09.04.15: Upon a Storm

From the power outage yesterday the internet was not working this morning on the ranch, so I was unable to do anything this morning other than just type up my day yesterday. It was chilly this morning, and the morning stayed cool and clear, one of those crisp days after the rain has cleansed the atmosphere.
Today is horsenality/personality remuda day. Since we had such a small group, John led the entire group in a remuda going over all of the personality traits that are mirrored in the horsenality chart. I was pleased to have had the experience, even though I love the different groups being seperate. I almost wish that I had been able to have that first, and then the two others that I went to. However, I am very glad that I managed to go to both the RBI and the LBE before this week since I would not have gotten the chance this week. John borrowed one of the externs to come in and draw the chart for him since he complained that he didn't have neat handwriting. She did a good job drawing up the people version of the horsenality chart. We identified what each quadrant is most challenged with, and then identified the extremes of each. The extroverts tend to be too progressive, where as introverts tend to be not progressive enough. The left brained side is very fact based, where as the right brarined side is feeling based. It was nice to diagram the whole thing to have perspective on the big picture since that is not laid out as clearly in the indivdiual remudas. I am going to have to mull all this over some more, and probably redraw the diagram for myself just to imprint it more clearly in my mind.
We finished up with that and met with Baron to talk about leadership, which meant discussing the 8 responsibilitiies again. I do not mind repeating the information because each faculty member has a slightly different spin on things, and so each time new tidbits of information pop out at you. Baron also mentioned a sport in Australia (where he is from) that is called Camp Drafting. It sounds like a combination of cutting and a cow version of barrel racing. The object is to cut a cow out of a herd, and then bring it out of the pen and drive it around "pegs" (which Baron said are sometimes trees in a large open area) in a certain pattern. He didn't say, but I can only assume that this is a timed event. It sounds just about as challenging as one could get. I am going to have to do more research on this and see what i can find.
After we finished discussing the 8 responsibilities, we headed outside to watch Baron work with his horse, Muppet, showing how to warm up strong, and then have a plan of what to do next. Muppet is a Dutch Warmblood, and came to him because he was bucking and rearing with his previous owner. Baron has spent a lot of time working those issues out, but said that Muppet still has a long way to go to be confident needs more consistant work to help him through his issues. Baron demonstrated again the process to go through to check and make sure that the horse is in a partnership frame of mind before getting on. Muppet did really well, and quickly responded to Baron, and Baron was able to saddle up fairly quickly. He also discussed how to respond to your horse if something goes wrong. Practicing the emergency dismount, and also knowing when is a good time to bend the horse to a stop and when a good time is to try to simply do circles instead. He also talked about what to do if a big scary object appeared - remain facing the object. He said if you attempt to bend the horse or disengage that can make the issue worse because the horse will want to look at the object. He had Kathy come in with a plastic bag on a stick and wave it around rapidly and showed how to continually keep the horse facing the scary thing even if it was moving, and then demonstrated the problem with disengaging the horse and bending them to a stop. Muppet became more afraid when he could not turn to look at the object, and you could seem him trying to get a clear look at it each time that he circled around as Baron attempted to get him to disengage to a stop. In the moment it is hard to remember these things, but it is highly valuable information to be aware of and try to put in the permanent spot in your memory.
We finished up with the demo and headed in for lunch. Baron let us know that our focus group would be at the 100' round pen again, and we would be going over having a plan when we start riding. I finished up with my lunch and headed out to get organized. I went ahead and got Storm out and we went to start off with some play before I got out the saddle. He was doing pretty good and not getting emotional about going faster. He still seems to be having a bit of trouble picking up the correct lead on a circle but I think that will work itself out as we continue to do some body exercises. I brought him back to the tack room and tacked him up and we returned to the round pen in time for the remuda to start. Baron asked us all to warm up at our own pace and do what we needed to do and he would check in with each of us when we were ready to ride to talk about our plan. I decided that my biggest plan was to make sure that we went somewhere. From yesterday's short ride I knew that staying in a round pen wouldn't be productive today, and so as long as Storm was feeling good, then we would get out and go places in the playground.
I warmed him up again with the saddle on, and he was responding well, even going over the small jump. He only knocked it down twice, which was better than before. He is getting to the point where he is able to take it in stride rather than having to wildly leap it when it comes up in front of him and he is not prepared. We stopped for a while and watched Baron work with another horse that was having some emotional challenges with going faster, and it was fascinating to see the changes in him. As Baron was finishing up with that, another woman was asking her horse to cross the bridge, and her horse started forward and then bolted when she heard the resonating sound of her hooves on the wooden planks. The woman got knocked over and fell into the edge of the runoff stream, and so Baron headed over to check on her and the horse. She was fine, thankfully, and she went back to her pen to grab her longer rope, and Baron started to work with the horse to help her over her fear of the bridge. It took them a very long time, but Baron did a terrific job of building the horse's confidence.
We mounted shortly after he began to work with her, and Storm and I wandered in and out of all the trees here. It was very comfortable to ride around in the shade with the breeze. Karol and I teamed up and played follow the leader as we wove in and out of the big trees. Storm did very well both leading and following for the game, and we had fun crossing the water and walking around. I stood and chatted with some people for a while, and then Erin and I played follow the leader and practiced the rein positions. Then she encouraged me to take Storm away from the herd and play approach and retreat with the group of horses to build his confidence in going away from the group. He did just fine with that, which I expected, but it was a really good test. We chilled out for a while more, and then I decided to work on a little bit of trot stuff in the round pen, and Erin coached me on developing more control with Storm since he gets more impulsive when we move to a higher gait. It was nice to have the suggestions and help when I got a little stuck. I decided that was about enough for the day, and hopped down when Storm was standing really still.
I headed back and untacked him and grabbed my 45' line to take him up to the pond for a dip since he was a bit sweaty. I was pleased to see that the sweat patterns were all very even, which meant that the saddle was sitting well, and we were moving together. He didn't want to go into the pond very far, but that was ok, he splashed around for a bit and then we grazed for a while. I made one last stop at the trailer to ask him to go in just to make sure that he was still responding well to that. I put him back in his pen and then headed in for dinner since I was hungry by that time!