10.09.22: Move to Balance

It was my turn in the rotation to take care of the horses the farrier. Since I had the day off I took care of the chores in the morning and then headed out to get Storm out for a while before Keith arrived. I had to fetch him from the back pasture in South through the chute where he and the others were standing under the lone Mulberry tree. We headed back the way I had come and as we got back into the second pasture through the chute, the rest of the herd decided they didn't want to be left alone and came thundering up behind us. Storm tried to bolt a bit and got excited, but I managed to convince him that it was a good idea to chill out again and we moseyed our way back up to the gate.
It didn't take long to get down into the round pen, and I turned him loose and hung up the halter. He started to wander away, but as I turned to the center of the round pen he turned with me. I asked him to move off, and he did so quietly. I allowed him to work through the walk for a while finding steadiness again. His walk has become so relaxed and balanced automatically that it takes him no time to really settle into the work. After a few laps, I asked for the trot, and let him find some balance and impulsion in the faster gait. I finally asked him to canter, and he did so with a small grunt and lunge of protest. He held the canter for a while before finally dropping into the trot for several laps. He was using quite a bit of momentum to hold the trot, but he was beginning to be able to find some rhythm and relaxation in fits and spurts. He eventually returned to the walk again and I left him alone for a few laps.
We repeated the exercise, with less fanfare than the first time. He was not holding the gaits as long, but at the same time he was using less adrenaline in order to move at the faster speed. It took more work to get him to transition upward, but it was calmer than it had been. We worked the pattern several times before I stopped him and asked him to move off to the left. He didn't want to go to the left, so it I had to drive him all the way around to continue to the left. He was easily able to repeat the pattern to the left with the same consistency. I was pleased with the change from the prior lesson, and it will be interesting to continue to see him as he is able to develop his balance and calm state at the faster gaits.
We returned up to the barn, and I groomed him for a bit before Keith arrived and got started. He behaved himself quite well while he was being trimmed. If only we could do that every time he's trimmed...

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