Saturday, May 4, 2019

Now it's Dans turn to have tea with fear

So... I finished early at work today. Thank goodness... as I had already done 29 horses (not counting the tweaks I did to the rest of Angela's) that week and I was tired. So.... I'm okay with finishing at 4:30 on a Friday after putting in multiple 13 hour days. I decided to try to do some XC schooling so that I could make sure we were still on track before Windridge next weekend. So... I got to Ashland and decided to be smart and put in studs and wear my XC vest. I wanted to do some hacking too but figured I could hang it on a fence post or jump and enjoy my hack. It was HOT. Steamy hot! 

We got out there and did a 10 minute warm up, trying to be good. I started trotting and was giggling. Either the injection in that shoulder bursa really loosened him up or Dan was just excited to be out... but he felt all rubbery and loose and gumby. :) We did a tiny bit and then started to jump a few things. We started with the smaller fences and I was excited because he felt good! I felt good! Like... we were rocking and rolling and ready to tackle some bigger things. I just wanted to get a feel first. But there was a cabin at the edge of the water I wanted to jump, and two novice vertical coops in a one stride, and a few other fun things. Well, we were just about to really start doing things and suddenly Danny became very concerned. He froze, his heart started beating out of his chest and.... he was staring up near the stadium arena. The damn sprinklers were on!! He could hear the noise and could kind of see something... some movement. He freaked. He tried to bolt. I managed to get him settled enough to not bolt but he was freaking out. I decided to just go on a trail ride and we'd come back and jump. So we did. But holy moly! The poor guy. He was so scared. He practically flew out of there. I tried my best to keep him under wraps but he was power trotting like a 10+ warmblood with the stride of Man'O War. Soooo bouncy! There was some cantering... but mostly the power trotting. Every time I tried to walk, we jigged sideways or piaffed and passaged. It was funny in some ways, but he was really scared and I couldn't keep him under wraps without hanging on his face. :( Even with the jump bit on. (Kelli's 2 ring elevator). Poor guy. We managed to get to the back field and I let him have a little bit of a gallop. He was flying but didn't switch into the last gear because we were heading back to the sprinklers (even though we were on opposite corners of Ashland)... and yes, I did that on purpose. :) 

I finally managed to get him breathing again and we meandered our way back towards XC. Except there was a lot of stopping, staring, and pounding hearts. I tried to be patient and give him time to process and realize there wasn't anything scary. But that was part of the problem. The scary thing was never visualized and figured out... and then it just vanished. It did make me smile though, because as I was talking to him, I was explaining how he was the brave one when I was scared and now it was m turn to help him. He had to "make tea with his fear". :) I told him...the worst thing that could happen was that he would get wet and that he was brave and could get through this, even though it was a super scary hissing noise and that I agreed with him that the sprinklers seemed like they were out to get him. 

I managed to get him into the XC field and after a few random zig zag power trots in an attempt to figure out where to be afraid or not afraid.. he finally settled enough that I was comfortable trying to jump a few things. I started super small because I figured he might be super distracted. Good thing as he barely gave them a thought. He trotted a few small logs and jumped a few small coops, but was still distracted enough. I think I got him over one more BN sized jump and then I just gave up on getting in a productive school, praised him for being brave and we headed home. Only I could barely get him "home" because we were getting closer to where the sprinklers were. I eventually got him back to the trailers and untacked him, hosed him off (he was sooooo sweaty from nerves and humidity) and everything put up. He was still starting into the distance on full alert but at least this time he wasn't literally shaking in his skin. I decided to walk him up to stadium so that he could SEE that there wasn't anything, so we did that. He was brave but was still on edge.

Poor guy. We managed a fitness ride though I guess. ;) 

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