Oh ye mightiest of foes! You have tried to best us yet have failed again!
Scarlet and I encountered yet another issue with the corner yesterday. We had mostly positive experiences since my friend helped us get over the fear of the corner. When I got on Scarlet on Tuesday, we headed into the corner and he stopped, planting his forelegs. His head was high as he stared at the new menace sitting about 30 feet away on the other side of the fence. It was… a garbage can. When I urged him to go forward, he spun away. I wouldn’t let him turn away completely from that side of the arena so he side passed away as fast as he possibly could. He bounced a few times like he was trying to rear. It was all so ridiculous that I was giggling the whole time. I managed to wrestle him back over to that side about fifteen feet from the rail. I then worked him with rollbacks keeping the garbage can in sight until I could get him to walk along the rail.
I find it highly amusing that one tiny change was so scary to him. It’s typical but it’s still funny. It’s more the magnitude of his reaction. This was much more energetic than his responses have been in a long time. We have a tool now for dealing with his reactions that seems to work well. It’s a relief to have something because it allows me to be amused rather than frustrated.
I worked on walk-halt-walk transitions a bit. The downward ones aren’t amazing but I had a couple of good ones. I’m a bit unsure of the upward ones. I feel like they were good because there was no hesitation on moving out. I’ve read that an engaged horse steps out with his hind legs first. Scarlet stepped out with a hind and front leg really close together. I believe he stepped with his front slightly earlier than his hind but it felt engaged rather than him dragging himself forward. I think it’s better than we had before.
I managed to mostly fix my boot. I got a new zipper back on the teeth and got the boot zipped up. I think I may have pinched the pull a little tight. It’s really hard to get the zipper completely pulled up. I need to get some type of wax or something so that I can get it easier to pull. Otherwise I’m going to repeat the exact thing that got us into this mess. I still need to sew up the bottom of the zipper so the pull doesn’t slip off the bottom.
On Tuesday I just went out to play with Scarlet. I wanted to ride but my boot was still out of commission and I didn’t really want to try riding in my beat up western boots. Plus, I didn’t end up playing around with him on Sunday with jumps and grazing like I meant to. He needs a break just doing silly stuff sometimes.
I got him out of his pen and took him into the arena. I took the lead line off and expected him to go running off and kick up his heels. But he didn’t. He decided to just stay stuck by my shoulder. I thought maybe if I ran he’d run and then realize he wasn’t tethered. But he didn’t do that either. He just decided to trot along side me. It was really cool. I’ve never noticed him tethering like that to me before. So I played around with it for a bit. We walked a few laps and trotted a bit. Halted. Backed up. He stayed by my shoulder for a while. Then he realized there was a bit of grass available and went off to graze. Which was what I was planning on letting him do in the first place.
After I let him wander around the arena for a while, I gathered him up and took him over to the grass to graze. I let him graze for a while. He doesn’t have any grass in his pen. I’d really prefer that he be in a pasture since I think its more natural and comfortable for horses but I haven’t been moved into one yet. I’ve let the barn owner know so I may be moved at some time. I may not. Someday I’d like to get to a place where Scarlet is on pasture or has turn out time so he can just be doing horsey things.
It was a fun relaxing time, watching him graze while sitting on the ground next to him. I need to remember to just goof around with my horse occasionally. Maybe we will even figure out how to trail ride without freaking out someday. 🙂