OK, so this week it's seemed like I kinda sucked at this whole dangerous project horse thing. I guess I was owed that but unno, it sure hits your confidence about doing these things when you're already sure you're insane. Helping the horses is great but man, its hard sometimes.
I took a step back, gave the boys time off and hopped on Katy. I also put out an ad that I wanted a working student so I could get more help with Katy, Piper, and Mango since I was pouring so much into Nigel and Arthur and feeling like I was neglecting them. 2015 Plans woo.
Yes, I'm also taking my classes, working and doing family things. I know there's something wrong with me, shaddup.
So I took some time to mentally flip through Arthur's list of things and my mental checklist on him and decided to address the forward/disengaging issues still but on line and then to address his riding in the open issues as well as my "sucking at working him from an elevated" place.
The forward and disengaging is helping and I'm pushing him wicked hard and making his life purposely frustrating so I can see him react, help him, and we move on rather than letting him bottle it up. I'm actually pretty proud of what he can take when he doesn't internalize things. The on the fence things are easy for him and hard for me so its a nice balance.
I also accidentally realized that Warwick Schiller was coming to Texas and snagged a working spot in that clinic. Hopefully he can help me with... something... with Arthur. That's going down in April so I'd like to get him riding like he was in October but we'll see what the weather thinks. It HAS to stop at some point, right?
On the coat tails of the Nigel good/bad training session, I have started reworking Arthur now that I feel like I need to address some issues that I discovered when I rode him outside the round pen last time (yes, we've had too much rain :/)
To get him out of this HUS/EQ training, I've been working on his disengaging from the ground to get him off that front leg so we don't end up rotating in a neat circle until the end of time. He's been doing decent with it, but you can tell he's a bit heartbroken to be "wrong." Its working though and so I decided the other issue I needed to work on: forward. I don't normally have this issue so a horse that wants to go slow and steady seems awesome until he's got issues like Arthur. When he gets stuck, I have no sideways motion and no forward. I'm working on the sideways release but I decided to tackle the forward now that we've gotten some decent footing.
Step one was on line in the pasture. I realized quickly I hadn't been upping the pressure either which was my bad. He'd grown complacent so we worked on forward NOW and other such concepts until he was really getting it.
On this day though, I took it to the round pen to test things out. I didn't want to ask for much and had a short session planned really as I didn't have much to suspect was going to go on based on what the week had been like.
Naturally this means something dramatic will happen, right?
All I really asked him was what I ask Nigel, turn when and where I ask you. Arthur has been playing this game FOREVER but I decided to add a test: Turn which direction I want. Normally he turns in, waits for the signal and then we turn in the opposite direction. He's come to expect this so I decided to focus on his wait (since he was started to fudge that a little). Well, a few times of asking him to NOT change direction but to pause, then go on fried his brain I guess. True to form though, he didn't show anything initially but did as I asked with a few small corrections. When "it" happened though, I guess it was too much thinking and he tried to bull past me and I went to cut him off. Rather than running me over (thanks dude!) he... flung his body sideways into the fence, flattening it, flattening himself, somersaulting and then getting up.
So yeah, I caught him, we did more work and ended on a good note but I kinda hate where I am with my projects right now. Time to do some research and get some perspective. I've come such a long way but maybe my plans aren't where they should be. *more sigh
So it looks as though we've got something of a break in the rain (I doubt it'll last long), so I decided to take an opportunity to actually work Nigel OUT of his dry pasture now that the round pen isn't under water. Its probably short lived, but we got out there and began the process.
Main things we worked on at this point were forwardness (not an issue derp) and then listening to me (more of an issue). We did some simple turns in towards me when asked and rating his speed as he settled down. He's an athletic bugger but also again, so smart and clever so I don't see any of his under saddle things being an issue. Over all he's improved so much and is a million times easier than Arthur so its been fun to see him progress much faster in less time.
One thing that's becoming an issue though is his tying... I'm not sure what his back story is with that, but he stays tied SOOO well for a short time but once he's done being tied, he's learned to untie himself. And no, not in that adorable "I pulled the rope out hurr hurr" way. This is a full on calculated battle with the rope where he ends up rearing up carefully and slashing out at the rope to get it to break. He will even put his forelegs on the tree (see the picture) and use it as leverage to push against to break the rope. We only worked on it this one time and yes, he ended up sawing the rope against the tree until it broke. But then he just stood there and stared at me afterwards rather than running off or eating grass. It was super dangerous and he's done it enough times in his past that its not even a concern of his, just something normal to do when he wants loose. We've worked on all the pieces individually leading up to this point and he's totally flawless with them. I'm going to have to think about how to handle this as its really, really dangerous for less experienced people of any sort.