Monday, October 4, 2010

10/2/10 Harley Bad Dog

*giggle* That's a funny subject heading to even type out!

I caught Harley, I wrapped his legs, feet came easier to check, and off we went.

I got him lunged a little while at the trot, kissed to him, thinking I could extend the trot. Oop! He picked up a nice canter-right, correct lead, and in fact, my first thought was, "Gosh that'll be sweet to ride!"

I reversed him left, and asked again with a kiss. darnit. Wrong lead. I slowed him to a trot, asked again. Wrong lead again. Asked him to slow, he jerked, and pulled, and *zIp*! There goes the lunge line, right through my fingers. OWCH! I let go - well duh! It hurt!
stupid me for not leaving my gloves on. I assumed he was quiet enough he wouldn't pull me, since it hadn't happened. stupid stupid pitiful me.
Took a few minutes, but I caught him. I just asked him to trot out on the line. Pulled on me hard again. This time, gloves on, I felt the glove friction with the line burning. Oop! Then, I let go before the glove leather burned into my palm. OWch again! Bad dog Harley!

Deep breaths ruled as I walked towards him slowly. Muttering to my brain, "Shoulda had my gloves on to begin with. Maybe too soon to canter, dang it. Maybe I'm rushing. Okay, let's catch him, and back up."

I got the line, took him back to the arena middle. We trotted lunge circles, and all was well. His halt was not as great as days previous, but at that point, he was wide-eyed and worried. I got slows to walk, which was better than yanking my hand loose again.

I pointed him over his circular path at trot over two ground poles. At first, he avoided them. Then, he stopped right in front of them. Third trip, he walked through. Finally, fourth trip past, he trotted through. Bounce Bounce! I giggled and praised lavishly. Good Boy Harley! We found something new to do! Reversed, and repeated, with similar initial results, though without the refusing halt.

Finally, I tried some turns on the haunches, turns on the forehand, backing up, and flexing. All went well. Knowing all this, I asked for canter right again. Picked up his lead first try, and I stopped.

Time to desensitize. Lunge whip was nearby, so I grabbed it. Immediately, Harley paniced again. I had a good hold on the line, but that made no difference. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with that lunge whip. I tried not even looking his way while I barely wiggled the end of the whip. No-Go Spooking!

Finally, I got him calmed, as I led him around on the lunge line, swinging the whip tail side to side, letting him follow the whip. I turned, faced him, and swung it while I walked backwards, him forwards. Improvements.. So I barely wiggled the tail facing him, near his shoulder. He jumped, jittered, and worried, but I eventually, finally, got him to let me toss it up over his back gently, and when the deep sighs came, I would back off. A heavy sigh, a little lip licking, and I'd retreat.

By now, it'd been nearly an hour. Harley was a huffin' and a puffin'. I walked him around in hand a while, led him up to the house, and tied him. It took another half hour, with a lot of standing around, polo wraps removed, and then finally I could hose him off. Still a little winded, I let him stand a while longer while I removed some flybot eggs from his legs.

We had a bad day. The baby got scared, and while I didn't react, maybe I didn't do it quick enough. Maybe I went too far, too fast, expected too much.
Will it repeat on Sunday? Or will I have a lesson day with Jen that I can show off all our great achievements?

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