Friday, March 9, 2012

Where We've Been

I've gotten healed up enough to get back to riding some. Harley and I had two decent rides. One was walking mostly, with a few abrupt one-rein stops. A bit of trot, with quick transitions. I was focusing on getting him stopped quick, for better emergency reactions. He didn't look real happy with the quick transitions, especially after we'd spent a good part of a lesson focused on softer, lighter transitions.

Romeo and I had a bit of fun. I have a notification sound on my phone that's much like the !bang! of a shotgun. I asked Jen to send me a few random messages, and had the phone volume cranked up. The thought was - if Mo can stay calm through the sound, he can be easier transitioned to actual gunfire, and maybe, just maybe, not spook wildly. He did great for the shot sounds, and in fact, was more concerned with the trees creaking in the wind than he was the !bang!fire sounds. Distant neighbors were zipping around out of sight on a dirt bike, and that sound definitely had his ears. Moreso than the gunfire ... Ironic, as the lady I bought Romeo from "shot at him more than once" when they caught him cribbing on their daughter's play house. Some people.. ya know? Too cheap to buy a cribbing collar, so they used bullets instead.... morons

I longed Harley Wednesday. I had full intentions on riding, but he had other plans. He tore off in a bucking, kicking fit on the free line. It's become a pattern, three straight work sessions straight, and I've had enough. A bit of good running discipline, and a lot of harsh words were thrown his way. He continued a bit, and so did I. I decided rather than ride, I put the neck stretcher on, and sent him back out. He was most unimpressed. I then set off the phone notification a few times standing with him on the ground. No reaction. I stuck a foot in the stirrup, and leaned over him, repeat. Still no reaction. Sat on his back, !bang! no reaction. Urged him on at the walk. !bang! No reaction again. A few more steps, !bang! Nothing... Lots of praise and reward for the calmness as he only flickered an ear my way and didn't shoot out forward.

Two different evenings in a row over the weekend, I fired off a bunch of .22 blank rounds by the house while the boys ate their suppers. I got lots of reaction, ranging from running out of the stalls to a bit of goofy trotting about. I kept the shots going until they eased and stood quiet but alert. That is a reaction I'm okay with. If spooked by gunfire, stop in your tracks and find it. Take off and bolt? Not a suitable reaction, especially when I'm on board.

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