Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eating my words...

I was NOT, in fact, in for a wild ride. Hee hee....
Let me start from the beginning.

I had plans to meet a friend for a baby play date and the weather wasn't cooperating. But we toughed it out and went anyways and only had to deal with a light drizzle at the end. I'm glad I sucked it up, as I was exhausted and tired from a crazy work week. Anyways, Cindy let me borrow her rope halter and stick as Dan has just about outgrown his. Then she showed me some neat stuff. Natural Horsemanship stuff. We started with some bending and reaching. I took his halter lead and reached behind his wither. As soon as he brought his head around, I would release. Cindy pointed out to make sure that he wasn't just bending his neck, he had to bend his ribcage. Aha.. this could help Fleck too! So he got that down after a few tries and then we moved to disengaging his hindquarters. Or maybe just turning away from me... I can't remember specifically. But when I looked (and I need to remember to be very obvious about looking and bending down at his hocks) at his hiney, he needed to scoot away from me. And quickly. BUT, not run into me or past me. He needed to maintain eye contact with me. That one took a little bit longer, mostly cause I couldn't coordinate my aids. But we got it. So then we progressed to lunging. This really confused me but I got the hang of it eventually. ;) I had to hold the line like reins. And point to where I wanted him to go. So... I lift my right hand and point forward to the right ahead of Dan and he should go. If he doesn't, I bump him on the neck with my stick. Four taps, then stop. Then four harder taps, then stop. He got the hang of it. And he should stay going forward until I ask him to stop. So then to turn him I have two options. Stop the head/shoulders or flip the hindquarters. To flip the hindquarters I need to step in towards him and wave my stick like I'm going to smack his hiney. Similar to what we did in hand. He should flip those hindquarters away from me and turn to face me or then continue on the other direction. The other option is to catch his eye. So I (shoot. let's see if I remember this correctly)... step in front of him and then back up. He should stop and then come into me, maintaining my eye. He's actually pretty good at that because we already do that. Yay.

So then we headed out to the field. And it was fun. She showed me how to "send him" over logs and stuff rather than having to trot alongside him or drive him with the long lines. He did great! He even went down the bank into the water without too much fuss. It took some getting used to but we managed to get it figured out. We did the banks, the ditches, and the water. Then we went to the lake for a little splashing. That's when it started drizzling. But oh well. It was hot and muggy, so it felt nice.

Once we got back to the barn I decided to hop on Danny since Cindy was there and could be my photographer and ambulance driver if needed. Ha! Danny was a star! I put the bridle with reins on him and sidled him up to the trailer and...slid on. He didn't really do anything. He walked forward a few steps and then kept trying to eat grass. Then he went backwards... slowly, but he walked backwards... and wouldn't go forward. So Cindy led him forwards a bit and he didn't care. He kept trying to eat my feet. Hee hee. So then I tried again without the lead and he walked a step or two and then stopped again. So I tried softly tapping him with my calves and saying "walk on" like when we long line. That didn't work, so then I tried kicking. Still nothing. Then I resorted to pony club kicking.... hee hee... Finally, we got a bit of forward. I told him if he would just go forward a few steps, I'd stop him and get off. So he did, so I held up my end of the bargain and stopped him and got off.

No fuss, no muss. Not quite the wild ride, eh!? But.. I have a feeling that may still be coming.

He'll get a the rest of the Summer off again (from riding... we'll still long line, etc) probably and then I'll sit on him again and do a few rides to teach walk, trot, stop, steer, etc and then give him another year off. But I have to admit... it was exciting!!!! And he's so comfy!

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