11.10.01: Day of the Horse

Friday's preparations went super fast, and there was time in the evening to get Storm out and get him acclimated with all the tents and festivities. I headed out to the pasture, and found him just on the other side of the chute, and I called to him, and he came to me through the chute. He brought the rest of the herd with him, and so I moved with the herd back up to the gate, and brought him out of the pasture. He was already concerned about Mike's truck parked near the gate and the little mini chicken corral that we constructed under the trees, so I backed down the hill into the barn just to be on the safe side. We hung out in the barn for a few minutes while Jenn and Debbie finished tacking up before moseying down the barn to head up to the new round pen by the parking lot. We waited for Holly to come around with the tractor and then headed out the door. Storm was fearfully curious of the tent by the pastures, and crept cautiously past looking at it sideways. We followed Debbie and Jenn up past the parking lot, which gave Storm a bit of extra courage until we made the turn into the field and past the unfamiliar tent and into the round pen. He stayed calm and held himself together very well despite all the strange things that were everywhere. I worked with him in the round pen for a while, but couldn't really get him 'up', he wasn't even interested in staying at the trot, so after we checked both sides and made sure he was really focused, we headed back to the barn for a bit of grooming to make sure he looked his best for the next day. I scrubbed him with the vacuum pretty hard, and he behaved himself super well, standing quietly for me as I worked on each side. He was actually very clean, all things considered, so I just had to get the dust out, turn him out and hope for the best for the next day.
The day started early, and was quite chaotic which is no surprise. I was pulled in every direction, and just couldn't manage to keep up with everything. Everything went well, though we were short handed, but that was our only problem. The event was very well attended, which was a huge success. It was great to have several of our friends there to present and support the event. Shari came up from Virginia to do a talk on leadership and horses teaching emotional intelligence, and she walked with me out to the pasture to help make sure Storm was focused on the right things, and wasn't going to worry about all the farm animals and chaos that was going on for the day. She checked in with him, and helped to ground me, and so we headed back up and I grabbed Rebecca and we headed to the pasture to give Storm a little oils to get started to make sure he was in a good place. We came out of the pasture, and he did very well coming down the hill past the kids area and the farm animals. I gave him a moment in the barn and made sure we were organized before he headed out towards the round pen.
As I came out the door, I paused for a moment, giving Storm time to adjust to everything outside the door. I was glad that I stopped with him still inside the barn because as I stepped out the door one of Shari's signs blew against me, startling Storm. I gave him a moment to get himself together, before coming out the door. I had to stop one of the little ones that wanted to pet him, Jim hollered to warn me, and I caught her just in time to put my hand on her chest as she toddled towards Storm. We began our walk up to the round pen, and he held himself together very well as I walked backwards and redirected his focus. It was a challenge for me, and one for him, but he really tried hard to hold himself together.
He settled down once we got into the round pen, and did behaved nicely. Rebecca did a great job doing a quick and dirty Raindrop on him, and he behaved himself pretty well, only kicking over the stool twice, thankfully not with Rebecca on it! I think at that time he was just getting bored. She introduced him to the oils, and interestingly he wanted to eat the Oregano straight out of the bottle. Oregano is very hot, and not usually one that they are fond of. He was interested int he Thyme as well, also licking it out of Rebecca's hand when she offered him the bottle to smell. He welted a little bit from the oils, but not much, which made me happy. We finished up with the oils and headed down to the arena for the parade of breeds. He did a good job when it was his turn, though all we did was walk around a few times and stand on the pedestal for a bit. The kids enjoyed petting him when we all came back into the arena at the end.
I was so proud of how well he behaved himself and held himself together for the day. He couldn't have done a better job.
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11.10.08: Not My Ride