I started off with some TRT Method groundwork. I've been slowly going through the steps - very slowly. But Cisco is starting to get it and is thinking more about where his feet are. I wouldn't say that it calms him yet - there has only been a couple of times when he's dropped his head down and relaxed. Mostly he does the movements, softens through them, then when I step back to give him a long lead he llamas and stares at something. But he llamas with a softer eye, so I guess that's progress?
Anyhoo, he was super chill and relaxed, likely at least partly because there was another horse in the arena. The good thing was that the lady who owned said horse is also big about desensitizing, so she had no problem with me doing weird things.
I brought out the umbrella. It was quite flappy while folded up, so I started with flapping it all around him. He was unsure, but stood rock still. Then I pushed the button and the umbrella flipped out and opened up. Cisco flinched, as would I if someone unexpectedly opened an umbrella in my face.
It's really hard to hold a horse, an umbrella, and a phone - thus the crappy media.
And that was it. I waved that umbrella all around him, laid it on his back, had him walk while I held the umbrella high over his back and behind his butt. No concerns. His only concern came when I had the umbrella on the ground - it was just a little too hard to pick up in his mouth. I so hoped he would because I really wanted that picture.
He's seen an umbrella before, so I'm not overly surprised that it wasn't a huge deal. But I was really pleased with how relaxed he was and that he really wanted to engage with it.
Extra crappy sideways media.
I was really happy with how relaxed he was through it all. I don't know if he was only relaxed because there was another horse in the ring with him, and it will be a completely different situation when we're alone, so I'll definitely be looking for the opportunity to get a comparison.
I also want to work on this stuff while mounted, which will require a second person. He gains confidence from me while on the ground. On his back is a different story. I'll have to borrow Pony Grandma one night to help me out with this.