in his neck. As he could come toward us with his head down, the top of his neck was moving back and forth and it did not seem to be due to his walking forward. Kirsten identified that he was really working on releasing through his neck, which was great.
She took over the reins and began working with him to try to continue to refine his balance even more and help him through some of the challenges he was having. The fantastic thing is that despite two months off and a lot of snow, he was exactly where he stopped at the last lesson. And taking into the fact that he has basically had one hour of work per month for the past 5 months since I had my surgery it was quite impressive to know how far he has come. Of course, all of those single hours of work have been in the hands of Kirsten, so that improves the chances by a lot!
Kirsten also FINALLY got her first book published. It is the first of four, and they will all serve as workbooks to developing balance. The first book focuses on her first three exercises, plus how to handle the horse in a daily basis. She covers everything from catching (allowing the horse to catch you) to vet and farrier prep. Its a great comprehensive resource, and she has packed it full of basic information with all sorts of really practical tips. Each task is broken down to its simplest form, and there are guidelines on what to check for in order to measure success. I am very excited with anticipation for the next book, which should have more information that pertains to what we are working on currently.
The weather was so nice over the weekend that I decided to get Tali out to do some ground driving with her for a little while since I suspected that both of us could use the work. It went very well, I was able to walk slow enough and concentrate on walking while she also concentrated on walking. We worked for about a half hour, and I think that was pretty much enough for both of us.
The weather couldn't have been better, and the work was fantastic! Now we just have to wait another month until Kirsten gets back!

Next Page: 10.04.16: Straightening the Storm