Headed up to Slave Lake today, so today's sessions were short and I only worked with two of the horses on my roster today. The next couple of weeks are busy!
He blocked me out a bit during our games. His trouble is with the sideways game - he gets psyched up and reactive and forgets that he can just think things through and play the game! We did finish with a relaxed sideways on either side with a little work. His impersonation of a pufferfish today while tightening the cinch was slightly less than yesterday; we worked on it a bit more when untacking, getting him comfortable with my playing with the cinch. I'm not sure what's gone on in this guy's past but he has a real aversion to being tacked up! Nevermind being ridden! I know his owners are not in the least bit abusive towards him though, but I just cannot figure out why he's so reactive towards being tacked up and ridden. Is it a time thing (ie. such a long layoff from working under-saddle)? Maybe he was never quite confident under-saddle and it just worsened? He seems to really know what the games are about and I appreciate that strong foundation - he does most of his games at Phase 1 or 2 already. On the other hand, he's quick to get reactive at times - I don't understand where all this fear-based reaction comes from. Anyways, I tacked him up and had him circle as well. This time there were no blow-ups, though I found out he becomes quite reactive when I cluck to him, like he's expecting the earth to split open beneath his feet or something when I cluck. Several relaxed circles in either direction though before I stood in the stirrups on either side - he's still a little leery of that. I had planned on roundpenning him, but I saved it for next week's first session for a number of reasons. First, I was pretty short on time today. Second, it will allow for a good intro for us next week, before I get on. Coincidentally, he'll probably be a little tired out from the roundpenning and so I'm hoping it will help him think - in place of becoming reactive and bucking - when I go to get on. I won't work a horse to make it tired so that I can ride it, but I will certainly use a horse's being tired to an advantage! We'll see how it all works out. We finished on a good note with lots of work to do next week! Next week will be a very full week, particularly due to this week's time constraints and missed day when my car broke down!
I actually had some difficulty catching my little roan mustachio man, so today we just did some laid-back work in the pasture. He did a great job at the 7 games before I left him back to his busy day of grazing. He's done well so deserves a day off of under-saddle work and I don't want to sour him from working with me, particularly since next week will be a big week of work for him as well.