10.05.22: Right to the Right

Since I rode Tali yesterday, I decided to work Storm this morning since the weather was cooperating. It wasn't too hot, but was breezy at times, so I was curious to see how much of a challenge Storm would be since we had a built in distraction. I fetched him from the field where I am sure he was relieved to have the benefit of fly spray added (for whatever that is worth).
There was quite a bit going on in the barn this morning so I hung out chatting for a minute with Jeanie while she tacked up Winston. When she finished up I went and fetched Storm from the pasture where he was hanging out with the ladies since almost all the other boys had been taken out of the pasture except Punkin (and he doesn't really count).
I sprayed him down with the fly spray and took him down to the round pen. There was quite a bit of activity out back of the barn, the high school students were there grooming one of their horses and the dentist was in the barn working which meant his car was out back. Storm didn't over react to the hubbub which made me happy.
We got to the round pen and I had a good feeling about how things were setting up when he stood right at my shoulder as I took his halter off and hung it up on the rail of the round pen. I turned to walk to the center of the round pen and he stuck with me, which was a good feeling. I turned to stand and face him, and asked him not to crowd me too closely. I gently asked him to move off, and was pleased when he turned and started to walk along the rail without so much fuss. To boot, he stepped off to the right without any hesitation, unlike the previous sessions. After a half lap or so, he picked up speed and did his head tossing and moved off into the canter. It was not with the same emotional freak out that it had been, which made me happy. He was simply enjoying being able to move. He slowed down eventually and settled down to a walk again, and it took him a while before he decided to turn in and focus. I was pleased that he did, and let him focus for a bit before asking him to move off. He was having a little bit of trouble staying focused since Winston was in the arena and was sometimes coming around trotting, or Jeanie would ask him to trot, in which case Storm would speed up at the same time. He got himself into a small tizzy at one point, and spun around to head the other direction, which was incidentally back to the right again. I was pleased with how often he was choosing to go to the right, and once he finally settled down and was willing to stand and focus, I began to work on directing him a little more clearly.
He was willing to go to the left, but we began to play the boomerang instead of "go to the left." Apparently he's left sticky now. I persisted, and after he made several tries and was able to maintain some regularity, I asked him to go back to the right again. He spun on me a few times, but he was also able to make the effort to simply turn that way rather than spin all the way around. I was pleased with his progress, so we switched back to the left again. It took a while before he was able to stop the 'boomerang' game and stick to walking for a while. Once he settled in and really put some effort into it, and then finally licked and chewed again we stopped. He had gotten a bit sweaty, but had dried again by the time we quit working. I took him back up the hill and turned him out into the pasture again to graze, and he seemed quite content.

Next Page: 10.05.23: Awareness Through Movement
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