Thank you everyone for the comments, suggestions and articles on my Gemmie post. The equine vet said to not worry too much and retest in 6 months as her numbers were barely elevated but that either more exercise or a grazing muzzle wouldn’t be a bad idea. So…coin toss which one comes first. Probably the dreaded muzzle to be honest. It’s easier even if I don’t like it.
Wednesday I’m usually working at the wound center trying to heal people’s massive foot wounds in spite of their best attempts to do the exact opposite of everything I say. It’s a mental battle that can be very exhausting. Yesterday though I took off for Wyatt’s kindergarten graduation and with a forecast that blissfully promised 5 days of straight up rain storms, I snuck a ride in on the Orange Butthead early on.
I set up the exact same ground pole exercise we did in the lesson: 4 trot poles exiting turning right, bend left to come back the opposite direction, exit turning left and then bed right to come through again.
During the lesson he was a bit unruly going through trying to make them into two jumps with a bounce between. Honestly, I think it was the fact that they went through a jump standard. A standard without an actual jump always blows his poor little mind. It is like he thinks “standards mean jump but there is nothing raised but standards mean jump and I GOOD BOY so I jump any way!“
I didn’t add the standard cuz lazy and 1000% humidity, but I did set up the line of poles slightly off center line like she had them in the lesson.
He warmed up really, really well. Only tried to pull some crap one time at the beginning and only broke to canter once for a few strides. The approach of ignoring it and letting him go as long as he remains in front of my leg is really working. He doesn’t see the point since I’m no longer fighting him and he returns to the work quickly and quietly. It is a huge change from pre lesson Eeyore.
He trotted nicely so I picked up the canter both directions this time. The canter is still a bit wild and unruly. It swings from underpowered to race horse mode with very little time spent in between but those moments in between are getting longer and better so progress is still being seen. The biggest win in the canter is that my brain is beginning to function and not just go blankly into survival mode.
I was really pleased with it so I gave him a stretchy walk break and tackled the ground poles. I really expected him to fumble through it or try to jump again but instead I got a horse who decided it was too hard to hold his head up and went through in his best attempt at being a western pleasure mount.
He was easy to maneuver on the change of bends and we approached again with more forward and his head not dragging on the ground. He went over just fine yet again. I repeated in both directions one last time to confirm and then we quit.
It was a pleasant ride from start to finish which has not always been the case. I’m not sure who this new orange beast is but I do love working with him!
I’m on the books for a lesson every other Wednesday night at 8 pm at least through the summer which I think will be a nice balance between consistently getting instruction and giving me time to work on it. He may not agree, but I’ve gotten a sense from him lately that he does actually like the routine work even if he pretends he might die during it. I can handle head dropping, lagging behind Eeyore a lot better emotionally and mentally than I can head shaking, threatening to rear Eeyore. I don’t mind getting after him to move, but I get more than a little fetal when he gets a little crazy. I’m sure the 1000% humidity played a role, but in general he is becoming more and more malleable to the tasks I am asking and I am riding a whole lot better which helps too. Bring on the rain and then please stop for my lesson next week.