2016.06.10: Bugged

The weather finally cooperated with my schedule! It was sunny, with a light breeze that made it glorious to be outside. I headed out to work Storm in the afternoon. He made me walk half way down to get him, but finally came up to meet me before I got all the way to him. We headed back up the pasture and I tacked him up and we headed into the paddock.  He was skeptical of the new fencing arrangement and the trailer, but we settled right into work.

I noticed right away that he needed more trot time today and seemed to be a bit stuck. The next issue that arose was the BUGS. They were driving him CRAZY. I could see the big black flies landing on him and just not going away. He was tail swishing, bumping his chest with his chin, and that escalated into crow hopping and a buck aimed in my direction. At that point I decided we had to do something if we were going to get any work done, so we walked back to the barn, past the scary fence and trailer and I sprayed him liberally with fly spray before we walked back past the mostly scary fence and trailer and then got right back to work. The fly spray helped, though he was still fussy, but some focused work helped get through that.

He needed quite a lot of trot work to find his balance today, and he needed tight circles to make a change. I was contemplating whether or not I needed to switch the configuration of the line, but he began to make a shift so I left it alone.  We began working to the right, and he needed lots of support and lots of encouragement to find the right level of activity in his hind legs. He would find it, and immediately slow down, and we’d have to repeat the process all over again.  Finally he began finding more steps that were steadier and more balanced, and I was able to take a little break from pushing so hard.

As he settled in and found a little more softness, I started to consider what I could do in my own body to ask for a change in his body. Walking sideways through a pasture on uneven ground (with random large weeds and poop piles) made it challenging to really keep my body in a better position, but I could see when I would get closer to being in the right position, he was better able to find it as well. They really are a reflection of our own accuracy.

We finally took a break and switched to the left for a while and found the same pattern – heavy to the point of needing lots of trotting and tight circles to make a change. Again it took him a long time to shift, but eventually he was able to and we found a little more steadiness again. I was interested in the fact that the pattern seemed to be the same in both directions today, where as in the past he has needed more trotting on one side, but a little less support on the other.

We didn’t have a super long session, but it was a nice solid time and I was glad to sneak it in while we had such great weather!

Next Page: 2016.06.23: Best Behavior

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