09.04.09: All In

I fed Storm this morning, and caught him standing with his back legs crossed... I swear he is the funniest horse, and does not pay very much attention to his feet most of the time. Which probably isn't a good thing when it comes to riding, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
The day went well, it started with the meeting in the classroom where we discussed the remudas from the day before. It was nice to recap and hear some observations from people about what they learned. We headed out to meet with our respective classes, and Kristi chatted with us recapping our afternoon from the day before. Everybody had a pretty good day, a large part of the group ended up playing a game in the afternoon, and were able to make some accomplishments through playing that they likely would not have been able to manage had they just been on their own trying to do the tasks.

Kristi led us through an exercise of "dancing" with a partner while playing the 7 games. The object was that one of the pair was the leader, and the other the follower, and the leader had to come up with a plan to play the games, and lead the follower through the steps. It was pretty easy when you went slow and had a plan in mind of what you wanted to do. The observations were interesting among the pairs, especially when the married couple paired up.
We finished that up in a bit of a hurry and headed straight out to watch a demo with Avery and a little right brained horse working with the trailer. He did very well, it took a long time for him to make some changes, and Avery went very slow with
him. She did a great job helping to support him through some of the challenges. She then did a
demo with her horse AKiss on the stick to me game, which was very interesting. She started by asking a few simple things to get him motivated. She rewarded him with scratches and cookies. She even has to keep different kinds of cookies because one kind is just too boring after a while. She really had to work to get AKiss to want to stick to her, and she did so by sending him out on the circle and then asking for draw. When he would not come in, she sent him out on the circle faster until he changed his mind. It was beautiful to watch him join with her and want to be with her mirroring her movements.
We had a special treat after that, Linda came out and did a demo with Allure. It was really neat to watch her working with some of her current
concepts with Allure. She was focusing on the porcupine game to ask him to slow down. He has a hard time dealing with the pressure on the halter because he was taught to be afraid of the pressure before Linda bought him. She demonstrated how she works to have his idea turn into her idea. She takes whatever he offers, and then encourages him to do it. Slowly Allure decides that he doesn't want to do that anymore, and he would rather do whatever she suggests. She has been working with a new line that she calls a "featherlight line" which is super thin and light weight.
They are testing it out to see how useful it could be to students in the future. She uses it to work on the porcupine game with Allure to get him light
and sensitive and try to work through the old habits of bracing against pressure. It was a beautiful demo, and the discussion following was really thoughtful. As she discussed things with us Allure decided in his typical fashion that it was a good time for a roll. Rem hung out with the group the whole time, eventually standing with his head between two other student's shoulders and napping for most of the demo.
We broke for lunch, which was breakfast for lunch, ham and cheese "quiche" (no crust, what was affectionately known as "Not Quiche" in Colorado),  bacon and some other things. I finished up lunch and checked on the focus groups and found that the farrier prep was in the classroom. So I took Storm out for a little while and worked on a few things at faster speeds to try to get a little bit of energy out of him before he had to go back and stand in the pen. I was anticipating that we might do some work in the classroom and then go out to the pens for a demo of working with a horse's feet. What I didn't realize was that I was the only person that had signed up for the farrier prep focus group. I got into the classroom and one of the girls came in from the office and turned it on for me, and I sat there and watched. It was basically a video of a demo that was given by a faculty member at some point. It gave some nice guidelines on what to practice and how to practice to be sure that the horse is fully prepared. When that was over, I headed out to find a faculty member to chat with them about Storm's feet and get some advice on how to refine his skills to get better at picking up his feet.
I found Kristi, and Jenny with the water coolers since it had gotten very warm in the afternoon. I chatted with Kristi while I drank some water in the cool shade. Kristi checked in with Storm's skills on picking up his feet and was encouraging, just saying that he needed more practice. I was concerned that he was learning to step out of the request rather than just picking up his foot a the request. I will have to practice more and see what happens.
Some other people were practicing with the trailer, so I waited until some of them had finished and asked Storm to go in. When I lift my energy he goes all the way into the trailer, which is a TIGHT fit for him. He looks a bit silly in the trailer, but I am glad that he is confident enough to go all the way in. We'll keep playing with that to make sure that he is really good with it over the next week that we are here.
We wandered off as soon as he came out, and I spent some time asking him to stand next to me while I was standing on a log in prepration for riding. He did ok with that, and I was able to give him some really good scratches while he stood next to me. He enjoyed having his ears rubbed and scratching on his neck and back getting more of the winter hair out. He's started shedding bad again, its coming out in clumps all over again. We moved around from the log, and i practiced some more of the traveling circles, this time out in the playground. I don't think he was super focused because he kept bumping into the end of the line, which was creating some confusion on his part, but we managed ok. I'll check in with that again and see what happens.
We went back to our log for a little while more, and gave him more scratches.
I was getting tired, so I headed back to the pens. I put him in his pen and realized he was still itching his eyes from the bugs, and also had a bit of a rub mark on his nose from the halter where he must have run into it while we were circling. I grabbed the swat to rub on him to help keep the bugs off, and then got the curry while I was in there. His pen was all covered in white hair when I decided it was about time for dinner.
It was oven fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner, plus ice cream for dessert. It was a great meal, and then Leslie and I headed out after we finished dinner. I had to get a new spray bottle since mine was busted, and I stopped to get gas while on the way back. It was a nice laid back evening with good conversation.

Next Page: 09.04.10: All In Again
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