Friday 30 March 2018

More Miles

Wednesday was the first day in a while that I had nothing scheduled. No work, no lessons to teach, no appointments or pressing errands. I slept in super late and took my time getting out to the barn in the late afternoon.

It's spring break out here. I had no idea if lessons were running at their normal times, or all shifted to the day, or cancelled outright.

They definitely weren't cancelled.

When I took Cisco into the arena, there were 4 kids riding - 3 of which were just about to start a jumping lesson. There was a new horse being held in the arena who kept having Black Stallion moments. There was snow sliding off the sloped arena roof. There were idiotic pigeons walking around. There was a kid bashing rocks together in the viewing area.
Substitute car with horse.
And there was no place to safely lunge. I did not time that well.

Cisco's brain was close to exploding. So many new friends that he desperately wanted to make and that I was being super mean about not letting him run up to. The snow wasn't being overly loud when it fell, and no one else was really reacting, and there were horses all over to stare at anyways, so it wasn't super scary. Except once when it happened right behind him as I was getting ready to get on the mounting block. He bolted forward and I got yanked a few steps. Thankfully I wasn't on the block at the time as I'm pretty sure I would have landed on my face.

But I was there, he was tacked up, he needs this experience, and I wouldn't be able to ride again until Monday. So I had to make the best of it.
Oooh - I should make them signs.
I started with a bunch of groundwork, leading him around. It took a few minutes but he started to settle a bit and wasn't dragging me around. At least until he saw the pigeon. The dimwitted pigeon, who totally isn't scared of humans or horses these days. As I was leading Cisco near the pigeon that was walking on the ground, I jokingly told Cisco to get the pigeon. He decided to listen to me (for once), dropped his nose, and totally chased the pigeon. Like picked up a trot chased the pigeon. He got one step away from that pigeon before it flew away. Stupid pigeons.
Apparently there is a game about a stupid pigeon.
I finally decided that he was as calm as he was going to get so I hopped on. With everything happening in the arena, I wasn't sure if I would do anything other than walk. Surprisingly, he was pretty good at a walk. Pretty good meaning that he was too busy looking around to get tense and do silly things with his mouth and neck.

The first trot was, um, quick. But he settled his pace fairly quickly. Our steering was terrible though. He's pretty good about turning where I want, it's more so the corners where he bulges in towards the other horses. When riding with other people who are in a lesson I can't school the corners the way I would like. He's much better when we are by ourselves.

Riding at this point is all about miles. He's not as reactive or spooky as he was last fall. He's just easily distracted.

He did have a grown-up horse moment though - he (mostly) ground tied while I groomed him! That's a big deal, and was a total surprise. He got a bit impatient towards the end, and took a couple of steps to the side to sniff whatever he found interesting, but didn't actually leave. We're nowhere near the point where I trust him to stand while I walk back to the tack room, but that's a huge difference from a year ago.
Standing by himself at attention, thanks to the All Ears app. He was actually very chill while I was grooming.

Phantom's lump on her butt is definitely a hematoma. I decided to put some heat on it for a bit. I didn't have an actual heat pack, so I added some hot water to some horse food in a ziploc bag. Added bonus (to Phantom) that the heat pack could be fed afterwards.

I took her over to lunge her to see how sound she looked. She looked great as she galloped around me. Totally sound. I let her loose so she could get her sillies out. Which she was only too happy to do.
Super slurpy heat pack (with volume on).

Dimwitted pigeon narrowly escaped his demise when he didn't get out of Phantom's way until the last second - she got two sideways kicks in at him when he flew up from underneath her. He got smarter after that and stayed up in the rafters for a bit.


  1. What a great brain Cisco has

    1. It's in there... we need some more miles to get past the easily distracted phase, but I really think he's got a very trainable brain.

  2. Good for you for continuing on with the plan despite so much activity and distraction around! Also lol yea one of those pigeons is gonna get it one of these days haha

    1. I'm starting to learn to trust him a bit. He's yet to do anything bad, just green and nervous.

  3. Some animals have no sense of self preservation! The pigeon deserves anything coming to it. I hope that Phantom's hematoma reabsorbs soon~!

    1. I saw the teenage boy who trailers in for lessons whack a pigeon with the shavings fork a couple weeks ago. Pretty sure this one would be an easy target.