Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Harley 09-28-10

The time had come to leave the front yard, and get Harley to his new work environment.

I caught him with minimal effort. Halter waistband dressed, cookie in hand, I walked confidently to him (after he trotted to the back of the pasture). He took a few steps away, and when I calmly said, "Whoa", he stopped, and looked at me again. Haltered, I led him to the leadrope, and then out of the pasture.

To the trailer, for a quick brush and more fly spray. He flinched very little at back legs getting sprayed. So, I got brave again, and grabbed my hoof pick. I very carefully lifted all four feet. He gave them well, though reluctant to pick them up. He didn't wiggle around or fight me - I didn't even get tail-swished. Success...

I took off the short leadrope, and replaced it with a slightly longer one, with a leather popper on the end. I also put my dressage gloves on. I wasn't going to lose hand skin on this adventure.

To the arena we went. Well, we tried. At first, I realized Ransom was still out and free. Big mistake. R and I tried to shuffle Ransom to his paddock, and he fought us. Fought us hard. With much forcing, Ransom slumped to his paddock. During all this, of course, Harley is on the end of my lead rope, scared spitless. Poor Kid. He wanted to respect me, respect whatever I was doing twirling the lead rope, but also stay WAY out of Ransom's way. LOL I praised Harley for staying 90% calm during Ransom's "arrest".

Harley got to the arena after that without effort. I walked through some stickie mud, and he followed very carefully. We got to the high part of the arena, and I proceeded to try to lunge him. He tugged on me some, pulled me around the arena a while, then realized that to get me off his nose, he needed to leave the rope loose. To leave the rope loose, he had to stay on a nice circle. To stay on a nice, calm circle, he had to slow down.

It was Gawgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. He's got the most amazing trot. I Wuv It!

We also worked on "whoa". The first two or three took tugs,, of varying significance. By the end, Harley learned that, if he watches my body language, and stops when I get in front of his shoulder, stopping is very painless. I got a nice, solid halt, facing up to me each time. Happily, he doesn't stop and then barge into my space - he will "face up", and take a step or two towards me, then halt, and wait for a cue to come forward. very very nice.

I also did a few turns on fore, turns on haunches. These all went a little better. Then, onto desensitizing. I tossed the rope at him, at his back, butt, shoulders, neck, front legs, back legs. The only place I got the slightest panic? Back legs, left side. I had to toss the rope a half dozen times before he relaxed. I have heard natural horsemanship trainers all say "if you do it on one side, you have to do it on the other, too." Romeo and Harley have both proven them wrong at this. Once Romeo was calm on one side, he was simple on the other. Harley - exact same way. EXACT same way..

He did very very well. We played together for about a half hour, maybe a few minutes more. When I walked him back to the trailer, I stopped a few times, and he stopped with me. Really cool! I walked on, he walked on.

I am, as Mrs. Mom would put it so gracefully, the Boss Hoss. Alpha Mare! CEO Chief Horse-Feeder... (or something like that).

He will enjoy two days off. Me? I get one, then it's back to Ransom, and a three day weekend.

09/27/10 Ransom Reminds me

Cooler weather, happier pony.

Ransom and I enjoyed a 40minute dressage dance. He was light in the canter, though not as collected as I might have preferred. He was *forward* at the trot. It was entirely refreshing. Go Pony Go!

His transitions were a bit stickie. UP transitions were NOT collected.. Something we've lost in muscle from all the hot summer and wet conditions. He reassured me in the peak of the ride he's still got it, just not as many as I would prefer. We'll get back there.

As a "treat" for his good behavior, I set up two ground poles, trot distance apart. The first approach, he startled me with a hop over both, landing in canter. Silly Boy! A little excited, are you? Then he settled for a nice forward hop hop trot over 'em. Much cuter!

Total work, about 40 minutes. Bliss... Beautiful weather, happy critter... Oh! And giggling rider, toO!

Harley 09-27-10

I walked out after work, determined, but not forceful. I had the halter and lead rope in hand. I walked towards him, and he took off. I got almost caught up to him, and he ran off again.

*thinking thinking thinking* OK, let's loose the leadrope, and focus on just the halter. Where can I put the halter that it's not so scary and obvious to him.... hmmmmm.....

I had the halter tied across my waistband. A very new designer belt I'm going to market. :) "The horse catcher belt". Me and my new fashion statement walked across the pasture again. Harley trotted to the back, and I started to already feel defeated. Confident, I took a slow deep breath, and kept walking.

I walked up to him, he backed away a few steps. I took a few more slow steps towards him, and as long as he stayed still, I moved very slow.

I got to him, let him sniff my hand, offered just two of the tiny cookies I had, which he ate with nervous energy. I carefully untied the halterbelt (*grin*), and put it over his neck. I figured, "That's a start. If he backs away, I can grab him still I think." I gave him another cookie or two, and adjusted the halter so it was over his nose.

Caught! Carefully, and slowly, I held the bottom of the halter, and led Harley to the leadrope. I clipped the lead rope to his halter, and started walking again. Harley followed along, with a good six feet in between us. He wasn't comfortable in my space, and I felt a feeling of, "I'd rather not do this, Lady."

We got out of his pasture without incident, and over to the trailer. I held the leadrope in one hand, and brushed him with the other. Back legs highly sensitive, he didn't want to stand still. I got out the fly spray, and squirted a few times. He flinched. After about a dozen squirts, he quit fidgeting, only wiggling when I squirted back legs. I didn't even try to pick up hooves, as my place is 98% mud, no rocks in sight, especially in the pasture portion.

I led him around a little, worked on stop & go, all were great. Tried a few turns on the forehand (disengage the hindquarters), which went fairly well. I also made an attempt at turns on the haunches - those didn't go as well. Leg closest to me didn't cross in front, but kept crossing behind - his attempt at getting away from me, I'm sure.

I led him a little more, and only did a little backing up - not to get him "out of my space", as I stood very closeby when I did it. This also went very well. Crooked, but well.

Success! I was able to interact with Harley for about a half hour, without any major blow up or incident. He haltered, he didn't run away terrified. Of course, he also didn't hardly relax - I didn't see any serious signs of relaxing... Once or twice when I scratched his forehead just on the forelock, he lowered his head some. No lick & chew, no hind leg cocked, no heavy sighs, nothing.

I'll settle for accepted the work. We'll work on being buddies soon enough ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harley 09-26-10 PM

I went out later in the day, with attempts in mind to catch and halter Harley. Halter him, pet on him, hand him a cookie or three, and unhalter and be gone.

He had other plans.

I chased, I tried walking slowly, I tried showing absolutely zero interest in him every time he looked my way... But NOTHING was working.

After fifteen minutes of trying, I quit. I walked over, flipped his feed bucket upside down, and sat on it. I looked at the ground, every so often glancing Harley's way. Finally, I settled for Harley looking at me curious a few times. He stood butt facing me, looking up over his shoulder.

I went inside, absolutely frustrated. I didn't intend on "making him work", but all his running around wore him out physically, and me mentally. I never got upset, I didn't have any emotional reaction, at all...

Later that evening, Jennifer showed up at the house, walked into his pen, and Harley trotted off to the back of it, behind a cluster of trees. She gently said , "Whoa, hey now", and slowly walked back to him. No halter, no cookies, no bribery. She walked right up to him... RIGHT to him. *sigh* She invited me to join her. And so I walked up slowly. As I approached, Harley tried to get away. Jen cajoled him into waiting until I got there. He sniffed my nose, I pet on him a bit, we talked and left the pasture.

Hoping after Sunday Harley would find me "safe", I prayed Monday would go just a touch better than Sunday.

Harley 09-26-10 AM

I went out to feed breakfast, and Harley greeted me with a nicker early. I dumped his grain, tossed him more hay, and stood by watching. He ate a little less nervous.

After breakfast, before going to church, I had a hint of free time. I went outside, and found Harley munching grass.

I walked up to him. He walked away. He got just far enough away to be out of reach. Monster... so I walked up gently and without making ANY eye contact with him.

I was hoping I would get to scratch on him, and love on him, but such was not the case. Harley took a little pat on the nose, then walked away.

uh oh LittleMan. Working with you could be a challenge, if I can't even get my paws on you.. geez, somebody here needs to show you I'm harmless.

Harley 09-25-10

I walked out to his pasture, cookies and grain in-hand. It was Saturday, Harley's first day here, and his first supper.

I dumped Ransom's grain.
I dumped Romeo's grain.
I called out to Harley.
And he didn't come.
I called again.
Still nothing.

Knowing Harley has had grain before, and probably just wasn't used to my schedule, I walked out to him.

He was shy, timid, and a bit more than unsure of this new-smelling lady in his territory. I reached my hand towards his nose, and offered him up a cookie. He very carefully put his lips out, trying to grab cookie-only. Munch munch. I showed him the grain in the can, and told him, "Okay buddy. Thissa way. Too much here to hand feed you."

And I lured him. A little grain at a time in-hand, and a little walking. I walked Harley all the way to his bucket, and showed him where supper would go.

He ate, happily, but kept a cautious eye on me, obviously still concerned I was nearby. Not wanting to disturb digestion, I went on my way, back inside. As I left, Harley nickered at me. You're welcome, LittleMan.

The Weather has Cleared

I felt like I could jump and sing on Saturday. I arrived home Friday, 9-24, ready for ride. Romeo and I had taken a little walk in the drizzle Tuesday (9-21), but he slid in some mud, and smashed my knee into the walk through gate. Totally, 100% not his fault.. The poor guy carried my hobbling self to the trailer, and then politely walked back to his stall, wrinkles over his eyes apologizing. Poor critter.

Anyway, I digress. I got home Friday, ready for ride! Much to my dismay, it POURED again at my house. One of those small-reaching "cells of storm so ugly it's pink on the radar center" bursts hit my house - the road was flooded, my side yard flooded, the pasture low spots flodded. Heck, there was a river across the driveway. My very sad depressed self stayed inside, and pouted. I was none too happy about the crappy weather. I took it out on my house, and cleaned like a ninja.

Finally, Saturday, it was done raining. However, somewhere in the day, my body decided I was dehydrated. A severe headache took over my plans. I drank and drank and drank (water, that is), and it eased up, some. Went outside to feed the boys, and the headache came back with just a little sweat. Back indoors I went.

The highlight of my Saturday horse-world? Harley arrived! I haven't yet got good Harley pictures, but I'll get ya a few. Harley is four (?Ithink?), out of Skys Blue Boy. He's a little fellow, about 15H tall. Harley was delivered, and I released him into his new pasture, adjacent to Ransom. I figure my senior showhorse can mutter good vibes to him over the days. Harley is here a while, for me to ride, educating him, and me. I'll be including his name in the titles, and adding a new keyword for easy search.

Sunday, it was finally nice enough to get things done.
I grabbed Ransom, his twisted wire bit, and a lunge line. I figured at most, I'd lunge & ride bareback. At least, I'd lunge. Well, the rain brought lots of green grass. High green grass, in fact. The arena was tall with grass, lush yummy grass. It nearly broke my heart to mow it, taking away some of Ransom's munchy goodness. Anyways, I lunged him a while, and found on the side reins in his twisted bit, he was very upright.. Hmm.. how else to say it... He had his neck arched more than previous sessions, and still flexed nice at the poll. And very forward.

Ransom lunged about 20 minutes, then stood patiently while I cleared the poles, standards, and cones from the arena to mow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

9/20/10 The Show That Didn't

I got in great rides last week, despite the weather. The arena held up just good enough, and we were able to work through all the gaits, and mentally ride through the two tests.

However, it absolutely poured down all weekend, both at my house, and at the show grounds. The show manager (barn owner) and I already had a little scuffle about registration. She was clearly irked I didn't register earlier, and I was equally annoyed I didn't have control over the previous weeks' weather to know if I'd be able to register. Suddenly, I was owing extra funds for not registering early enough, and not "committing seriously" to the event. Nevertheless, I obeyed all the rules, and got about my weekend of planning.

Saturday afternoon, after cleaning tack, washing & ironing clothes, polishing boots, and clipping Ransom, I checked the radar, again. Pouring down both here, and there.
Email came in around 6pm, suggesting that it was now up to popular opinion whether the show would go on, due to the weather. I stayed quiet. Honestly, I didn't "have a dog in the hunt", since my monies hadn't been paid. We were to get an official answer "by 6pm at the latest".

At 6:15, another email pours in, now containing pictures and another "please tell me what to do" request. So I did, sort of..
Here's a thought to consider, if I have any say at all in the matter..Are the horses going to risk injury in the soft muddy grass? Is any show ribbon in the series worth injury? If I get there, and see no safe sound place to warm up, I will pay my tab, and leave. I love to show, but I feel a greater sense of responsibility to not put my horse in harm's way. Maybe consider if you would put your own horses in the riding areas to warm up for a show such as this...
The response I got, was something like this...
The only reason I'm considering it is some folks are begging me to have the show. If you are concerned for your horse's safety, and you have every right to be, scratch now, for no charge.

And I did. The pictures still bug me. There was a covered arena for show, but that's only 10% of the overall ride. The warmup was going to be held outside, in grassy areas, obviously completely saturated with water. Puddles covered the outdoor arena, and areas around those marked for riding.

I love blue ribbons, I love to show. But I love Ransom more.

The rains have continued since, thus my lack of riding. This afternoon, my bigger dog, MacKenzie is going to the vet, so I don't see saddle time tonight, either. Either way, this week, I will be going down the road aboard a horse, even if I'm covered in my oilskin coat, and admit my saddle might get wet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

09/13/10 Where to Go

There's a show next Sunday, the 19th.
Mosquitoes have taken over my property.
Any riding the next few days, if we can conquer the bugs, will be short.

I have my registration printed, filled in, scanned, and ready to email.
But I'm wondering "What's the use?"
Ransom hasn't had near enough rides to even display TL 1 & 2. When he's good, he's amazing. When he's not, it's horrendous. My last ride at that barn was one of lack of practice, stiffness, and general grumpies.
I miss being in my show clothes
My tack all spit-shined clean.
I miss my horse being shiny
With clean short mane, and combed out tail.
I miss feeling like I can strut down centerline, halt at X
And smile knowing I'm "ready".
Being brave & bold
I'll probably email this in anyways
Totally prepared to chicken-out & scratch.
But I really miss the show ring, and the feeling of even a few minutes of brief success...


Romeo and I got up early, before the morning sky released the heavy sunshine. It was daylight, but not by much. Western gear, bit & all. Off to the arena we went.

He tip toed over the dewey grass, in a long walking warmup. I felt his backhalf loosen up, as his walk gained swing. Up to a trot, and I got a jog. A light, low headed jog. Serene, almost.

Brave, I tested his bare hooves on the wet gras at canter. He tip toed, best I can explain it. It was the lightest, slowest, gentlest canter I've had on him ever at first-go. Usually, I can settle him into that gait after ten minutes of canter circles. However, that morning, he was easily into it.

I played with collection & a loose rein. We "came & went" at the trot, extending & shortening his stride. He was agreeable and behaved. A few deer sprinted across the new mowed pasture, and while his ears "looked" his mind didn't. Very refreshing.

Maybe Romeo knew it was a day of remembrance & mourning. Maybe he felt it in my blood. I had already watched some of the news recapturing Ground Zero, the Towers engulfed in flames, rescue workers shuffling screaming citizens down the roadways. Maybe Romeo knew I had other emotional things on my mind, things I can't put words to, things I want to fix and don't know how. I'm not sure. But that little fellow's spirit and way of going completely mirrored my mood. And the ride fit my needs exactly.


Friday evening, well, early evening.. It was still a little hot, but not 110F+ like it's been. A very sporadic breeze made the weather almost tolerable.

Ransom and I had an amazing, awesome ride. He was goofy on the lunge line warmup, insisting that canter left was highly more amusing than trot left. Right was like always.

I hopped on, and I got much of the same for about the first 15 minutes. Heading right, steady-eddy quiet & collected. Heading left, he kept insisting he needed to canter rather than trot. It was funny, he'd trot light, get a little faster, then push up to a canter, and was less than agreeable going back to trot.

I laughed at all his new found energy. I was impressed that, in the heat, he was still so eager to work. His trot left felt good once I got him settled in between my legs (translate: Heavy half-halt or three, and he began acting more like normal). I found his stretch-down trot circles easy to get into, hard to get out of. He would leave his neck low, over-bend his nose, and if I added too much leg to get his head up, that nose would fling outward.

A very nice ride, and I was glad to be back in the tack again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

09/09/10 Hurricane Hermine

Hurricane-Pain-in-My ... Oops.. Rated PG-site, behave myself..

Hurricane Hermine slammed into Southern Texas / Northern Mexico late Monday, into early Tuesday. But that didn't stop it from bringing a lot of rain with her.

Not just a little rain, but according to the amount of water running across roads around my house, and the enormous puddles that now occupy my side yard, I'd say we got about 10"+ of the wet stuff. Some of it came as just rain, but for Tuesday and Wednesday early morning, it came as windy sideways rain, with heavy downpours.

The boys are muddling through, figureatively and literally. There's mud in all the normal places, and some abnormal places. The weather calls for a bit less rain today, though I'm hopeful the shower this morning was the end of it. Then the rain can begin to soak up into the ground, roll to lower places, and give me and my outdoor children some relief.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

09/04/10 Chiropractor Ransom

Ransom, and Alduca went to see Dr. Robin Robinett Saturday morning. We were greeted by their very cheerful staff upon arrival, and the boys were settled into stalls with hay & water. Wow! Red Carpet treatment for two normal senior horses! Wow! Alduca was loving his stall. Ransom? Not so much. Even in luxury, it still felt like a jailcell, and he let everyone know how he felt with pinned ears, and shaking head.

Duca went first, and got a good report. He is going to get a month more of solid groceries, then another month of lunging, followed up by another exam. He popped & massaged like a champ, a well behaved gentleman. Jen got a good report on Duca's progress, and can rest knowing he's now "all lined up".

Ransom at first, seemed a little troubled by all the personal attention. With a vet tech at his head, me at his shoulder, Dr Robin by his side, poking & proding, it took some effort to relax him. Dr Robin found a pressure point, a "snuggle me spot", and after nuzzling on Ransom a few minutes, he finally relaxed, and was "ready for work."

What she found ..
Pelvis on right side, waaay out! Neck out in a few spots. Left withers, right about where the saddle front sits, out too, and sensitive.
With his joints all back in spots, and his pelvis back like it should be, he'll no longer muscle irregularly, and should be able to leg yield @ trot heading right-to-left.

I'm insanely hopeful. I mean, ridiculously optimistic. Dr Robin explained to me after the full chiro workup that, in Ransom's case, with his age, and activity level, owners can expect to see an 85% improvement overall. She prescribed some anti-inflammatory herbs, and recommended two to three days off.

Jen and I carefully loaded the boys back up in the trailer, and drove cautiously home. When we unloaded Ransom back to his own trailer, and arrived at the dirt road to my house, I handed R the keys. "Take the truck back home. I'm handwalking him to the house." I wasn't risking the bumpy dirt road messing up the good that was just done.

Currently, we're battling the eastern side of Hurricane Hermine. Due to all the heavy rains, Ransom's getting himself some extra time off. He hasn't seemed super stiff, or super lazy. I'm anxious to get him back on the end of a lunge line, and underneath me, to see how he goes. I really hope this eased his masked discomfort, and we can complete some of the lateral movements I thought he couldn't do.

09/03/10 Ransom Working

I grabbed Ranson first out, lunged in side reins, five minutes each way. He was limber, loose, and his cheerful normal self.

Then I hopped on, and we worked. Not the mosey ramblings from Thursday, but actual work. All three gaits, on the circles, and on the rail. I also pushed for a few stretching circles at trot, the right ways going better than left. Still, his gaits were up, correct, and mostly collected.

He was very well behaved, and we were able to enjoy each other , which I appreciated. To walk him out, we left the arena, and wandered pasture a little. It was fun, and somewhat refreshing. An easy ride, on an uncomplicated horse.

Total time, about 45 minutes. The end of Ransom's work, for a while.

09/02/10 Just Strolling

Ransom and I launched into my four day weekend with exhuberance. *giggle* Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. We wandered into it.

I lunged him for about fifteen minutes, no side reins, no saddle, in Romeo's pasture. Due to the missing item from earlier in the week, the boys were moved around. Romeo had performed his part of the search squad, and Ransom needed a chance. Rather than lunge Ransom stationary, I mobile-lunged. We'd go a circle, and progress ten to twenty feet down the fenceline from where we started. I got all the way to the opposite pasture end, changed direction, and repeated the exercise. Ransom picked up the game pretty quickly, and was tugging me to extend the circles, get the lunge done over with quicker.

I took him back to the stalls, replaced the halter for his bit, and hopped on. We strolled on a loose rein, searching. We walked as much of the pasture as both of us could take the heat for, and quit. I think we walked another fifteen minutes. My seat was sore, from pony with high withers.. :)

So we didn't race over fences into the new month, and my four day vacation. We wandered, strolled, moseyed, chillaxed. Right around the pasture.

09/03/10 Romeo Functioning

Romeo and I, gathered up in our western gear, headed to the arena. We opened and closed gates, rode all three gaits, and just got focused on canter/halts..

When the skies opened up
And it poured
Rained a downpour, right on my saddle.
By then, I'd given up, seeing the lighter rain,
And started back towards the barn.

We hurried to his stall, where I undressed him, apologized for the shorter ride, explained, "I don't do downpours, or thunderstorms", and we had both. The stupid weather shortened a planned 45 minute ride right down to about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

08/31/10 I Didn't Lose It

R was out shredding the pasture, and lost an item while sitting aboard the tractor. When I got home, he had a metal detector in-hand, and began walking pasture bit by bit. I knew I could try to help, but had a better idea than just looking by foot.

Romeo!! Hey Romeo! You wanna be a big boy & help Momma out? Good! Get your rump over here, and wear this saddle. It's time to be a working pony!! Romeo, his western saddle & western bit, and I, started walking.

And we walked.
And we looked.
And we walked.
And we looked.

While we didn't find what we were looking for, I learned a few things, and had a spooky fun moment.
# Romeo follows my head, and my seat, better than I ever realized. I caught us a few times, I'd turn my head, hands wouldn't move, and his head & body followed my head.
# He neckreins a whole lot better than I give him credit for. We were scouring the ground, looking all about, and a few times, I recognized that I had one hand on the reins, the other on my leg resting, and he was following every cue
# He'll go wherever I point, so watch out for low hanging limbs. *giggle* Thump!
# He still handles spooks the same as always...

Spooks! We got away from the barn, in the thick trees & brush, and wandered into a small clearing. Suddenly, Mo stopped hard with a little shake. A doe and her fawn scampered out of my pasture, into the neighbors, obviously scared. The baby ran and ran, stopped hard, looked back at Momma, and ran again. Momma, however, stood, tail flagged, and watched us. Realizing we weren't a threat, she walked off calmly. Romeo and I took a few steps down that fenceline, and I resumed my looking, cautious. Just then, the neighbor's one big dog, and two little dogs, came bursting from their yard, towards the doe, big dog leading the charge. The doe took charge. That dog wasn't getting her, or her baby. She reared up, kicking at the dog, and then chased the dog. The dogs were all barking nuts, the little ones approaching big dog in some effort to "get" the doe. That doe hasn't having any big of it. Not one little teensie tiny bit. She charged the dogs multiple times, backing them up in fear nearly to their little back yard chain link fence. Big dog finally got a little more aggressive, and chased her just a little ways across their pasture. She turned back, and charged big dog one more time, before big dog retreated, and ran back home.

During that whole event, I was up on Romeo (of course), watching. They were probably a couple hundred yards off, but with all three dogs barking hysterically, and that doe charging, Romeo never spooked, never startled. He, in fact, took a few walk-on steps, like he was annoyed I was asking him to watch the dogs. As we finally marched back on course, the doe glanced up at us, and went back to grazing quietly. The dogs found a new target to chase, Romeo. We kept on walking, they quickly realized there was a line of their owner's barbed wire fence between us, and went on back home.

Romeo is Romeo. His little tiny spook, squirting maybe 3-4", then halting, is just about my favorite thing about him. When he spooks, he doesn't run off, he squirts just a little, then stands, facing the spook, whatever it is. It's exhilirating, and comforting at the same time.

08/28/10 Romeo

Grabbed Mo and all his goodies and off to the arena we go's. Western, lunge line warmup. Mo was NONE impressed with this idea, bucking, farting, and generally trying to express his displeasure with this limited circle he was forced to cooperate in. He desperately wanted to play "catch me if you can, we're in the arena", but I wasn't up for the game.

I set up a trail pattern "L" shape with my poles, scattered the standards all about, put three cones in a line across a short side, and set two other poles in irregular locations. Romeo often thinks arena means "run, run fast, don't think", since that's been mostly what the newer, larger arena has been for him (using the trail and the road for concentrated walk/trot/halt work). To combat this, I kept his mind busy in warmups, over the poles, through the "L" at walk, and trot. Some halts in odd places, and backup through the "L". A few rollbacks to trot, a handful of trot/halt/backups. He quickly got the hint, and relaxed his body & his brain.

So, off to some canter work, big circles, back half of the arena. I swear I heard either a snake or a rat scrambling through the grass for a while. Romeo was unbothered. His canter circles started out snappy, but settled into a nice, easy, gentle gait.

After the warmup,and the serious canter circles, I scoured the property.. What can we do? What can we do? What do I have easy access to that he could benefit from? Ah yes, the gate. Let's go open the rope gate a handful of times, in, out, in, out, in, out, in. Romeo let out a HUGE sigh, questioning, "Mom, are you serious?! I get it! Work the gate! Let's move ON!" I scoured again in my eyes.. what else is there?

Oh yes, the muddy pond water. The pond was a byproduct of the larger arena and pasture work this past spring. Places had to be elevated, therefore, other places had to be lowered. The pond is a two-set hole layout of sorts, the larger, deeper of those still has about 6" of water in the lowest spot. Romeo and I walked over to it, he investigated, he sniffed, and he danced around the water perimeter, totally unpleased with the notion of walking through getting his pretty hooves wet. I finally convinced him to put his nose to it. He blew hard at it, and got splashed in the face. With a heavy sigh of recognition, he walked through the edge of the water. After much repetition, Romeo was splashing through the pond from anywhere I wanted him to go. I asked for halt twice in the middle deeper part, and he complied.

It was funny - and it's how he handles the uncertain. Look at it, approach slowly, sniff sniff, touch with the nose, see it doesn't bite back, and give in. At some point, I ought to capture a video of it on some other item he's unsure of. It's really quite funny, and since I know how he'll handle it, I know as long as it won't hurt him, it's good to push him up to whatever it is.

08/28/10 Ransom

Ransom and I packed it up hunter and headed to the arena. I had trot poles set up, the crossrail assembled, and all my things in order.

He warmed up nicely with just the lunge line. No side reins, since Thursday was so absolutely amazing, I saw no need to force it a second time.

I hopped aboard, and we played together for about 40 minutes. All the gaits, and some of the trot poles. They were elevated with the rail razors. Ransom was none impressed, and on the first go, knocked one side down, then the next go, another. I considered dismounting to fix them, but called myself "lazy turd", and left them fallen. He needed to realize that by knocking them down, he wasn't getting out of work. Instead, he had to work a little harder to navigate through them cleanly.

I wasn't disappointed. After three railrazors were relocated, he realized the game wasn't going to satisfy, and I had about four or five clean go's through. You can be sneaky, big pony, but you will not succeed. mwahahahahaha

Cooler weather be blessed - the lighter humidity brings out a much nicer horse, and a much easier set of rides.