Hoorah for today.
I went to the barn with the image of a great ride and lots of positive moments. I do beilive if you think of things, it can happen......I don't understand how or why, but it seems to work.
So, first I decided I was going to set up Laz and I for success.
I was going to approach like walking up a ladder, with each good step, I would take another. If the next step was too fearful for either of us, I would go back down to the previous step.
One of my reader/friends mentioned to me that it's important to not push your horse past the point of trust/fear but if you approach it slowly, it will be a win/win situation.
First step on our ladder.
I talked to him, told him of our success plan and spend some time grooming calmly.
I noticed he knicked his heel bulb slightly (not even a scab) and it must have been from Thursday's fit. Same foot that has two horrid past crescent shaped scars (from racing I can only assume) around his heel bulb area. Note to self, when we start canter work I may want to put bell boots on him.
I also noticed his lovely winter coat starting to come in which makes him a darker rich Bay, what a beaut!
And, we are in the official ugly stage of growing out his awesome mohawk for winter. I want a mane for him to help protect from the winter winds.
Second step on our ladder, I refitted our Nurtural bridle.
One of my readers mentioned perhaps it was too low on his sensitive nose area and I think, indeed it was.
I raised the cheek straps up which also pulled up the noseband on the harder part of his nose.
**Note-I just re watched the how to fit video and still need to adjust more where the rein strap and circle x are**
Third step, I hand walked Laz in the bridle to allow him to get familiar again with it and work on ground aids with him. He did stellar, and I saw no difference or fighting.
Fourth step, I hopped on, starting out in the round pen. We rode in there for about 10 minutes working on turning, halting, walking, and trotting and getting used to the bridle. He was quiet, responsive and lighter than on Thursday. He also licked, exhaled and seemed to be comfortable all around. Good cues to keep moving up our ladder.
I rewarded with a few carrots and we walked towards to large arena.
Fifth step, we rode in the arena for about 30 minutes. Great work, no spooking, no fighting the bridle. We walked, we trotted, we did circles and serpentines, and walked thru our obstacles with no issues. Well, no new issues. Those that have OTTB's know that we have the Cadillac smooth movements going counterclockwise, and clockwise is the jalopy. We'll get there ;)
Lots of praising to Laz and patting. He was such a good worker today. He would sigh and lick everytime we transitioned down from the trot to a walk, like "I did good!"
He even pushed forward in the bridle a bit and stretched into it which was great to feel.
Sixth step was to be our last, I wanted to walk/trot around the outside of the round pen (scene of the crime from Thursday) with out any issues. We did! He walked around a little more alert and perked up but I continued to soothe and encourage and he was great. He picked up a nice little clip of a trot without any snaking or bucking and we walked around the outside of the large arena and ended it with LOTS of praise.
Best of all, he enjoyed the ride too. No anxious chewing, no competitive racing spirit bursting out, just a nice light hack with lots of positive glints. I tried to really listen to his body language today to see if there was something else he was trying to tell me on Thursday which led to our bad ride, but today it was all seemingly happy and content coming from him :)
Thanks coming from both ways for a good ride and a good ending
On another note, I took Mason in to the vet just to make sure he was feeling 100% because he had just been off for a while. Vet said she thinks he has 'traveler's tummy' which basically means he will vomit/have loose stools from time to time due to his rides to the farm. She put him on an antibiotic to clean out his gut, and he's been acting/feeling much better and showing more energy :)
Also......Happy Birthday to my sweet Husband today who always listens to my non stop talk about Laz and supports my sickness! :)