Thursday, December 5, 2013

Accomplishment of the day: Riding while two mustangs were being freelunged in the round pen

This sort of thing would normally have Charlie completely wigged out. He has been known to have a slight phobia of other horses being in the ring doing anything other than walking around, but we took it slow and built up his confidence and his focus on me and it couldn't have gone better.

I started with groundwork - breaking at the poll, hindquarters over, shoulders over, halting - and although he got antsy when he approached the other horses he stayed with me. He called out a few times, and he got *ahem* a little "excited" because one of the horses was in heat, but he didn't let that interfere with our lesson. (Bonus points to the SmartCalm Ultra or extra turnout...or both!).

By the time I got on he couldn't pay those horses less mind. We worked on bending in both directions and practicing shoulders in and sidepasses in the saddle. Getting him more supple and responsive is my current goal. Whenever he resists the bit pressure or blows through my hands I have been using the hindquarters over cue to disengage him and press the "reset" button. And I'm using a lot of serpentines and circles to stretch him on each side. It seems to be going pretty well.

On another note Charlie is getting along slightly better with the other geldings. He seems to have selected Ethyreal, one of the arabs, as his first "friend attempt"; when I went out to get him today he was only halfway down the field, not at the far far end, hanging out only about ten lengths away from E. 

When I returned him to the pasture I made sure to keep the other horses away long enough for Charlie to get a nice long drink, and then I walked out of the paddock. Pull my heartstrings: poor Charlie kept trying to follow me and nuzzle up as I walked to the gate, not wanting to be left alone with the other horses. "Mom, don't leave me!" Once I was out he nicely sniffed noses with a few horses (and did the submissive pee squirts), but as soon as I locked the gate Spot chased him away. *sigh* All in due time I guess.

Getting a well-deserved private drink
Stay back boys

That means you too Spot and Leo!
"We can be friends, right?" (Charlie and E)

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