|Indy and Noah out for a stroll|
stories to tell. Which I find overwhelming. Which makes me put off writing. Which means more stuff happens and there is more to write about. And then I can't think of what to say, even though there is no rule that says every post needs to be funny/witty/interesting/ earth-shaking/moving/motivational. If you've been following for a while, you've figured out that my brain goes like a crack-high hamster on its spinning wheel, loop after endless loop. If you're new to this blog, now you know.
Anyway, enough about me. Let's catch up with what's ben going on with Indy. We've been doing some trailer loading practice and ground work with him. He loads, but sometimes it's a big production and if I'm going to hunter paces or lessons on my own, I want him to be able to self load. I don't want it to be a long, drawn out conversation, and I don't want to have to bribe him on. It's not that he's afraid of the trailer, it's more of an "I don't wanna do that" kind of thing. So we've been working on that with a trainer named Dom from Thumbs Up Horsemanship, and he's doing extremely well. We haven't had a ton of practice time due to crazy schedules and short winter days, but now that it's light longer I anticipate some more chances to get better.
The ground work has been super fun. I figured it was a great way to get to know Indy, and to bond with him outside the riding and grooming thing. He's done groundwork before with his previous Mom, and he clearly loves it. You can tell he thinks he's playing with you. We've worked through some of the basic stuff on the leadline, with Dom doing the work initially and then letting me try. Our last session we went out in a square pen and did some at-liberty stuff, and it was amazing to seem Dom get him to the point where a small shift of her body got him to change direction, come to her, go away.
It's like she's doing some Vulcan mind meld thing and the two of them are communicating telepathically. When I try it's obviously not as good, but the feeling I get is really cool. It really is like Indy and I are so focused together, so connected. It's like that feeling you get occasionally when you ride and you and your horse are on the same page and everything you do feels effortless, like you are thinking something and your horse is already doing it. My hope is that bonding this way on the ground will build the kind of relationship that translates to our under-saddle efforts.
|Dom and Indy: A meeting of the minds|
As far as the actual riding thing goes, Indy continues to get stronger and more balanced. RJ, the horse the kids had been riding, has been injured so Indy has been doing triple duty, which is not something I'd normally want to do for a young horse, but he's handling it brilliantly. We're gradually adding more lateral work and asking him to accept shortening his gaits. Yhe lengthening part he's fine with, the shortening? Not so much. We're exposing him to more and more questions in his jumping so we're keeping the fences low and easy for now. He seems to love Sophie, which doesn't surprise me, since she's so tiny and light and "flow-y." (Is it horrible if I admit I'd give an eyeball to be able to "flow" like she does?) If this sharing thing keeps up much longer I think he's going to become her horse, not mine.
He has a definite "I'm done" button. If we have to wait for someone to jump a course a couple times or if my trainer and I discuss something for several minutes he'll think he's done and will complain when I send him out to go again. I need to leave the ring in the middle of a ride because I need to pee (hello, middle aged woman with two kids, thank you!) he lets me know he has no intention of going back into the ring.
Indy: "Wait, what? You want to go back in? No. we're done. We came out. You got off. That means we're done."
Me: "No, it just means Mom had to pee. It happens. Quite frequently. You need to get used to it. Now we are going back into the ring and we're going to jump over stuff."
Indy: "I want to speak with my Union representative."
We've been working on it and he's learning that he's learning he doesn't call the shots. Sometimes you can absolutely tell he's thinking he went from a pretty cushy life to boot camp, but he's such a sweetheart and really so eager to please the little hiccups are really non-issues.
So that's it. That's what we've been up to. The 5 minute recap of the last couple of months. Nothing earth-shaking, just your day -to-day horse stuff. Which is fun. And good. And, to many of us, as necessary as oxygen.