09.02.26: Still Walking up a Storm

So we're still walking. The weather was nice today, so I decided we'd better take advantage of it while we had the chance.

I headed outside, and decided to start by grooming him since I knew he'd need it. He looked like he might have been sweating a little bit, poor guy's hot just standing around. So we both set to grooming him. It took less than 5 swipes of the curry and I had to shake out the hair. The floor was COVERED in "waffles" and a lot more hair from the shedding blade as he was working on the other side. I was very glad that it was warm enough to wear the leather coat since the hair slides right off of it, unlike most of my other heavier coats.

Finally I decided that was about as much as I could stand for a while, and headed outside. I started off in the arena with the hand walking exercise. Storm took right to it again, and did fairly well shortening his stride while maintaining a working pace. He began to lick and chew vigorously before we made one full lap. He began to do an odd thing with his mouth a little while after that. It seemed like he was stretching his jaw, and then he would lick and chew after he did it every time. It wasn't out and out yawning, but more of opening his mouth a little bit, then twisting his head some, mostly to the left, while opening and closing his mouth a little bit and then he would lick and chew. He did this repeatedly as we walked with the short stride.

As we came around towards the end of the arena with the round pen, Storm began to get very antsy, and was doing some motions that were pretty interesting. Of course, next to his shoulder it is a bit difficult to see exactly what he's doing, but it felt like a piaffe type motion. We headed into the corner, and he began to get really distracted with something in the woods at the back of the arena. I didn't feel comfortable trying to keep him in line, so I swung away from the rail and simply asked him to follow me while focused down the middle of the arena. By the time we approached the other end, I felt like I had his attention back again, and we turned back to the rail, and I asked him to move up beside me again and we resumed our focused walking.

He did pretty well this time, though he was continually doing the mouth/jaw stretching thing. As we came around again, I decided to head up to the field to check and see how we were doing with his confidence up there. I returned to walking backwards as it is easier to support him walking backwards as opposed to being beside him. Its also a little easier to handle if he spooks as I'm in a much better position to ask him to control himself, and am at a safer distance.

We headed into the field and began our usual routine of lazy circles. He was a little nervous, but managed to settle down reasonably well pretty quickly. He continued to yoyo in and out of confidence as we worked our way around the field. He would find something to distract himself with and get worried, and then I would have to bring him back down again. At one point, he spooked at something in the woods and did the plant-all-four-feet-in-preparation-to-bl
ast-off-in-any-direction thing. I'll take that over bolting for sure! He tried to get all jumpy at another point, but I managed to shut that down too. I could tell that he probably needed to be able to move out and blow off some steam, but I had already worked for a while in the arena, and I think that someone was already in the arena.

We finally headed back in, and got started feeding for the night. Since it was warm this evening all the horses were back out, so early feeding is fine. We finished up for the evening and put everybody back out again and closed up for the night.

Next Page:
09.03.08: Twice Over