Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bonding time

I totally forgot to blog about Friday's lesson, but tonight is on my mind, so I'll have to come back to that later.

Tonight I got out to the barn for the first time since Friday.  I missed out on some great weather yesterday and today, and I felt a little bad about that, so I decided to go tonight after dinner.  It was a bit chilly, so I brushed him quickly (with hubby's help), then grabbed his bridle, lunge line, and my helmet and went to tack up inside.

Once we got inside the indoor arena, we played a little.  First I let him roll (I don't know why I bothered brushing him first), and then we played with my jacket a little.  Last year he'd been terrified of rustling jackets, so I try to do silly things with my jackets periodically — tonight I slung it over his neck and put the hood up over his ears.  He was fine with that, except for the long-suffering expression when I made him walk around the arena with me while wearing my jacket — he clearly thought that was a little extreme.  He didn't particularly like it when I stood in front of him and pulled the jacket off over his head, and kept pulling his head up and back to get it out from under there faster; but eventually he figured out that I didn't want or need his help, and gave me the desired behavior of standing still for it.

After playing dress-up for a little bit, I lunged him just briefly to make sure he wasn't going to be wild and crazy.  He was quite good, obeyed all voice commands, and actually seemed so relaxed that I wondered if he was a bit sleepy from me showing up so late!  I hopped on bareback, and we worked on leg yields going down the center of the arena — my trainer wants me to get him to cross over in the back.  I like working on this kind of thing bareback (at the walk) because I think we can both feel each other better, and it seems to help him learn the cues when it's something we haven't spent a lot of time on before.

We only rode for about ten minutes because he got an itch in one ear that wouldn't go away, and I didn't have the heart to make him keep working when he was clearly so miserable — his right ear was cocked so far it was almost parallel to the ground.  So I hopped off and rubbed his ear for him (it was so itchy he actually let me — usually he likes my trainer's scritches much better than mine), but when it still seemed to be bothering him a little, I decided not to get back on.  We revisited the jacket briefly: I detached the hood and made him wear it as a hat, which he thought was weird, especially when he tipped his head to one side and it hung off one ear.  Too bad I didn't think to get a picture of that — his wide-eyed look of surprise was hysterical, all the more so because he didn't bolt or spook, just walked a few steps and then stopped and waited for me to fix it for him!

Even though we didn't do much, it was a lovely evening.  There was no one else at the barn, so we were able to act silly and do all sorts of things we wouldn't normally be able to do.  Panama was also in an affectionate mood, maybe because of the time of night.  I love good bonding time like that, don't you?



At February 25, 2011 at 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds like such fun! I love bonding moments. Horses, cats, dogs, kids, hubby - it's all wonderful.

I wish you'd gotten a picture of him with the hood!

At February 25, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Rosewolfkin, I did get a picture -- it's an iPhone picture, and he moved while I was taking it, but it's still pretty cute. I hadn't posted it because it was a little blurry, but I'll post it tomorrow. Look for it in a brand-new post! :o)

At February 25, 2011 at 10:12 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I just realized you must be Melody, since the website is the same. A bit slow on the uptake. Sorry. ;o)

At March 4, 2011 at 2:43 PM, Anonymous Melody said...

Hahaha, it's ok. I was already logged into openid so just kinda stayed there. :)


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