Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pretending to be Robin

Yesterday afternoon I ventured to the barn on my own. It was almost 80 degrees and while still somewhat windy, it was nothing like the gale force winds of Monday. On the drive out I sipped on a cup of tea and tried to decide what my goals should be. Sham is continuing to improve, and I am spending increasingly more time with him. But the last time I tried to catch him things didn't go so well.

So when I finally walked out toward the feed lot, I decided I would grab whoever was there and most willing to hang out with me. That was Steen. He was right by the gate. Sham was off snoozing by the feeder. I thought maybe he would walk over in a minute or so, but he did not get up.

No biggie. I haltered the ever willing Steen and took him right to the outdoor arena for groundwork. He was a tad lethargic, but I ultimately got some quicker backs, disengages, and fast directional changes on the lead line. Once he was more alert I brought him inside to tack him up. He was great for this, and Robin would be happy I remembered the apple cider vinegar for his frogs and a little dollop of sunscreen on his pink nose. He made some funny faces at that one, but he didn't really mind it.

While I was tacking up, one of the barn workers moved Stella back to her normal place in the stall herd. For a brief while, Stella was the third member of the feedlot.

she might also be Sham's girlfriend, we'll have to see how the separation goes

So as Steen and I walked into the outdoor arena, Sham was all alone, standing by the gate watching us. He continued to watch our entire ride. I though it was great for him to see Steen and I spend so much time hanging out in a very fun and positive way. We walked and trotted and did big circles, small circles, and figure-eights. We also spent quite a few minutes simply cruising at the trot. His trot was so smooth and slow, and Steen was generally so well behaved I almost felt bored at times. I thought about asking for a lope but decided not to. The ground is a little uneven and Steen can be prone to tripping. Also, he isn't in the best of shape just yet. Oh, and when things are going super smoothly for me at the barn, I try to keep them that way. So far this was proving to be the most enjoyable and relaxing solo barn trip I've ever had.

After a solid 40 minutes of riding I brought Steen in for the untacking and a little more grooming. And when I returned him to the feed lot Sham came right over to us from the bale. I let him sniff my hands, gave him a few pets on the jaw and neck, and then showed him the halter. He was fine with it. My first few attempts to slip it over his nose made him turn just the slightest, but I kept him calm, said soothing words, and just opened up the nose end of the halter really big and slid it on. I was thrilled. Another less than one minute catch.

So I pulled the second horse of the day out of the feed lot and led him to the arena. We did some basic leading exercises (which he was doing really well with), and then progressed to some more groundwork. At that point he was interested in the grass. So I kept his feet moving. Sometimes he was rather planted and not interested in moving, but eventually I'd get him going.

All in all we kept things really short. After a couple minutes of ground work I let him graze and just gave him a lot of pets. Then I made him do a few more minutes of work and put him back in the feed lot. Steen was waiting for our arrival. He crowded the fence a tad, but we were able to sneak in. Then the three of us hung out for a bit. It is so exciting to see Steen and Sham getting along so well. Again I fed them both a few morsels of grain and they were more than happy to eat together. I left the two of them hanging out at the gate together.

No comments:

Post a Comment