Eeyore and I have not been seeing eye to eye this week. Maybe it is the 1000% humidity that makes us both break out in a disgusting lather within minutes of thinking about work or maybe it is because I am now asking him to really use himself, but he and I are definitely no longer on the same page. Or in the same book even.
You see, Eeyore is a Frat Boy. He likes to party. He likes to have fun. He is smart enough to work through puzzles, but why bother when instead you can chug a keg and play beer pong with the bros while checking out the hot sorority girls who just walked in? Work is for nerds.
What I am trying to get him to understand is that the hard work needs to be done so that he can get to play. Making my 6 year old son learn this is hard enough. Making the 1500 pound 8 year old is proving impossible. It is extra frustrating because he is smart. Once a lesson is learned, it sticks and becomes the new norm. Making him buckle down and focus is the hard part.
Since our last lesson I have been working on having him use himself properly. Get that big spotted butt of his engaged and playing along. I’m introducing it slowly with a lot of breaks and pats and good boys. I’ll let him chug along and then throw in a random circle where I ask him to step under himself, give at the poll, and bend. Once we complete the circle a single time, I let him move out again around the arena. Then I’ll throw in going over some ground poles, which he thinks is a lot of fun, and maybe a canter or two before asking once again for a nicely performed circle.
It is interesting to watch him as we progress through the ride. When we are doing something he thinks is fun, he is game on, full steam ahead, ears forward and watching to see where we go next. When he realizes this is actual work, he gets easily distracted, finds something outside the arena that requires his full attention and slows to a crawl. It is like riding two completely different horses.
We are getting there. At the walk our circles are actually circle shaped, there is proper bend and he can remain engaged for an entire circle. The trot work is lagging behind but has also started to show some improvement in my own ability to react quickly and effectively. Still a long way to go but I’ll take any progress at this point. I’m ignoring this at the canter at the moment until I feel more secure in the trot.
Hopefully I get to lesson tonight. It is pretty rainy and gross out and I have no idea how the footing holds up at the lesson barn, but she hasn’t canceled yet so fingers crossed. It is always an eye opening experience and I know that tonight she wants to school him over those stupid pipes herself to get him a bit calmer before I attempt them again. Though if someone were to burn them to a pile of melted plastic, I wouldn’t be sad. The chances of me running into a similar jump out and about is pretty slim, I haven’t seen one at any show I’ve attended to show in or volunteer at and the only reason it is an issue is because they happen to be present in this one arena. Still, I’d like to conquer this issue and move on to other things.
On a great note, Homeboy has seen the light and now marches onto the trailer when we walk towards it from like 15 ft out. Just try to stop him going in. Immediately backing right out to get his good boy pats and treats has been the latest in the series of trailer loading battles and I may have lost my cool and screamed “WHY ARE YOU SO ANNOYING?!?!?” at the top of my lungs the other night as he barreled backwards before I could get the butt bar secured. He saw the error of his ways shortly there after and **knock on all things wooden** currently marches on the trailer with barely a suggestion and remains on said trailer until told to back out. We will see if this translates away from home tonight.