2016.06.23: Best Behavior

This has to be a record… three sessions since my last lesson, and a riding lesson with Kirsten in Florida! I had just enough time and just enough good weather to get in some more work with Storm. Cayla already had Simon out tacking up for a ride, so I didn’t have to go find him. And when I came out of the barn, he greeted me with a nicker, which always feels so good. I brought him in, brushed off the little bit of dirt, and made sure to spray him down with fly spray before we tacked up. He even walked over to the corner of the scary fence next to the scary trailer while I chatted with Dianna for a minute before we got started.

The girls headed off down the road to the indoor, and we got to work in the paddock. He was fussy starting out, and had a moment when he attempted to bolt off. I didn’t float as much on the line as I should have, and he really ran into the line. Kirsten is right, he won’t pull hard on it when it hits him in the mouth that badly. I finally got him started again, and he decided to at least try a little bit.

We began going to the left after his mini temper tantrum, and I found that I really had to push on him to begin to make a shift. He really needed to trot to find any extra balance at all. It was a struggle, and I found I was working a lot harder than he was, so I increased the pressure and made tighter circles trying to find the change. Lots and lots of pushing into the trot, finding some balance, slowing, and pushing right back up into trot again. Finally he began to find some balance and I could leave him alone a little more. It didn’t seem as good as it was, so I am thinking that he needs something a little different now.

We worked to the left for quite a while, and then changed the lunge line around to go to the right. He did a little better to the right, but still needed lots of trotting. He again attempted to bolt off, but didn’t get far when he found he couldn’t quite manage with the rein set up the way it was. I also noticed that he was tripping quite a bit, just stumbling and scuffing his front feet, and sometimes almost going down. I guess he was just so off balance in the moment that he kept almost falling on his face. I guess some day he’ll figure out that really isn’t an efficient way to travel and will find a different way to do things. I was able to start adding in straighter lines in addition to the circles as he did start to find some balance. He still needed lots of trotting, but was beginning to shift a little more, so I could walk in more of a straight line in between small circles.

I was trying to study my body position as well, and found that my posture was not very effective when I would get engrossed in what he was doing. Likewise, when I would get engrossed in my own posture, I would lose focus on what he was doing, and he’d be wandering along out of balance. It is easier to study your own posture when riding because it has a much more immediate effect on the horse. From the ground, there is a strong connection, but it is easier to lose focus on balancing the two and becoming too engrossed in yourself or the horse, to the detriment of the other.

He was getting pretty warm and was damp all over, so we finally called it quits. I took off the line so that we could walk back to the barn yard easily, and he followed along nicely. I took off his bridle and the surcingle and he stood patiently while I went to get the scrubby and the scraper. I came back, grabbed the hose and turned it on, and drug it out to the middle of the yard, and asked him to come with me. He followed right along, even with the hose squeaking off the reel behind him. He stood perfectly still while I hosed and scrubbed, and then changed sides and hosed and scrubbed again. He was much cleaner when I finished. He still didn’t move when I went to shut off the hose. After I finished scraping him down, I went to get the fly spray and he finally followed me into the barn. I did have to remind him not to move for the fly spray, but again, he stood still for me, completely untied in the barn yard where there is plenty of grass. He was so good he got a treat for that!

I turned him back into the pasture again, much to Scooter’s happiness, and he didn’t even roll. I think the hose off felt so good that he just let the breeze dry him down. It feels like progress, though his calmness might just be the heat. But I’ll take it in whatever form it comes!

Next Page: 2016.06.25: On Top Again