Monday, April 5, 2010

New Routine

This morning, I got up at 6:00 am and loaded Guinness onto the trailer as the sun came up at 7:00. It was totally exciting to arrive at the barn and have the place to myself!

We started by allowing Guinness to explore the indoor arena at liberty, then I enticed him to play a few games with me. Once, when he wasn't paying attention to me, I ran away as fast as I could, only to hear him following me and sliding to a halt behind me when I stopped. ;-)

After that we went on to the 22' line and played with the weave poles, Sideways using a fence, Squeeze, and Yo-Yo.

When Guinness went to meet some horses in a paddock adjacent to the indoor arena, I did just what herd leader Smokey would do - I forced him behind me while I checked them out.

Eventually, we got a little bored, so I decided to ride. I tacked him up in his bareback pad & halter w. rope reins, and I had a string around my wrist. I asked him to come to pick me up at the mounting block, and then to park out a bit (to stay put). I mounted and put my legs out straight behind me (a first), then dismounted on the off side, then remounted. We practiced "go" as we wandered around the arena. He was peaceful and happy, so I called it a day at around 8:15.

I tied him to the trailer to put his shipping boots on, then sent him onto the trailer (another first) where he stood munching cubes & carrots. Then I closed him in.

When we got home, I backed him off the trailer and then he mowed clover in the front yard while I took off his boots.

The most awesome thing about this situation (using the indoor arena) is the positive patterns that we are establishing. Just to be able to feed him breakfast on the trailer, haul him a short way, unload into somewhat familiar surroundings w/o other horses to hang with, play in the indoor or other arena, reload, and come home without any pressure is helping BOTH of us to develop confidence! And the fact that we will be doing this almost daily with help to ingrain these lessons for his lifetime.

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