10.06.19: No Laying Down on the Job

Its been so hot here that doing anything outside of what is absolutely necessary to keep things running is not in the picture. I finally managed to get Storm out in the morning, after I got all the other students ready for Jim's class. Despite the large number of horses in the arena working Storm was pretty well locked on, which was a good thing. I took him down to the round pen, and took off his halter, and he stuck to me for a few moments while I hung his halter on the rail, and turned to go to the middle of the arena. He walked off after a few moments, and I let him go. He chose to go to the right, which is a good thing, and he simply walked off, and did not race off emotionally.
He followed the rail around, and as he came through the side of the arena that usually holds the puddle he put his nose to the ground and inspected it for a good place to lay down and roll. The first two passes he made only trudging with his nose on the ground. He came around again and collected himself to get ready to lay down, I swung the stick and string to send him on. He moved off and came around again, and tried a second time to lay down, and almost succeeded before I was able to push him on. He was on the way down to folding his front legs under himself when I drove him forward. He lept straight up in to the air and kicked his rear hoof out at me as he went up with a grunt and squeal. I laughed as he charged off around the arena.
It didn't take him long to settle back down to a walk, and I left him out to walk for a while to let things sink in. His ear was pretty locked on, though he did not want to stop and turn and face me. I allowed him to spend a while working at the walk, loosening up and staying relaxed. He didn't even get bothered by the woman that was at the top of the hill behind the trees opening up trash bags to collect manure in. I asked him to move up to a trot, which took a bit of encouragement at first, but after a few repeats, I only needed to raise my hand and point for him to step up to the trot. He didn't hold it, but I was pleased with his sensitivity.
I finally asked him to come to me by backing straight up. He continued almost all the way around to me before he stopped. I backed up to the middle of the arena again, and he turned to face me. He was able to stay focused for a little while, and so I asked him to go to the right. He pushed left and did a full spin in order to move off to the right. He wasn't able to maintain the direction for very long, and came back to face me again. I asked him to move off to the right again, and he hesitated, and shifted backwards, before swinging around to go directly to the right. I was pleased with his effort, and when he stopped again, I repeated the request, and he was able to again move directly to the right. Once he stopped again, I asked him to move off to the left, and he hesitated at the different instruction, and then moved to the left. He walked for quite some time without any problems, and even ended up licking and chewing and half yawning for a half lap!
He did really well, and when he stopped and faced me, I decided to end by doing a few stick to me games, and see if he would stick to me and pick up his speed. I never got him to break into a trot, but I also knew that if he did move up into a trot I wouldn't be able to keep up with him and I'd likely loose breaking power, which would mean we'd lose the connection. I'm not quite ready to test it that much yet.
We finished up, and I took him into the arena to allow him to lay down and roll since he wanted to so badly. When I first got into the area, he was so connected that he even try to lay down and roll. I ended up walking half way down the arena before he started to walk nose down and shuffling to find a good spot to roll. He finally did, and enjoyed rolling himself over in the sand. Once he stood up, we hung out a little while longer, and I asked him to put his feet up on the pedestal, and worked to see if I could get him to put his hind feet closer to his front feet. Some day we'll get all four feet up on the pedestal...
He did well, I am excited for Kirsten to come back this weekend and see where we'll go in the next month!

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