13.08.18: Blowin Off Steam

I finally had the chance to work with Storm again after getting a little clarity/inspiration from Kirsten via email after he ripped up my hand. I knew he needed to blow off steam; the question was how to do so safely. With encouragement from Kirsten, I got myself organized to work him again. I knew that he needed some work before my next lesson came around again.

Thursday before Kirsten was here for the weekend, I got him out of the pasture and brought him into the paddock by the barn. He hadn’t been in the paddock yet, but it was a relatively safe space, and had plenty of room for him to move, and the horses were right on the other side of the fence, so he could still see them. I had the 45’ line and the balance bands waiting for him, and got him all trussed up when I brought him in. I moved towards the middle of the paddock and sent him out on the line to the right. He quickly wound himself up and began careening around the paddock. The only challenge was that he went all the way to the end of the line on the pasture side and then cut in very close to me on the driveway side. He wasn’t confident enough to make a full circle on his own, which was frustrating and challenging to make sure I managed the rope without getting tangled. He surged around, alternately trying to buck and throwing his head and front legs around in frustration with the constraint of the balance bands.  He was working really hard to have a fit, but it wasn’t much work for me (other than rope management!) to handle him. He could do whatever he wanted on the line and I was safe and could handle him.

Finally after many laps he was able to settle down to a walk, and it was work to get him back up into a canter again, so we changed directions. He had a little fit to the left, but nothing compared to his first blast off to the right. I was pleased with the change, and worked until he was calm again to the left and called it a day.

Saturday came, and I was doubtful that Storm was going to be all that keen on doing anything again, but to my surprise when I whistled for him he came all the way out of the back of the pasture with purpose to come to me. That was a hopeful sign! I set him up to work in the paddock again, and he did not have near the fit that he had two days before. I was pleased that he calmed down so much more, and asked him to work hard for me to make sure that he was plenty calm before we set to work on loading him on the trailer.

That became the real challenge of the day. He was loading in beautifully… but backing out immediately. I haven’t seen a horse load that well, he was hustling in sometimes almost at a trot, but not even letting Ed put his hand on his halter to ask him to stay in. After almost 2 exhausting hours in which Storm was sweating and I was about worn out, finally Ed was able to grab the butt bar and put it up really quickly after he loaded in and paused. Arriving at Graham was uneventful, and we turned him out in the pasture where he behaved right at home again.

Our lesson went well, he was his usual self again, with the exception that he had energy to burn, so I put him on the 45’ line again. The interesting thing was that he was very polite and behaved himself like a gentleman while he worked off some of the excess energy. I was impressed with his control and management of his emotions with his energy. He looked good, even though I didn’t have the balance bands on him at all, he was still managing his body pretty well.

I got on and rode and found that he was doing well. The theme of the ride was to make sure that we were doing everything correctly so that the horse stayed in balance. Finding the horse out of balance meant that we were out of balance ourselves.  It was a lot of work, and I felt that I was able to manage myself better, which produced a better result in Storm. It just takes time.

Next Page: 13.09.15: Churn and Burn