It's been one heck of a long day, so this is going to be quick! I woke up early this morning, kissed my boys goodbye, and took the trip back home from the ranch to Calgary. First things first (prior to even stopping at home), I stopped in at a stables in Calgary to do a training assessment on a Quarter Horse whose owner has become increasingly frustrated. Ever since she showed him her new saddle, he refuses to be caught. When I worked with him, I found him to be quite smart (possibly a LBI), very suspicious of people he thought might catch him, and quite reactive when he thought he was to be caught. He permitted me to rub him all over and to "hug" his right side (breaking down the steps to catching him), but when it came time to wrapping my arms over his left side, *boom* he was gone. Eventually he did allow me to rub him again, but not without eyeing me up first! Working with him will be some desensitization to ropes/halters/equipment/etc and catching, but mostly about changing his overall demeanor towards humans and being caught, so that he wants to be caught and enjoys his work. We'll see, what transpires.
I didn't get out to Sunny and Gypsy until quite late in the day, and by the time I was finished with Sunny, it was too dark to work with Gypsy. The time was well spent though - I went through the 7 games with one of Sunny's owners and showed him some of what I ask of him under-saddle - all the basics. That way she has some foundation she can work on to improve him! Sunny did quite well. Asking him for a couple direction changes in a row resulted in an explosion of red and white fur, but he quickly calmed down and I showed his owner what she could work on to further develop his mind to be more relaxed. Oh, and he returned from yet another successful weekend with his owners last weekend! He did great except for one mishap involving the canter, where he threw in a few bucks. Luckily his owner was fine and continued the ride. Sunny's doing great, but is going to take a lot of work - all at the walk and trot for now. He's just not ready for the canter yet in my opinion, not with the trot as tense and reactive as it is yet, which is why I never attempted it with him. For this particular horse, the canter is a project to delve into further along in his training. If we were working in an indoor arena where he could focus better, we could probably get a bit more done, but not guaranteed. For now, I think his needs would be best met with a lot of wet saddle pads and experience to develop his confidence and attitude. His owners seem to fully understand and seem very willing to work with him.
I had a quick peek in at Missy, but that's about it. Tomorrow will be a full day - Sunny, Gypsy, Sonny, and Gypsy. I have a friend joining me on a ride tomorrow, so I will likely have her ride Missy while I ride Sonny. All this after working with Sunny and Gypsy first...and I still have to paint some of the (exterior) house! Where does the time go? Definitely (seemingly) not towards sleep *sigh*.