So last night I started dreaming about riding Chief again. In my dream I saw Astrid saying to me, “Renee we are starting him like a baby again, so we may as well continue like that.” And I rode him while Astrid lunged him in circles. So I think I am going to take that as a sign. One more solid week of groundwork at the pace I am taking now with him, and onto riding him again, with the proper precautions. Riding him with Astrid there, on a lunge, obviously in a helmet, and a western saddle (as opposed to my “no support wintec.”) It baffles me that this is the horse I rode bareback every day last spring.
Anyway this last week has been insane so I only worked him 3 days last week, this week I am shooting for 4. But the last week was good busy. We got a lot of stress of our shoulders at home and seem to be continuing in that direction. Last night I finally felt totally focused on Chief without being preoccupied with worry about other things.
And on Sunday I visited a dear old friend (who happens to be a dear old man) and he sold me his gorgeous old saddle and saddle pad for 100 bucks. It is beautiful.
So Chief bit me again this session. Today I broke this pattern and it will NOT be happening again anytime soon. I worked his but hard after this incident and he KNEW he was wrong the second he did it. LOL it was actually funny watching him back up so fast with his head pulled back and nostrils flaring. I think he was like, “oh shit…shouldn’t have done that.” I guess never say never, but we did hard work! My calves were even burning after working him hard all day in the sand.
Our exercises that day. We worked on changing direction, and changing directions while walking in a straight line. I am getting better at it, and Chief is getting better at not freaking out when I ask him to change. Also, at the beginning of sessions he is usually ready to work when we get in the arena. As opposed to being really lazy at first. I was really happy at the end of this session. He worked hard and was really looking to me to instruct him on his next move.
Lesson with Astrid
Really good lesson. We saddled chief with a new saddle in the barn (which I rarely do) and I was a little sloppy putting the saddle on him. It freaked him a bit but he calmed almost instantly, which is great. Previously he would get nervous (stiffen, wide eyes, and appear unsettled) and it would make me nervous, and we would have a problem getting back on track. But everything about last night was really nice. Chief was calm and very responsive. We worked on changing direction without so much of a head bend and re introduced flag with saddle. He was great! Also worked on chief moving his shoulder out when I walk toward it. Chief has cuts around his eye. Looks like he got bit or caught on a loose board. I put antibiotic spray on it.
Also a new habit is chief is getting more agitated than normal when tightening the girth. Going easier on that with him.