Today, despite the mild wind and being out at the farm alone, Lazarus and I walked the arena together. I know many of you, ride and work your horses everyday alone, but we do not typically. The BO's are typically there and I usually prefer to not be 100% alone just for fear's sake of 'what if.'
But today, I didn't want to lose our momentum of where we left off....not to mention I'm not going to drive an hour one way to not do anything!
When I went into Laz's pasture he was walking around and moving quite nicely but seemed to have a calmness about him. He walked up, nuzzled his big head into my chest kindly and went back to eating his hay.
So, I decided to mentally pick a song, groom my boy and head to the arena to see what kind of horse I would have today. Sometimes even when calm in his pasture, he can turn beastly outside of it.
I let the BO's dogs out to play around a bit and Mason appreciated that. He loves playing with the two girls, and especially now that the puppy is getting so big!
I'm happy to say that Laz and I walked the arena for an hour! No limpy movements on his part. I had a pocket stuffed with carrot bits and made sure that every time he was calm superstar he got rewarded. He had a couple of blow ups..maybe 7, but they were not awful. He got big but came back down pretty quickly after I checked him and backed him up a few steps for about 3 of the spooks. I didn't worry about the spook in place type spooks, and I didn't even worry too much when his face turned to the 'ears forward, head up, eyes big, nostrils blowing and start jigging' because when I pulled his rope halter as a reminder he came back down. The three times that I did have to really check him, is when he was spooking and not looking at me but locked into whatever invisible monster he saw. I reminded him that I'm scarier than the invisible monster and that when he's with me, I'm protecting him with my bear voice too.
One thing we noticed last session and again today, is that he is more spooky when I go counter clockwise in the arena. When we go clockwise, he is braver. Is it because I am standing in between him and the 'monsters' that he spooks at?? Who knows. We worked both sides equally and when he rounded the corners with a calm manner, we stopped and got a carrot nib. Maybe too many rewards because at one point he was good for a while that he stopped himself and mouthed my hand, lol! Like 'Mom...hellloooo??!" Smart boy. I was happy with him and happy with myself that I didn't coward out. Oh and the singing seems to work! I sang so loud that perhaps neighbors may think I'm looney but who cares...lookie at my sweet TB who enjoys it! :)We had ended our session talking to one of the other boarders who was drinking out of her water bottle that crinkled and made Laz mini-spook, so we crinkled it a few hundred more times, rubbed it on his body and gave him carrots when he finally had the 'I don't care' attitude of bravery.
After our session I took him back to his pasture/paddock and he was tired....and thirsty!