It's funny, those days when everything goes right and your connection with your horse is right on.
Well, last Friday was NOT one of those days.
The wind was wicked and I convinced my husband to join me to go to the farm and help out due to my back pain and secretly knowing I would battle a fire breathing dragon flying around in the wind.
I took Laz in the arena for our 15-20 minute walk. Or as he interpreted it as a blow up, side spook, eyes wild freak at EVERYTHING. He scared me. I felt deflated, being he is the longest I've been with one horse (18 mths now) I was upset at myself. Growing up riding, I always leased other people's horses...so by the time I would connect, they were gone and I was on another horse. This time, I've had Laz long enough to (in my mind) not be scared of his wily behavior and in one instant go to "He's going to trample me!" I did eventually gain my composure and got him to walk calmly on the one half of the arena about five time before putting him back in his pasture. I didn't want to reward his crazy behavior. I need to learn more about what to do those instances.
So, I wanted to start with that today. When I pulled up, he came inside to greet me. Awww..ok, major points for that. I literally told the BO, that on Friday I thought about opening up his gate and saying "Oh..I don't know how that was left open." and letting him run free. JUST kidding!!!! But that is how mad I was at MYSELF. :)
So today, I told the BO "C" about what happened on Friday and how I struggled with finding a resource for what to do when he was panicking and spooking. She is always great about 'let's do this' attitude.
We took off his boots (he lifted his feet so MUCH better today) and started our work out in the arena.
Scary spots first. Jesus, I thought. BUT..ok.
So, we walked around a few times, me leading Laz. She reminded me on how to lead him properly and not clutch the lead line too tightly which I tend to do thinking I can control a spook. "Just let him spook and tell him "knock it off" and keep going", she said. He reacts from me, I know, and I have to, HAVE to be calmer and controlled and KNOW that I have resources to help me.
So we went around and came up to the scary corner, and OF COURSE, there was a loose white plastic bag. Seriously?!?!!? But she reminded me, USE what I have for the day's lesson and IGNORE the bag. I did, and Laz looked at it and was fine.
Then it came to the deep left corner again and she suggested using it as his reward time for being a good little pupil, and to unhook his lead and pat him and WALK away calming. He stayed for about 15 minutes nibbling on the grass. Granted today was less wind, BUT there was wind as you will see in the pictures. He was SOooooo much better today! I told her that I thought it was because I felt safe having her there as my resource and therefore I transmitted that to him.
Even her husband on the tractor served as an unknowing desensitization. We sat on the mounting block and just watched Laz. She said, IF he comes running back to us as his herd, let him. He didn't, he was braver than I thought.
So, she had me walk back up to him and hook him up and walk out without over thinking it. That is my bad habit.
I am the "WHAT IF" girl.
Like, what if he steps on his lead line. "So what." What if he spooks? "So."
I've had a lot of bad experiences that I need to get over and start trusting my boy a bit more. Today was good for that, and one of MANY.
He was content and happy today
We even used the dogs catching their frisbee as a desensitizer. Good boy Laz!
When he came up to us, and was nuzzling the BO's hair. He defiantly feels safer with her vs me, and I've got to learn to give him that confidence. I feel it's better than last year, for sure, but we have a long way to still go. For both of us, we need to learn to trust each other.
She had me stand on the mounting block and drape my upper body and arms all over him. That felt so good and he seemed to enjoy it.
The small details...no this isn't a duplicate image...one tiny difference between this shot...
and this one........listening
AND..this weekend, I finally was able to put these beautiful images of Lazarus and I into proper frames and set them up as they so deserve to be viewed.
If you don't have a poster from Juliette at Honeysuckle Faire yet..trot on over and order one. They are insanely beautifully, graphically cool!!!
I love being able to stare at my boy when I'm at home working.
I set the frames up in my home office, along with my Smithsonian copper horse statues that were a gift from my Uncle in Belgium, that I've had since I was a child.
Today was a great, great lesson and I'm so lucky to be somewhere that offers that kind of help.
I left Laz's boots OFF (Cliff ok'ed it via text,lol) to see how he fairs without them for a couple days, or more..or less, we'll see..