So, today i arrived at GV early - it was due to hit 40 degrees (celcius) today, and i had no intention of playing in that heat.
On the way to the valley - I was contemplating whether i should cheat and ride him over to the main agistment facilities (he's in spelling paddocks at the moment - no arena, no round yard, no wash bays, nothing) and leave him there for the 4 days i have off.. I was even contemplating leading him over htere, so that i didn't break my promise, when i recalled that last week, I hade completely unpacked the car - and as such didn't have my saddle, bridle or reins in the car in order to ride. "Ha!" i thought to myself - now you CAN'T cheat!
This of course caused me to realize that "completely unpacking" the car meant - no halter, leadrope, carrot stick, string ... .. feedbucket.. *sigh*.
So I resigned myself to the knowledge that Sante was going to be completely at liberty, and totally given freedom to do whatever he wanted.
I pulled up thinking of the possible scenarios... he sees me and ignores me.. he sees me and runs off... he sees me and runs me over? .. .
Imagine my surprise!!! He saw me - NICKERED AT ME and wandered over.
I fed him the carrots I had in my pocket, and turned to walk off.. he followed.
All i did today, was give him a choice - I didn't groom him, i gave him scratches, I rubbed his face, i let him explore my pockets, I checked his feet, - all at liberty.
I broke up a packet of carrots into little snack size bits, and surveyed what i had...
A content horse who had his head in the grass ignoring me - by doing a low energy version of the catching game, i got his attention and when he gave me his eyes, i rewarded him. It only took a few goes of this, and suddenly i was more interesting than the grass.
All i did was a few minutes of driving game at liberty, stick to me (at walk and trot) and we even managed a few bows - all at liberty.
After about an hour of chilling out (picking grass for him) a friend that was with me leant me her stock whip, and I put sante back into the paddock with his friends (more running room, and he's happy cause he's with his mates) - its amazing how his attitude changed - He doesn't hate the stock whip, but he respects it, if that makes sense - we started with stick to me, and when I gently flicked the whip way out behind me, he tucked his chin, and trotted up on my shoulder, collecting himself, and looking - lets face it - HANDSOME!!
The presence of the whip bought up his energy - not fear, not unconfidence, but his life.. He was like "oooooooh what are we doing"
We ran! Like loonies! When he got in front of me I'd throw in a change of direction and run for it - he'd spin around and run after me, snaking his neck, and bucking his ridiculously uncoordinated thoroughbred bucks.
In the past I introduced him to the idea of turning the "stick to me" game into a kind of send, and sending him out in front of me, then disengaging the hind quarters from a distance, and getting him to run back to me - We tried it today - the SECOND i lifted my leading hand - he bolted in front of me -After a few seconds, i stopped, disengaged him and ran off in the other direction - he came bolting after me - bucking and snaking his neck.
I accidently cracked the whip, and sent the whole paddock of horses bolting across the paddock - Sante saw them running and shot off the mark. - When i caught up to him he was like "hi!!!! Now what!?!?!?" and we ran ALL THE WAY BACK to the gate (with his girlfriend in tow). The entire day, from getting him out of the paddock, to running all the way back to the gate - was done without a leadrope or halter in sight.
We finished the session sitting in the grass, grazing, i picked grass for him, he nibbled on my shoes -and, well.... we made geniune progess on the "fun" mission.
All is not as bad as what it seems.
He appears to still love me *sigh*
WYOMING! - Well, here we are in beautiful Cody, Wyoming to spend a month with Farrah Green at Double Doc Center for Artistic Horsemanship. Me, Mo and Surreal have jou...
6 months ago