Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back to the Salad Bowl

I figure I should provide an update on the game.  It has been two weeks since I started using the game to get Bear to come to me in the pasture.  Every time I've gone out I've used it, and I keep seeing improvement.  He is not coming to me right away, but he does come after I give just the slightest pressure.  Yesterday he stopped eating to pay attention to me.  I was pretty sure he was going to come until two horses started playing around and got between us.

Today started out just as promising.  As soon as I got into the lot he took his head out of the bail and started watching me.  They moved the bale rings a few days ago, so they are pretty far from the gate now.  Too far for Bear to come to me just yet.  So I marched up to him, stopping a few times to release the pressure when he looked at me.  When I was about 20 feet away he swiveled and walked right up to me, just like he's been doing for days.

But this time I started walking backwards as he approached me.  I usually take a few steps back when he comes, but today I took about 20.  Then right when he was about to get to me I turned my back to him and started walking to the gate.  He just kept following me; it was pretty cool.  I was planning on going all the way to the gate but some of the other horses were playing around there.  I didn't want to lose this connection, so I haltered him up before we got there.  I'm hoping this new technique will encourage him to come from farther out.  We'll see.

The plan was to ride out again, but I wanted to work on a few things first.  We did some serpentines and backs (backing counter clockwise was perfect today, so maybe it was just a kinked back or something) and then moved into a really relaxed lope for a couple laps.  Then we marched down the drainage and over to the second strip.

The weather could not have been more perfect.
It was the same ride as last Sunday, but we did a fair bit of trotting and spent a whole lot more time in the salad bowl working on various things.  The guys were both great the entire ride.  No spooks and no expressions of their opinions, either.  Well, a few times they tried to graze on the lush grass.  I always feels a little bad riding them over their favorite meal but not allowing them to eat it.  Especially this time of year when the grasses are coming up and they are still predominately eating bales.  But still, it isn't too much to ask for an hour of their time.  And it isn't like we don't spend time with them grazing before and after the ride, when they are not out in the pastures we always do that.

I felt significantly more relaxed on this outing than I did last Sunday, and really, I thought I felt pretty good last Sunday.  So things have been going well for us, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the riding season goes.

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