Ugh, well, today was one of those days. You know the days. The days you go to the chiropractor because you can barely use your neck or left shoulder (which is supposedly your good one) and the doctor tells you you're in the worst shape he's seen you in for awhile. Yup, one of those days. So of course you spend the rest of the day pussy-footing around so as to hopefully stay in relatively-good alignment until the doc sees you again the next day. Except new, spooky horses like to explode violently sideways (because of course you were juuust about to beat said horse...of course...*insert rolled eyes here*), thereby tearing shoulder and spine violently in half. This is all nano-seconds prior to said horse realising that I actually (surprise surprise) you are not going to actually beat him over the head. That you actually hand out rubs as if they were going out of fashion. So. Anyways. The story.
Lil twister was my first pupil of the day. Note to self: when owner mentions horse is essentially wild, that is code for: horse is essentially wild. This horse has not been handled. At all. Or he has been mis-handled in the past by prior individuals. After several explosions when I raised my hand to rub him, bowling me over like some little black-and-white bowling pin with his right shoulder, and stepping on my left foot (at least it caused me to forget all about the lingering discomfort in my right foot, the one Venus kindly crushed yesterday)...well, we ended on a good note with some lip-licking and chewing. This horse definitely does not trust me yet but something definitely can be said for his small size...next to Venus' huge shoulder this kid's a breeze to handle. No rope burn, no being dragged when he is scared enough to flee. So long story short...or made longer...we played 5 of our 7 games today. Friendly was actually pretty good after a bit, porcupine was essentially non-existent but was half-passable despite his attempts to flee, driving (which I had not originally planned on doing due to his reactiveness) actually seemed to help me earn some trust with him as he figured out some of my body language, yo-yo was reduced to light phases in no time, and circling wasn't shabby as long as we were walking to the left. To the right he kept asking to come in and could not quite grasp what I wanted. We finally finished with his completing 90 degrees of walk - end on a good note! Finished up with some rubs and petting and we weren't half bad-off. He's very nervous around people but is definitely coming around after just the one session even; when I returned to grab a couple of photos he was quietly licking his lips and even walked up towards me and stretched his nose out to touch me. Hey, I'm not so bad after all! He definitely is half-wild but I don't doubt he is a quick learner and that once I have earned his trust (which I doubt will be long) nothing will faze him.
You always return next session to find out what the horse thought of your last session together. Venus was not impressed by last session with all the needle-poking. She did allow me to walk up to her and catch her though and she was fantastic for her first 4 games...but circling to the right at the trot and she was trying to take off - a little attitude included. No worries. She quickly learned though that being next to me is less work than being loose in the arena where she had thought she had wanted to be (lol). I "round-penned" (quotations marks indicate the pen was actually square...not round...haha) her for about 15 minutes before she was willing to come in and be with me. Our circling game still took a little little work but we achieved several laps to the right at the trot today! We also played some squeeze between our friendly tires and did some sideways along the fence (she was much calmer and less reactive about it). Since she was already sweated up (doesn't take much for this girl - she is whale-like out of shape and stresses easily), I figured this was the perfect time to throw in some saddle work! She was pretty good about being tacked up (western saddle) and she was awesome about my mounting up - no fear issues to be resolved whatsoever. Once this girl realises and understands something, she's gold. I sat up there (somewhat nervously I might add...being a good 6' off the ground on a horse known to explode in fear will do that to a person) for a few minutes and even played around with having her bend her neck a bit. She was quite stiff with her neck on the right side...pretty one-sided. I feel so spoiled that none of my own horses (Sonny does not officially belong to me so I get to neglect him in this point) are one-sided...I cannot even recall Silver and Koolaid ever being one-sided (though I am sure they were at one point in time), that I forget that most other horses are one-sided. Like I said, spoiled. Lol. That was about all I was prepared for, though I honestly think she was comfortable enough to do more, but I wasn't going to try without further preparation. Anyways, I'll incorporate some of the same saddle work into our routine and keep progressing her. I made up a schedule for each of the horses so they get an average of about 5 days a week in (18-20 days per month, depending on the horse ie. Venus may need more days) and so she is in for the rest of this week...I would like to have her comfortable at the walk under-saddle by the end of our week.
That's it folks! Just the two for today however I have four horses daily for the rest of the week (plus my own three). I just experienced a moment of panic as a piece of fuzz blew past my face here in the darkness of the computer room, so I have to admit it's probably time for some sleep.
I can feel it in my bones...Gimme Sympathy...song of the night.