Sunday, December 10, 2017

Backwards is Forwards

Seems counter intuitive right? But going backwards means going forward many times with horses. So that is what we have done. I have taken steps back, stopped any riding, and gone back to groundwork. He knows it, and knows it well, but our videos showed a lack of respect and challenging of me not only in the saddle, but also on the ground. I just didn't push to fix it that day, because I had 'other things' I needed to accomplish in my mind. Lesson learned, don't blow by what you might think is small stuff at that moment!

And so with a new flag stick and 12' white tree line lead in hand, we did our first session and corrected his challenging attitude on the line. The next session was nearly two weeks later due to traveling for Thanksgiving, and boy was he a typical Arab that day!  On the line he quickly came around, and then when I turned him loose to play in the round pen I saw this "Arab" like he has never been before. Unlike Tesla did, Prophecy does not typically run around and "snort and blow" when he plays.  But that day he did... and dang he looked pretty! I let him blow off some steam, gave a few directions at liberty, and then had a pretty sweaty horse of his own doings...  I missed some of the really floaty trot he has, but the video is still fun to watch!

The following sessions have all gone well (I'm usually out 3x week). I use my flag less and less to enforce my requests, and in one of our liberty sessions did not need to at all unless asking for a canter to the right/clockwise.  I notice that is definitely his "weaker side" for cantering and he struggles to keep it going vs. going left/counter-clockwise.

He cracks me up when he knows he's done good ; when I've stopped to walk up and praise him he nickers at me. He loves being told he's a good boy and got it right 🐴  And of course, he is always trying to help with taking things out of my tack bag while I'm grooming him (at liberty), and even playing with the flag for giggles when I leave it on the ground.

I am slowly adding things back in... The first item was his scoot boots on the fronts which he hadn't worn in ages. I could occasionally hear the over-reach steps, more in one direction of movement than the other. Next we did the same work with this snap on bridle, and once all the parts are in hand, I'll add back on the full saddle set up all the way to including the crupper (which he had little problem with before thankfully). The 'new to me' Synergist arrived just before Thanksgiving ; we also have a new mohair girth on hand and new sheepskin pad that is due to arrive this week (back-ordered) - Scored during black-Friday online deals 👍

When he's moving, he doesn't look as tubby! 

Strike a Pose!

I have been talking to several trainers for his tune-up/restart coming up, somelocal and not ; jotting down notes and attempting to decipher who the best fit is for us...It is going to happen regardless of where we are at when the time comes! (riding without bucks or still stuck on groundwork)

In other news, I have also now measured and cut all the pieces to finish insulating the trailer LQ area and install the foam floor I've had over a year now... Just have to find the time to spend out there putting it in! (probably will happen over vacation)

Just waiting on insulation and flooring to be put in
I also snagged a used SnugPax cantle pack, but I will need to make a few mods to get it working.  The original designer is retiring, but Bobby Marley at Mai Packs has taken over continuing on the product line (which I like their durability and feel way more than Stowaway packs).  Bobby custom designed a cantle pack for the Ghost (which I sold with the saddle) that I loved and I contacted her for help on making this used one work.  I just have a to give a shout out for supremely helpful folks -  She agreed with my thought on how to modify and gave me some ideas for future pack designs. If you are looking for new a saddle pack, check her stuff out! Mai Packs

Lastly, I have to admit, there are times I'm insanely jealous of my friends out riding, or just that they have a horse they can hop on and not worry about anything, but I am learning a lot from the ground as I am approaching it all in a totally different mindset than I did a year ago.  I credit the SET method for that - helping me to work on thinking more like a horse rather than human; how to be a leader to him and give clear and concise directions; to be in the moment, like a horse is. Not wrapped up in my past, his past, our past.  He is a very willing partner when we are out there and wants to work. I can even see some physical changes in he how uses his body now - nose nearly to the ground in a trot on and off the line, and trying to keep his head down when cantering (rather than a more flighty canter). Things I now also see he needs to be able to do comfortably and confidently with the tack on as well before adding a rider. 

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