2016.11.10: Try, Try Again

After the slightly chaotic and never settling in final lesson of the year I have resolved to work him more often. Thing are lining up to help support that - a good friend arrived with her horse on Sunday to board likely through the winter, and she's agreed to help feed several days a week. Without Scooter in the barn, everyone drops back to once a day feedings, which makes logistics with the schedule SO much easier. I'll also have two other horses arriving belonging to a friend of mine in the near future, and they are fully ride-able and need work as well, so I will be even more motivated to get out there and do something. The farrier was coming in the afternoon, and the schedule aligned so that I could get some time in with Storm before our appointment. Based on the final lesson of the year I thought that might be a wise choice.
I went out to get him, and walked him up from the back of the pasture. He came mostly willingly, though was a bit antsy when we got into the barn. He stood well enough while I tacked him up and then we headed towards the round pen. He was nervous enough that he was worried about a lot of things. It was breezy (again) and so every little thing that moved made him either fling his head in that direction, or jump. He tried to return towards the pasture a few times, but then we finally headed to the round pen. I set him up to the right knowing that we'd do better in that direction and have half a chance of working with our brain instead of with instinct.
It took him several laps to get settled in, he began with his head in the air (at least his poll was up?!), and so I left him alone until he began to experiment. I began asking him to use his hind end and was pleased to notice that even though he was unfocused and distracted he was less reactive to my requests than he had been in our lesson. He wasn't flying off in a trot and needing the canter to find his coordination again. He was coming in and out of being very thoughtful and trying very hard to work. He was still much more tense than I wanted, but he wasn't blowing up completely. I tried to maintain my center of calm and just focus on the work, but that takes a lot of practice for myself!
We only had a short time to work before the farrier was due to arrive so I began wrapping it up after a couple really nice laps. As I started to bring him in, he got nervous all over again, so I left him out there for a few more laps before I was finally able to find a good moment to end on. We headed back to the barn where he happily relaxed even more when I untacked him and got him into his stall. I gave him his meal and then began fixing the food for the other two. About that time Colleen arrived, and Jeanne, the farrier arrived. Colleen went out to get Top Gun (Toppers) and Simon, and Jeanne started working with Storm. I was pleased that she felt really good about the trim I had been giving him. She gave me a few pointers (more needs to come off laterally on his fronts, and I need to roll his toes in the back), but otherwise, he is doing very well. My wallet appreciates me doing the work for sure! She evaluated and trimmed up Toppers as well, and then we got the barn cleaned up. I was pleased with his progress, and hope that I can maintain some momentum to continue to get him in shape so that we can begin riding for real by the time winter is over.
Tiny, tiny steps in the right direction are better than no steps at all.
Next Page: 2016.12.27: Rare Golden Day